My favorite piece of literature is the Bible. There is such a wealth and diversity of knowledge to be gained there; that I find it to be a great life-long companion. Nestled right in the midst of this wonderful collection of knowledge are 5 books of Wisdom. Many times, when I seek some nugget of truth to guide me along to path of life; I seek guidance from these pages.
I suggest in your quest towards excellence in your life that you go to these pages, as well. Regardless of your belief background, you will find virtues there that will serve you well. And the primary topic of these books is this concept of wisdom.
This is such an important issue that the web should be full of articles about it. But alas, often what is good for us is not as flashy or popular as what is bad for us. So, way too many times, the topic of wisdom is pushed in the background, to what sizzles and sells.
Proverbs 4:7 says in the New International Version “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Wow! That’s a priority! If it costs you all that you have; it is important enough to get it!
In the last few years, people tell me often that I am wise. Wow! What a blessing. I am so thankful. But it has come at a high cost. And it often does.
I could write hundreds of pages on this hugely important concept and not even scratch the surface. So this article is meant more as an enticer to my readers, to work on the task for yourself. Than a proposal to answer all of your questions for you.
Early in my life, I had a kinda natural, kinda magical, kinda supernatural experience when I was watching a moon with a giant ring around it. Whenever, I have seen such a moon since; it has always swept me back to the wonderful realizations and lessons of that night.
Yesterday was such a full day! I worked all day running a local business. Then did a carpentry project in the evening. Then showed up to relax at a regular meeting I attend; only to discover that I was to be asked last-minute to be the speaker; since the other speaker did not show.
There was no time for preparation. No time for anything but to stand up and ask my Higher Power to speak through me. And to share experience, strength and hope from my heart. It turned out really well and people were encouraged and inspired.
When I got home, I had counted on a job being done by my step-son. It was not. So I had to go outside and work till 2 in the morning putting away materials. I was weary to say the least. But I tried to enjoy it, instead of getting aggravated about it and I sensed the very special presence, of my Divine friend.
As I finished and started to go back in the house. I thought I ought to take a few moments to meditate and pray in the cool night air before I did. As I had these thoughts, I looked up and it seemed that the cloud cover swept away… And what did I see but a huge circle around the moon. So large that it seemed to cover the sky. As I looked, the full moon got clearer and so did the giant circle around it.
The thoughts I had earlier in life, while watching such a spectacle came flooding back into my mind. Was God trying to tell me something, I wondered. Was there some message to me in this natural event.. I said to myself, no it is just a wonderful sight. Enjoy it for just the beauty of it…
But still I had an internal hunch that I was to stand there longer; that there was more that I should see. So I did. – – – Just a few moments later; a jet exhaust stream seemed to appear to my right and it was floating across the sky, towards me. It was as wide as they get when they are breaking apart but as clear and defined, as I have ever seen. And it was Huge. As I watched, it entered the giant circle around the moon and I could see what was going to happen. I wished I had a camera. But I knew if I moved, I was going to miss a special sight.
So I stood motionless studying the sky that seemed to get ever brighter and clearer as moments passed. This giant silvery trail continued to float across the sky, until it crossed the very center of the moon and made its way all the way past the exterior of the circle around the moon. It looked like a celestial clock in the sky. With the moon being the center of the time piece. The silvery smoke trail, the clock hand arm and the giant sphere around the moon, being the outside edge of the watchpiece.
I felt the whisper of my Divine friend at that moment saying; your time has come, I am going to fulfill my purposes in your life. Wow. I felt light tears stream down my face and in gratitude, offered praise to my Creator.
And so why do I mention all this, in regard to the topic of wisdom? Simple really, I have discovered the greatest heights of wisdom at places of reverence, respect, humility and gratitude.
But lest you think I have turned this article into something that you can not get practical insight from. I will bring it back down to earth and talk about some simple ways that you can find and apply wisdom.
One is in the matter of Ambition versus character. Wisdom teaches us that Character is king! There is this ongoing challenge in all of us who strive to do the maximum that we can with our life. We have high ambition. This is not wrong. In fact, we are not good stewards of the gifts that God has granted us with; unless we do strive to achieve all we can.
The problem with this task of maximum achievement is twofold. 1- The world often tries to push us towards unfounded ambitions. Ambitions that are not good for us or others. In this scenario, character must be King. Who we are must rule over what we aim to do. 2 – The second problem with the ambition to achieve all we can is that dishonest or unhealthy means can often seem prudent shortcuts to being the best we can. Again in this scenario, character must be King. Who we are must rule over what we are willing to do, to achieve the goals we seek.
So, the lesson of wisdom in this is clear: Ambition is very important! But for the person who answers to an ethical God and a real conscience; character must be King!
I thought of the idea that Character is king. But like so many good ideas, I discovered with a little research that I was not the first, to coin this phrase. There is a book by the same name about Ronald Reagan. Hmmm. Think I will read that book.
Perhaps the hardest thing for us smart people to grasp about wisdom is that it is not just a matter of the mind. My friend Shelley Lundquist wrote in a post yesterday: “Don’t think so much. Let your heart decide.”
What a powerful point she makes. I call this dumbing UP! At one time in my life, I over-thought every thing. I have discovered that; thinking, as powerful as it is; … can actually lead to lethargy. Because once clarity is obtained; continuing to think about it can lead to a lack of harmony and constructive action.
Of course the mind should be engaged in being as vital as we can in life, but there is an excess where mental gymnastics lead only to discontent and not to growth or well-being. When we are clear (a good Quaker term); Then it is time for less thinking and more being in tune with what is good for one’s soul. The daily application of the Serenity Prayer is a great recipe for balance, in this whole prospect of seeing whether we are thinking too much or not enough.
We all remember the wonderful imagery of the Lion King. The power to lead came to Simba only after painful experiences and difficult decisions. Yet when this wonderful knowledge and character came to him; he possessed perhaps the greatest power on earth: Wisdom!
May these words inspire you in your own journey to settle for nothing less than the truth. And to strive for only the highest value and achievement possible in your life. And may you take this journey with the right means and motives. Wisdom is truly the greatest internal value that you can come to own.