This is not a religious post.
On this 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, my much loved Fr John Pipat said, “Wisdom is not intelligence.”
It is true. I was born with quite a good measure of intelligence and I spent 6 years at two top universities. But I only gained wisdom much later in life, when I opened up my mind and gave myself time to contemplate beyond my material world.
To open up my mind, I read books on spiritualism, Buddhism, Islam, Zen, Sufism. I read doctrines about beliefs that went against the grain of mine to try to cultivate equanimity and to understand the world from perspectives beyond my own. I ran for miles (running is my hobby) and allowed those words to slowly take root in my intelligence. Intelligence was only a starting point, not the journey.
And we shall do this journey again and again, face the same suffering again and again, until we have learned the lessons that we are meant to learn.
Photos: Hampshire, summer 2018
And this was when the huge change happened, not with my university graduations or prize-winning moments, but insidiously in my quiet hour….this little growing orb of light within.
Today, as my Catholic priest spoke of wisdom, I thought about the words of Imam Ali (a.s). Imam Ali (a.s) was the cousin and the son-in-law of Muhammad, the last prophet of Islam.
It is in the changing of circumstances in life that the essence of man is revealed. Imam Ali (a.s)
Change drags us kicking and screaming, ready or not, into a new paradigm. The agent of change could be time, event or person that destroys current status quo. It could start with the loss of something precious, be it a way of life, a dream, a person and it is easy to hate the catalyst, blame it for our losses. And my God, it is almost grossly unfair, catching us unawares, like a sudden life-threatening illness.
Yet it could be a wonderful opportunity.
Scientific American recently did an article about Post Traumatic Growth, about a study that began in 2005, around the time of Hurricane Katrina in the US. The researchers collected data in 10 U.S. cities for a study of community college students, trying to learn more about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But here’s the surprising, totally unexpected outcome that the researchers discovered:
A deep psychological growth has emerged from the depths of despair.
If you have the time, please read this study. You can read the article here.
Wisdom is more valuable than intelligence. It gives you the tool to live your life better by understanding your own hardship and making sense of your path. With wisdom, you stop hating. That brokenness has to happen in order for a new pattern to emerge. Be thankful to those who break you for giving you the opportunity to make a better future.
Have a good Sunday ❤