Searching For Wisdom And Understanding

Rays of Wisdom - Words Of Wisdom And Truth Grown On The Tree Of LifeSpending many lifetimes on the earthly plane is an essential part of every human being’s evolutionary pathway. The higher purpose of each one is to help us grow in wisdom and understanding of God’s true nature and our own. This goes hand in hand with the discovery of the true meaning of our existence. The question of how this treasure can be found has occupied humankind for a very long time. The abundance of memorable sayings on this theme bears witness to it. So let’s take a closer look at some of them.

Marie Curie, 1867-1964, wrote: ‘Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.’ And as Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, pointed out: ‘Any fool can know. The point is to understand.’ You can be sure that it does not come from reading books alone. You may know something because you have read about it somewhere and still be a long way from understanding it. So, how does one find understanding? It grows quite naturally and organically within us when we just live our lives and move ever forwards, being mindfully present during all our experiences, making sure to feel our feelings and listen to the inner guidance we receive through them. That no doubt is why Søren Kierkegaard, 1813-1855, concluded: ‘Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.’

This is hardly surprising, as the very reason for granting us the gift of another lifetime is that we should grow some more in wisdom and understanding, compassion and love. This is why Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, 1926-2004, observed: ‘The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, suffering, struggle, loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have gained an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen, they have to evolve.’

In the beginning of its evolutionary cycle on the Earth plane, our small lower earthly self, thus far unaware of its own true nature and the Universal laws that rule the whole of God’s creation, goes on the rampage. It heartily hates anything that gets in the way of its wishes and so it ventures forth into killing, slaughtering, hurting and hating, if an opportunity for it arises torturing and maiming the object of its desires, sadistically enjoying and revelling in the misery of those who are at its mercy.

As a consequence of God’s laws, in subsequent lifetimes the deeds we once dished out to others return to us and we get to know first hand what suffering means. In the course of many earthly sojourns, because we now know how physical, emotional and spiritual pain feels, the characteristics of our Highest or God Self  stir within us and we begin to feel more compassionate and loving towards the suffering of others. Hence Gautama Buddha’s advice: ‘Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.’ Not only sometime in our present lifetime, but in all of them is each one of us sure to have undergone these stages of development.

Once we are equipped with the gift of hindsight, in our reflections and meditations  it becomes easier to draw the wisdom and understanding we are meant to gain from all our experiences. Every new lifetime for each one of us brings sufficient opportunities for doing so and that  applies to each individual as well as to companies and other organisations of all kinds, nations and our whole world.

Our redemption consists of any kind of suffering we have to endure, be it physical, mental or spiritual and what we have learnt from it. Whether we have made any spiritual progress as a result of what we have gone through reveals itself to the wise ones in charge of us in our behaviour. We are now meeting every manifestation of life with kindness and compassion, tolerance and love, not only those who are in distress but also our younger and less experienced siblings in the family of life, who so far know no better than inflicting pain onto others.

Anything we do to alleviate someone’s suffering, irrespective of who they are and where they are coming from, helps our Christ nature to flourish. Becoming aware again of our immortality, our appetite for death and destruction goes from us forever and is replaced by our Christ nature. That’s the only way the Christ Spirit can save and redeem anyone. And because on the inner level all life is one, when one of us has gone through this process and developed their Christ nature, the whole human race and its world are simultaneously moving forwards and upwards on the evolutionary spiral of life. This is how every human being in due course is going to evolve into a saviour and redeemer of humankind and our world.

‘Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be [healing and] recovery.’ J.K. Rowling in ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’

‘Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.’ C.G. Jung – ‘Gazing Into The Mirror Of The Self – Projection’.

‘Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t so.’ Lemony Snicket in ‘The Blank Book’

‘Try to understand people. If you understand each other, you will be kind to each other. Knowing a person well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.’‘  John Steinbeck

‘One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.’ Richard Dawkins in ‘The God Delusion’

‘For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.’ Carl Sagan in ‘The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark’

‘Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.’ Aristotle

‘Sometimes it’s not enough to know what things mean, sometimes you have to know what things don’t mean.’ Bob Dylan

‘Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and a few to be chewed and digested. That is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly and with diligence and attention.’ Francis Bacon

‘Rabbit’s clever,’ said Pooh thoughtfully.
‘Yes,’ said Piglet, ‘rabbit’s clever.’
‘And he has Brain.’
‘Yes,’ said Piglet, ‘rabbit has Brain.’
There was a long silence.
‘I suppose,’ said Pooh, ‘that’s why he never understands anything.’  
A.A. Milne in ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’

This contains the message that for as long as we just think about things, without applying the knowledge we are finding to real life situations to test and try them in order to learn from them, we may considered to be clever by those around us, in spite of the fact that we understand very little. Knowledge is of the head, cold and clear as crystal, without warmth. But wisdom and understanding can only grow in any one of us organically by intrepidly scaling the heights and wading through the depths of the human predicament, never through book-learning alone. Wisdom and understanding dwell in our hearts and flow forth from there with the language of love.

Everything that is in our lives is in truth a gift for helping us to grow ever more heaven-tall. The more readily we accept this and because of this knowledge endeavour to move with the flow of our lives, the more easily life itself can turn into our teacher. By accepting with grace and gratitude whatever the Universe brings, instead of struggling against it, the deeper our understanding shall grow and the swifter our evolutionary progress will move us forwards and upwards.

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This article is a chapter from ‘Our World In Transition'
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‘Our World In Transition’

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