Saturday, September 25, 2004

Thoughts on Wisdom

Thoughts on Wisdom

The so-called thinking man is often deluded into believing that the intellect is everything. We spend all our lives acquiring an education which teaches us how to debate, argue and defend our point of view. So much so that we often mistake these mental gymnastics as wisdom.

The intellect is the biggest trap for many "educated" people because we think that having an education puts us in an unassailable position. We will not take it kindly if someone calls us stupid; at the same time we will not hesitate to label other people "stupid" if we think that they do not measure up to our standards. Have we asked ourselves why we are always so keen to prove that we are smarter than other people?

An education helps us to nurture the mind and trains us how to think--well, at least to a certain extent. When the mind has acquired a certain level of confidence in solving problems and analyzing situations, it starts developing a life and identity of its own--an ego. It is the ego that takes pleasure in acknowledging itself as being "smart". This intellectual ego is one of the greatest obstacles to spiritual progress because it is a mental illusion; and mental illustions are very difficult to dispel because they are part of the mind, which is also our very instrument for salvation.

We are often so sure of our learning that we acquire the habit of putting everything that we see and hear into mental boxes very efficiently--we classify, categorize, label and stereotype. Once these mental boxes have been created, they are extremely difficult to discard. They then acquire a life of their own and become our representation of the world. The thinking process immediately becomes an act of manipulation involving these static mental boxes--boxes that are continuously being nested into further boxes.

When we find that this mental habit has become a bit limiting, we say, "let's think out-of-the-box". But the moment we say that, we are again thinking within a box; albeit a slightly larger one. The mind is trapped by its own thoughts.

The greatest problem with so-called educated people is that they think they have wisdom. But wisdom is beyond thinking. It is knowing. This knowing is perceived directly. If a person is spiritually developed, intuition is the gateway into this realm of knowing.

Sometimes women exhibit more wisdom than men because they possess better intuition and can sense the truth directly. The wife senses what's in her husband's mind; the mother knows what's bothering her child. This is wisdom that transcends the mind. The only obstacle for women is that they have a more sensitive emotional body which can sometimes cloud their perception of the truth. The emotional body is what makes us feel lonely, sad or happy and tends to fluctuate like the weather. But on those occassions when the emotional skies are clear, wisdom shines forth in great brilliance.

Men are by nature creatures of the mind. We believe what we think more than what we sense with our intuition. What we think could well turn out to be the truth but unfortunately our thinking process is often distorted by the noise of ego--such as pride, fear, arrogance and greed. It makes us fail to see what's right in front of our eyes because we prefer to satiate our egoes--feeding them with what they want to believe. Bloody wars have been fought over ideologies because we believe in the infallability of the mind and its ideas.

Thinking is the first and a necessary step towards wisdom. Unfortunately we often stop there.To acquire wisdom, we need to overcome the obstacles projected by the ego. Eliminating the ego, is the ultimate goal of many spiritual practices. Only by doing so can Truth reveal itself in crystal clarity.

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