Three Tips for Wisdom
Recently, a young woman described me as a "wisdom teacher." I laughed at the description since I think of myself as nothing more than a spiritual student stumbling down a path. I had to apologize since it was clear that my reaction hurt her feelings. I then asked her to tell me more about how she came to this conclusion.
She told me I had a way of translating spiritual concepts so it was easy for her to understand them. And better still, when she asked for how to apply them, I always had suggestions for how to turn them into action.
I thanked her for kind words, delighted to know she experienced me that way. To be honest, like most everyone I know, I’m actually not so secure in my sense of who I am and what I’m doing in my life and in the world. There are so many ways to be self-deluded.
Then Lauren surprised me. “I never feel that you judge me. That’s why it works.”
I couldn't respond because tears came to my eyes. Learning non-judgment has been a life-long practice. I am painfully aware of the many ways in which I fall short so I just sat there smiling.
She filled the conversational space with a question, “What do you suggest I do to develop myself?”
I knew she asked the question from a spiritual point of view. Lauren is a wise, old soul who knows that career, relationships, and life are just playgrounds for the development of our inner selves. She also knows that as her inner self grows, her ability to flourish as her outer self only increases. At the same time, Lauren’s self-development will naturally flow outward to the development of others, and ultimately to greater things. To thine own self be true will blossom into service to others and the world.
I put my hand on top of hers. I was feeling deeply humbled by her comments. To be honest, I was overflowing with love and feeling exposed. After a deep breath, here is what I told her...
Seeing True™ in Action
You will learn nothing significant in your comfort zones. Comfort comes in our known terrain. Learning and growth occurs in the unknown. Do things and go places that cause you discomfort. You’ll discover amazing things there, and more importantly, you’ll become comfortable with discomfort, which will allow you to always continue to learn and grow.
Always assume you are wrong in your opinions. Take yourself with a grain of salt. There is so much that is beyond our awareness that to presume we understand is terribly arrogant. Ask yourself over and over again, “Am I sure this is true? Are there other possibilities?” Open-mindedness may be one of the greatest of virtues. It makes it possible to explore alternative realms.
Let go of your ideals of how you and your life are supposed to be. Whenever you see an expectation of others, or of yourself, or of your life, or even of life itself, name it and try to let it go. While we would like to believe we are the captains of our own destiny, there is ample evidence that we are not in charge. There is a lot less suffering when we learn to live life on life’s terms.
“Thank you,” she said. “Can we check in on these when we meet? I’m not sure I can do them without your help.”
The tears returned. “Of course. We have to do it for ourselves, but we don’t have to do it alone.”