Friday, October 23, 2009

Wisdom

What is wisdom?
Bertrand Russel, the British logician and philosopher said,

"To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."


Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) Swiss political philosopher and essayist said,

"What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?"


Socrates (BC 469-BC 399) Greek philosopher of Athens expounded,

"True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us."


Some of the greatest minds have explored this subject.


Here is my (clumsy) attempt to explore the subject.

Does wisdom come from books?

"...seek ye out of the best books, words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith" (D&C 88:118)

Does wisdom come with age?

"...learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God." (Alma 37:35)

Indeed, wisdom is many things.

And manifest in many ways.

I recently read a book where a mother contiplated the wisdom she had gained through suffering and trials - through experience and sacrifice and learning. She thought of Eve and her choice made in Eden - that we must all pass through sorrow that we may know the good from the evil.

I think wisdom is truly gained through the experience of trials, and not merely experiencing them, but choosing to put your hand in God's while experiencing them. To sit at his feet and be tutored by him in the midst of suffering. Wisdom is gained when we emerge from a trial a new person - a wiser one - one who has learned something and can use that new knowledge as a tool in future experiences; as well as to help, understand, and love others. It is to have gained a greater understanding of life, and of God.

A friend of mine once said, God gives us the necessary experiences to learn as much as we can as fast as we can in this life.

As we pass through life experiences, always allowing God to tutor us, we begin to learn - to see things the way He sees them.

This is wisdom.

And, of course, the more we live learn and experience, the more realize how little we know.

This is wisdom as well.

I think of Solomon. He was thought of as a man with great wisdom. His wisdom was manifest in his ability to discern right from wrong, to understand people, and to judge righteously. His wisdom was acquired through a close and strong relationship with God and his desire to follow God.

I think of the "three wisemen." Who were these men and why were they so wise? We don't know much about them, but that they spent their time searching, literally, for the Messiah.

Wise men, indeed.

Wisdom is also understanding truth. Truly understanding truth. And with that understanding comes the ability to apply truth to life. Applying certain truths at certain times in certain circumstances. Being able to do this, is wisdom.

There are people who are knowledgeable - people who know a lot. But knowledge and wisdom are not always companions. Someone who is knowledgeable is not necessarily wise.

A professor is a facilitator of learning. Being tutored by a good professor, a student can gain knowledge.

Being tutored by God, a person can gain wisdom.

It is through tutorials with God that we gain wisdom. This requires experience. Experience with God and his teachings. Often the crowning experience of learning wisdom is a test - just as a professor may give a test for you to apply your knowledge. God's test is an experience or trial where we learn to apply truth. This is true wisdom - to see and understand how the truths apply. Understanding and applying truth. This is why we are here on earth. We had the priveledge of living with our Father in Heaven and gaining wisdom at his feet. But what is wisdom acquired unless it is understood, applied, tested? Thus, here we are, experiencing the ultimate of tests.

My dad, before he passed away, wrote an article in the New Era called Spiritual Strength: A Planned Process. I think spiritual strength and wisdom go hand in hand. He spoke of our ability to work for more frequent spiritual experiences. If we plan, study, work, and sanctify ourselves, we can have more frequent communion with God. The more we "visit" God, the more tutorials we can receive, the more wisdom we store up. And the more prepared we are for the tests. And through tests we also gain increased wisdom as it becomes more clear to us how truths are applied in real life situations - when they are so crucial. We gain understanding. Understanding that we can use in the future of our lives, and build upon.

I had personally come to the conclusion that wisdom comes with age. However, I've realized wisdom comes with experience. Particularly experience with God. Thus, David was a young boy wise beyond his years, as well as Mormon, Joseph Smith, and many others. There are those who are young who are wiser than most - because they have spent many of their young years learning truth from the Ultimate source....

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Adjustable

The pot of water on the stove starts boiling over while I'm chopping veggies on the 12 inches of counterspace I have in my kitchen. With the cookie rack balanced on the separator of the sink; I dump the pasta in the pot, turn down the heat, and pull the cookies out of the oven just as the timer goes off. The stove top's covered in pans of cooking food, so I search frantically for a space to set my hot pan of cookies. The 12 inches of counterspace is already overoccupied... the sink!... already occupied. Oh wait, I do have another 12-inch piece of countertop... but it's being used by the rack full of drying dishes. I would stick my cookies on top of them, if there wasn't already a bowl of something or other balanced on top of the drying dishes. I finally resort to holding the hot pan of cookies while they cool and I stir the boiling sauce with my other hand. Finally, I shovel the cookies off onto the rack balanced on the sink. I've almost mastered the skill of cooking a bazillion things at once, or anything at all for that matter, in my closet-sized (literally) kitchen. It wasn't always this way.
I recently went from this:
To this:

I don't regret the decision. However, it has required some adjustment.

Our lives are full of changes - good or bad - and we, are required to adjust. Often times the decision to adjust is ours. We can choose to live in discomfort or misery. We can choose to refuse change.
Or... we can adjust.
We live in a world of adjustable things. Adjust the sound; adjust the height; adjust the length; adjust the temprature; adjust the lighting; adjust the support level; adjust the angle; adjust width.... modern convenience is wonderful. But are we sometimes losing the growth that comes with adjusting ourselves? Adjusting ourselves to our circumstances can make us stronger. Better.

When you adjust a belt, you leave room for growth. Of course in this sense, there is a negative associated with gaining weight. However, if we choose to adjust the "belt" in our selves, we allow our spirits and our character room to grow.

When our eyes are exposed to light, they adjust. Often after a long time in the dark it is hard for our eyes to adjust to light. But once our eyes are adjusted, the light helps them see far more than they could in the dark. The light illuminates everything. When we allow ourselves to adjust to circumstances (either that we have chosen, or that God has chosen for us, or that others have chosen for us) we can see the beauty in all that is around us. And we are able to see things in a different "light."

When babies are born, their bodies must experience great adjustment. Each day they adjust more and more to the new world they have entered. But each day, as their bodies are allowed to adjust, they become stronger and stronger. So can we, as we adjust to circumstances in our lives, become stronger and stronger.

So, I'm trying to be more "adjustable."
And I hope in doing so, to be able to grow and become stronger. And happier.
And to see the beauty....if there is any.... in my miniscule,
closet-sized kitchen!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Create!

In connection with my little spill on creating, I found an inspiring little video on the subject.
This is based on a talk by Elder Uchdorf and it's on lds.org.
It's called "create"

video

Never underestimate the power of creating!

The power we each possess!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today, Tomorrow and Someday

"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, 'A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half;
trust God: see all, nor be afraid!'"
Rabbi Ben Ezra (1864), stanza 1
"God doesn’t care nearly as much about where you have been
as He does about where you are and, with His help, where you are willing to go."
~Jeffrey R. Holland (apostle, LDS Church)
Life is so much about progression: about change, about faith and about moving forward. God planned time and seasons of change because change is so good for us as humans! Change allows us to stretch, to learn, to grow and also gives us excitement and variety in life as well as motivating us to make goals, to "start fresh" and to become better as we look to the future. The past often holds many valuable memories and lessons that bring joy and enrich our lives. However, life is not about living in the past. It's about looking to the future! Our lives are all about the future. The future is the only thing we have power over. And the future holds everything for us! No matter what the past holds, the future holds who we will become. And the power of Christ's atonement is what makes all of this possible, if we choose to use it. God wants us to look to the future and to progress. He cares most about what we become!
"Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us..." (Jeffrey R. Holland)