In the dictionary they define wisdom as, “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise”. What this implies is that one of the most important components involved in achieving wisdom is “having experience”. I must say, I do agree.
I know I’ve lived a life full of ups and downs. I’ve lost some of my battles, but I’ve also won a few. I guess in the end whether you feel like you’ve won the war is what determines if you have. Your perception of what you’ve learned, achieved, and earned, as a result of the trials, is the true determinant.
And sure, there are some who will chose to become the victim. I just don’t seem to be made that way. Naturally, I do have my wound-licking moments. But, not long into it, I get bored with myself and begin looking for the knowledge wrapped up in the challenge. I guess it’s pretty much always been my belief that knowledge was what the challenge was all about.
Hence, you’re the only one who gets to choose, after every lesson, whether you cave in on yourself, or whether you become the warrior in your own life. A warrior who’s not only stronger, faster, braver, and more experienced for having fought, but also wiser for understanding the cost and the privilege such wars bring.
In life, many call these wars life lessons. It’s life, along with the process of living it, that teaches us, challenges us, makes us stretch, causes us to learn, and offers the possibility for growth and wisdom as a result of having endured it.
In studying philosophy, spirituality, and nearly every other mystery imaginable, for over 55 years now, I can unequivocally say that you’ll definitely learn the most from your falls. Success is great. It teaches you not only that you can succeed, but more importantly perhaps, that you’re worthy of succeeding. And that’s big nowadays.
Yet, even then, aren’t most successes a result of numerous other failed attempts? I guess falling down really does teach us how to stand up. How to have the muster, the determination, and the sheer strength of will to work the precise muscles required (be they mental, physical or spiritual) in order to do so. All perhaps in order that you discern what’s worth remembering as you readjust your position in preparation for the next war… the next test… the next lesson.
Personally, I’ve had more fails than I care to count. Don’t you count them either (ha). Still, I’ve lost money, relationships, status, friends, and pretty much anything a person can lose. I’ve even lost my health on more than one occasion. Yet it seems that until you’ve lost something that matters to you, you can’t know what such a loss feels like, let alone have much truly valuable guidance to offer. And, that’s not even mentioning the wisdom that accumulates somewhere deep inside of you at a soul level.
That is what wisdom is after all. It’s a knowing that can’t quite be explained. It’s a feeling that only those who have shared similar losses can feel. It’s an intangible, yet incredibly powerful knowledge of not only what you experience as a result of it, but also, what it was that made you keep going after. In other words, what muscle did you work to get through just such a loss still breathing? Likely stronger, more competent, more compassionate, and yes, even softer after the fire of it has ceased.
Rather intrinsically, most of us have a compassion for others experiencing loss and tests. We even theoretically know what something like that specific trial might feel like. Yet, until you walk through that specific fire, you can’t know what that specific fire feels like, can you?
Problem is, we usually don’t realize how much we don’t know about a specific test, lesson, loss, or subject until we experience it. After we do, that’s when the true ah-ha moment seizes us and we realize we didn’t know even what that brand of heat felt like, let alone, how to survive it.
In my mind that’s why reincarnation is nothing more than the higher power having mercy on us. Allowing us to learn only so many lessons in one lifetime lest we completely lose not only our minds, but also our ability to survive if tried too hard. That’s why I believe the idea of multiple lifetimes is not a sin at all. Rather, it’s a gift, a blessing, perhaps even proof that we are loved by something far wiser than we are who knows and appreciates our limits.
Consequently, wisdom is accumulated, often through lifetimes. It comes as a result of perhaps hundreds of years of tests and life lessons. It becomes something we know without always knowing completely why we know it. It’s a layer of understanding inside of us that can’t be easily expressed, but is deeply experienced. It’s a knowing that often times words defile. An understanding, if you will, of who we really are when we are tested at the root level. It’s also the end result of who we will become as a result of enduring the flames.
The one thing I’ve become utterly convinced of is that this wisdom isn’t meant to be hoarded, it’s meant to be shared. We never know what exposing our own wounds may do to help someone else who’s currently amidst a similar fire.
Often, just your presence and understanding of their situation is enough to hold them up when they no longer can stand. Too, they can use your methods, along with your reason for surviving it, to build upon. I imagine just the understanding of that is a life lesson in and of itself, built squarely on wisdom.
The bottom line is, what makes you strong will make others strong as well.
From personal experience I can share that I’ve worked as a psychic/medium for over 30 years. In so doing, I can’t even begin to tell you how many parents I’ve counseled who have lost children. Those readings were always the most taxing, along with the most rewarding. In fact, I often cried all the way through them. It seems I could feel the pain on this earthly side from the parent, while simultaneously feeling the unadulterated love pouring through me towards the parent from their child.
Apparently, it was all too much for my one slightly battered human body to endure, so the energy came out of me through my eyes. I always felt bad for the parents though. Almost like I was making it worse somehow versus better. I felt I needed to be there to support and encourage them rather than crying.
Point being, in working in this capacity I thought I knew, even if only to a small degree, what losing a child felt like. I truly believed I could realistically try to help guide them in their recovery, from a spiritual perspective, since I had studied spiritual philosophy for years by then.
Yet, when I lost my own daughter about a year and a half ago, I had another of those ah-ha moments. I realized what a fool I was to ever think I knew, or could even begin to understand what such a loss creates in someone’s life. The grief, the loss of hope, the understanding that life will never again be perfect, not even for one second. Not to mention the utter despair you get thrown into on a single moment’s notice. You drown in it daily. Seems even I couldn’t begin to comprehend what that fire felt like until it touched me.
Still, in the last year and a half, I can honestly say that the direction for my life has never been clearer to me. Losses like that burn away all that is nonessential, be it people, places, beliefs, or things. It shows you what matters in no uncertain terms… along with what doesn’t.
I’m both stronger and weakened as a result of it. Yet I’ve learned that once your loss is so large you find you have so much less to lose. What I mean is simply that no loss could compare to that loss, so you become not only wiser, but braver, fiercer, more outspoken sometimes, and definitely, more willing to be who you really are in this world of pretense and false idols. I imagine largely because all things superficial have been ripped away.
My finding then is that when you lose big, once you find it in yourself to keep fighting, you also have the ability to win big. Yet in all truth, I’d gladly remain ignorant in this particular area if given the choice.
Still, this was my latest war, and I lost some, and I gained some. For certain I know what matters and what doesn’t in my life. And once you know just that one simple thing, the world becomes a very different place. It becomes one where you find yourself far less likely to make anyone around you suffer whenever possible. Your pain becomes your strength, as well as your softness. Your grief, in turn, becomes your understanding, your wisdom, and your knowing of things almost beyond knowing.
Yes, you step out battered, beaten, sad, and forever changed. But if you choose to, you also become the healer and wise advisor to those who don’t yet know how to survive whatever it is you’ve just gone through.
For me, being a writer, I wrote a book about this recent loss. In it I reveal many other losses, and wins, we both endured along the way.
I also made sure to write it all down within the first year. I don’t know yet how I did it. I only know I felt compelled to share everything while I was still raw, vulnerable, and incredibly honest. I wanted people to gain wisdom and healing through this book, regardless of whether they had lost a child or not. I also wanted everyone to know how to find the lesson in any fail.
As such, this book, her book, isn’t just about grief, it’s also about how to survive the worst when it happens. I do plan to follow it up by writing one strictly about grief soon, specifically for those who have shared in such a loss though.
In the end, it is my sincerest belief that accumulating wisdom is what we all came here for. It’s an emotional planet we inhabit. One where we love, grieve, fail, achieve, despise, console, care too much, and also care too little on. It’s the perfect stage for us to learn the lessons only life can teach us. Still, what we choose to do with those lessons is up to us.
The only thing for certain is that when we leave this planet, we’ll be wiser than we were when we arrived. We’ll know something we couldn’t have known had we not come here. That is huge, I imagine.
Also know that when life challenges you, never shut down for longer than necessary. Life goes on, and if you weren’t meant to, you wouldn’t still be here. That’s just the most basic truth in all of it.