ENDING Wisdom (part II)

When I created my day yesterday, I asked to help myself see more clearly.  So, as I closed my day yesterday, I was thinking again about what it is to know something.  I was thinking again about the idea of what I think wisdom is.

In the post I shared yesterday this is the sentence that came to my awareness and I wrote when I was contemplating wisdom:

what is wisdom if not
knowledge of what is true or right
coupled with just judgment
as it is used and gained in actions lived!

When I think about wisdom, that wisdom which I think I have gained, I actually almost always think and talk about it in the past tense.  Wisdom is always linked to the past!  If I ever feel I know anything, that knowing is always linked to the past where it was learned as well.  I do not think knowing and wisdom for most people make it readily, if at all, into the present moment without slowing growth.  The present moment is all about the unknowing of our past so that the future can bring the unknown to our front doors to be known now!

it is the known K N hug of NOW

This brings up for me the wonderfully powerful teachings that talk about when we meet the Buddha on the road, we must kill the Buddha.  This is a form of awake living.

Thay, the great teacher Thich Nhat Hanh speaks about it in this way.  He says that understanding is like the water flowing in the stream.  Wisdom and knowledge are solid, like the rocks that the water of understanding touches up against.  If we cling to the rocks we have already encountered, it blocks our ability to travel further on the journey the water of understanding is making.

If we take something to be the truth, we may cling to it
so much that even if the truth comes and knocks at our door,
we won’t want to let it in. We have to be able to transcend our
previous knowledge in the someway that we climb up a ladder.
If we are on the fifth rung and think that we are very high, there
is no hope for us to step up to the sixth. We must learn to transcend
our own views. Understanding, like water, can flow, can perpetrate.
Views, knowledge, and even wisdom are solid, and
block the way of understanding.
-Thick Nhat Hanh

So, in an effort to expand on my share yesterday about ending the day with time spent gaining the wisdom of the day, it becomes apparent that there is another important step revealed on the ladder.  Just like the cup of tea I drink to close the day which I empty as I drink it, so it is with the wisdom I gain.  I acknowledge it, but I also attempt to empty my present mind of it.  I want to even things out, smooth and empty like a clean slate.  I start fresh again, to create the next day taking my understanding further on the river of my living.  I remember what is available on the next rung of the ladder of my life.  (I think this is also what the Christian canon is on about when it talks about the need for dying daily!)

It is an ending in wisdom, and then, allowing wisdom ending.

– – – – – –


Anyone else have any thoughts on the flow of their day(s) and how they navigate the living of them?

swimming up streamDamariscotta Mills fish ladder

This business of remembering what I already know from time to time seems to be like swimming back up stream.  It is not an easy task at moments, but oh so worth it!

Marga, of Life As Improv, shared this little treasure of a song in the comments on another post and it is WAY to good to stay buried there.  It is also so completely applicable to what I am attempting at getting on to with this post that it is impossible not to share it here as well.  Think about it as a love song to truth and wisdom. (Thx M!  -x0.M)


There’s an old voice in my head that’s holding me back
Well tell her that I miss our little talks
Soon it will be over and buried with our past
We used to play outside when we were young
And full of life and full of love.

Some days I don’t know if I am wrong or right
Your mind is playing tricks on you, my dear

You’re gone, gone, gone away
I watched you disappear
All that’s left is the ghost of you.
Now we’re torn, torn, torn apart,
There’s nothing we can do
Just let me go we’ll meet again soon
Now wait, wait, wait for me
Please hang around
I’ll see you when I fall asleep

‘Cause though the truth may vary
This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore


This entry was published on June 26, 2014 at 10:12 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

18 thoughts on “ENDING Wisdom (part II)

  1. ::
    Putting ones head on the stone of the day’s while we sleep and dreaming of…hum lol…I love how deep living goes.

     photo WilliamBlakeJacobsladder.jpg

  2. Pingback: Ending in Wisdom | seeingM

  3. Hi M,

    Very insightful post. I am fascinated by how we experience time and our relationship to the past. It’s amazing how much the past can become a static set of memories and conclusions that stay with us, for better or worse, shaping and coloring our world. Perhaps one of the most important interior relationships we have comes from our memories and sense of time.

    For me, making peace with the past, when necessary (and it has been for sure), has come through a process of revisioning static memories by putting into practice the accrual of knowledge and wisdom for reimagining them. This is a purposeful and intentional act, sometimes painful and difficult, but ultimately freeing when the past feels reconciled and so lighter.

    My woundedness though, is a part of what makes me, giving me character by turning events into experience. The past forever links me to now and moves me into the future. Rather than forgetting the past, I seek to re-member it, absorb the wounds into a deepening compassion for my own failings and limitations, which in turn helps me to have compassion for others.

    Perhaps what evens out, is the weight of the past with the weight of the future so that neither gets the upper hand. The idea of looking at what the past weighs in relation to the future is really interesting. Does a heavy past keep us from giving any weight to the future? Does too light a past make the future too heavy, too important?

    Am I making any sense here? 🙂

    Thanks for inspiring me to think about time and weightiness.


    • Time is a relative thing which is also happening all at once when awareness expands. The past M is speaking to my now, just as the M of now is able to help that past self evolve what was a precious understanding then. It is taking that hard won knowing as it is then set in stone, but not the final stone as in the slate on a roof which closes out the new, but rather using it to create ever expanding foundations. This means that that the future M who knows even more, is currently speaking to the M of now. She knows things that I have yet to remember.

      It is also helpful for me to think about time like tuning a radio to channels. Past, present and future all can come in loud and clear, but when we focus on one, it creates static in the others. As I work on even-ing out my day, I do so to create the empty space and quiet in the current clarity of hearing now to find that precious future signal as well… to hear her callings of expanding awareness available to me now. The more I practice my fine tunings being a master in my awareness of how time impacts the living of my life…hearing, thinking, understanding, emptying the clearer it ALL becomes.

      Speak often to your past self so you can remember how to hear your future self speaking to you now.

      This is what it is to time travel in a very real sense. I often tell people how important it has been for me to go back in my minds eye to critical junctures in my life and to tell that M how things are going to turn out OK…giving her a hug, whispering encouragement in her ear, talking to the M in those dire and desperate moments in the past when I have felt like all is lost or that I will sink forever under the overwhelming pains of the broken human heart. Doing this helps so much when facing the heart breaks of today. As the past ones have healed, when we even out, we can remember that the current ones can (and will when we allow the future to bring it!), too.

      INCREDIBLY eloquently addressed in this outstanding post as well. Dark nights of the soul that CAN get lighter and lighter and lighter as we move our understanding through time:

      Lovely, you are loved. Those past achy spots, the current ones and the ones that are still coming all linked on a line of true love remembering us home. -x.M

      • Hi M,

        I love this idea of time happening all at once and keeping it present now.

        This especially is so rich, I may as well fast for the rest of the day! 🙂 :

        “This means that that the future M who knows even more, is currently speaking to the M of now. She knows things that I have yet to remember.”

        Much love and gratefulness for your fertile shares here.

  4. I am resting weary muscles and deeply EVENing into the mattress, relishing a wonderful catching up with M who is serving up such delicious treats.

    The feet and legs made 640 steps up the stairs beside this waterfall:
    As I went, I was aware of releasing resistance to the climb. Now as I look at the fish and jacob ladders here, metaphor alert. The circumstances that bring me to such climbs arbitrarily unfold outside of marga’s control – each step leads from one forgetting to the next. How crazy is it that allowing the flow of life through us like a river sometimes pushes us up and against a current – like a salmon swimming up stream? How utterly upside down and perfect. Oh, I probably make no sense – just pat me on the head and wish me a good night. So much love in my heart for the remembering/forgetting with you, sister. zzzz! m

    • How wonderful is a day in the delights of the natural world. The falls look so beautiful! My time today was spent in the interpretations of nature man made in the air and then in the MASSIVE traffic of LA. My leg aches too from gas break gas break gas break. 1 hour 15 to go a distance that elsewhere would have been 35 min max. I do not think humans are meant to live this way. I am now even-ing into a pampering pile of pillows, too. (Finally made the pilgrimage to Scent Bar. Met Steven who was just lovely in person, too. I left smelling of Helium 🙂 . I can’t share the smell here, but I can do the next best thing which is give you the visual interpretation of the smell.

      Sending spectacular smells and a healing calf rub your way. -x.M

      • I think in the current I’ve caught in this rapid part of the river, not only can I grow from all these dialogues, I can even experience Beverly Hills through my nose at a distance – how amazing is that! Wishing you a zoomed out seat of spaciousness as you move through the skies and crowds! I love that I have reading to catch up on – will savor it slowly as time allows! xo! m

  5. Another doozy, M! Love it! I think (maybe?) I have a slightly different view of things, but maybe some description of the meaning I tend to associate with the words knowledge and wisdom will clear this up, because I agree that “conclusions” and “views” must remain supple if we are to continue along the grace-strewn path of growth. They must be continuously forgotten, unlearned as you say.

    Trying to keep with your analogy of a stream, I think of wisdom as the gifts our past has taught us- not as facts, views or conclusions- but as something dynamic and living in the present, like the awareness of how to temper our minds, the memory of how we fell prey to temptation or falsehood once before and what that was like, or how not to be fooled by false conclusions. In the stream analogy, I think of wisdom as one’s learned ability to swim, to know not to put her feet down lest they become caught in rocks below, to remember that in letting the water take them, the swiftest current guided them around the biggest obstacles. Our wisdom is like the set of app’s we’ve accred on our inner smart phone, the tools we have available to us. And I’m not sure this type of wisdom is even possible to develop without the ability to relinquish past experiences, or at least revisit them openly, to allow for fresh interpretations and for their deeper layers to speak.

    And knowledge for me is not knowledge unless it is immutable. Everything we “think” we know, is belief. Beliefs need to be continuously tested, let go, reformed, etc., until they converge upon the Truth. Knowledge is equivalent to awareness of eternal truth. We couldn’t change it if we wanted to, and if we failed to accept it as such, it may only add difficulty to our journey.

    I think what we must forget, or “forgive”, are conclusions derived from grievances, bitterness, apparent failures, inflicted pain, etc. We will rapidly form conclusions based on these types of experience, and those rapidly drawn conclusions are quite often reactionary and false, and those are the ones I think we have to work so hard to pry open down the road. I think this is what you mean by unknowing the past to make room for the future- that ability to question conclusions, beliefs, and views formed from past experiences that were interpreted without the lens of wisdom. Those must be taken out, and re-examined. They must be unlearned.

    We must be free of our interpretations of the past, and wisdom I see as the muscle one builds by facing those interpretations, and letting them float away down the stream…


    • IMMUTABLE is the word of the moment here. EXCELLENT clarifications, deeper diving, heart felt share in reply and massive gratitude sent right back to you for finding a place to reflect my thoughts with those other precious souls who are doing their work to be and remember and who take the time to share in return.

      I am out on the road working again at the moment and am on a funny flying in the day and then switching to flying in the night schedule which wreaks (ok, will confess that I first just accidentally typed that as “reeks” -lol) havoc with my ability to sleep schedule and to give time with a clear head to write and properly respond. (It is reeking havoc as well however as I just yesterday fought the traffic for hours in LA to FINALLY make an in person pilgrimage to select a new perfume at an excellent shop in Beverly Hills. At this level of the scented spectrum, one must spray a scent and then let your personal skin have a conversation with the added odors as they shift and mellow revealing new layers over time. The smell you start with is not the same smell you smell several hours later. At hour 5 in wearing of a well designed perfume, you are getting notes that were there at the beginning as well, but were covered over initially in the nose accessing them by top and medium notes that are perceived first, but that fade off the skin faster. I am currently wafting the amazing over night smells left of Zen Buddhist monastery dregs of the perfume “Helium” as I type. It is reaching the deeper notes of the incense which has been soaking along with pipe tobacco smell…like the scent left in the wood in a space over of hundreds of years of smoke being contained in the room). I am having my perfume experience touch on your evolution of the river thoughts, but in a cloudy way as although it is 11:12am, I need to go sleep to be ready for work tonight.)

      Going to put the rest of your well earned comment reply on pause and will take the thoughts to work with me tonight on my all night party journey around our beautiful world.

      Part of this rock/ladder ending wisdom part II post came from in the interim having watched the following. I has worked it’s way into another post which is waiting in the wings to be published, but I will share the preview with you here. Thay shares very some interesting thoughts about the concepts of immutability and eternity.

      This is what I do with my time on a funny sleep schedule in hotel rooms without the (BELOVED) distractions of home. I light incense and think about not thinking and try to sleep…to sleep perchance to dream and post.

      More to come 🙂 , Maren

      • I watched and enjoyed the video from Thich Nhat Hanh immensely. (I just had to spell his name… good for developing muscle memory…) I’ve always enjoyed the urge to embrace paradox I find in brief encounters with Buddhism such as this one.

        A couple of things jumped out for me, first the notion that reality is somewhere between the poles of “eternalism” and “nihilism”. I loved that, because it made me look deeply and reflect on my own feelings and their inner interpretations. Thay tends to suggest the notion of an eternal soul is not a valid perception, and while I love the reality to which he points, I think there is some risk in this short video of walking away with the notion that the pull we feel for the eternal should be satisfied by knowing that my body becomes worms, which become chickens, which become foxes, and so on and so forth. I think perhaps the “reality” is that the eternal material of which we are made is neither fixed nor limited in its aggregations, and that when we return to unity, the attachment we have to a particular identity pales in comparison to the opportunities to be in deep states of communion and relationship that we discover.

        I say this only because in my own path it has been important to consider experiences from various traditions, and I think, for instance, that there is something, some aspect of who we are, that is consistent, or at least accessible. When a a Native American fasts and prays at the edge of a cliff, and Sitting Bull arrives to offer wisdom, it is not just a mirage, for instance. It is Sitting Bull. Or when another is praying for help, and Jesus materializes, once again, there is a way in which it is Jesus… But even in describing this I can sense how it might cause confusion, create uncertainty…

        One thing I love about Buddhism is that it seems to focus on what is most essential. I, for one, could not necessarily tell you precisely whose presence answered the call on any given day, only that the calvary arrived… So my getting hung up on whether it was A or B is irrelevant, and I think the Buddha sought to minimize all of these irrelevancies and focus on what a given consciousness can learn in and of itself, through looking deeply at what is given, to be free.

        And so, I also think that while this focus on what is necessary is beautiful, it does not preclude what is from being what is… As in Stranger in a Strange Land, the Old Ones such as Sitting Bull and a vast convoy of ancestors will advise those who listen regardless of whether Buddhism suggests we make it a focus or not.

        I do know that when I reflect on what Thay is saying, I glimpse a beautiful place. This question about what can be known is, I think, extremely important. I hope I made some sense and didn’t just ramble… 🙂


      • Great thoughts. I am in the “I have worked all night and only slept 4 hours haze”, but I will attempt to share my thoughts in return. I have NOT studied Buddhism in depth and I have only danced around the edges of Thay’s specific filters for sharing the wisdom that can be found there. I suspect that he is being very careful to help those who are struggling with attachment/”ego” issues find a nice crack on the head in a safe but challenging thinking space just to bounce their fears up against. I think that when Jesus says I or my father, it doesn’t matter as it is the same that this is what Thay is also pointing to. When nirvana is attained, it is Sitting Bull or Jesus or the Buddha that can still show up, but at the root what they would say will be the same because they never leave the place of those immutable truths. I am going to listen to it again as I was focusing on a different section when I first watched and I will get back with additional impressions if I have any.

        Thanks M. Precious, precious are those who share and call us out and make us think. ALWAYS ok to not agree or to question or to even give silence here. Your touch up against the thought niggles is always handled so well…with words from a light heart. Just reflecting back my experience of you. Appreciate it. Deeper conversations are a true gift (which is what inspired the share of this video clip into a post to begin with!) -x.M

        I often think death might be like one big up load to the divine eternal hard drive

      • Hi M, thanks for engaging me here in such an open way. I likewise bring my own sentiments, perceptions, fears etc. to this dialogue, which as you say, is a great way to actually show ourselves what the heck we’re actually thinking deep down inside. I couldn’t manage to get this below your latest remarks (I don’t think anyway), so we’ll see where it lands.

        I also couldn’t manage to confine my thoughts to a few paragraphs, so I’m thinking I’ll make a post and link back to the discussion here. Stand by… 🙂

        Oh, this is fun!


      • Okay, M. Here’s what I came up with… Can’t wait to read yours now! In the end I see no discord with the video from Thay, and upon further reflection I find his words really helpful and enhancing…


      • CAN’T WAIT to dive in! Going to hit the pillow first tonight though, as I am just back from a long day spent out over the ocean finding I am now with an empty battery (that meaning me, not my computer 🙂 ). Gives me something to really look forward to including as I create my day on the morn. Dreaming of the more to come all round…

      • Ok. I listened again and I was really struck by Thay’s way of addressing fear of impermanence by saying it is like growing up. You are never you age 5 again, but where is age 5 to be found within the 44 year old woman? You are not the same, but you also are not different…still called Maren and age 5 helped build today. So with the immortal soul related to death, the idea that you are never Maren again, but where is Maren to be found within the experience of being (could say creation, God, etc etc)? There is the human body made of physical bits which we have a pretty good understanding of how they work on a surface level, but what is truly orchestrating / causing them to work? Body goes back to the smaller elements that it is made up of, but what of that which kept “Maren” being and breathing to begin with?

        Thay mentions the 5 Skandha’s (which I am just coming to looking at in relation to the Heart Sutra -the other 3 books I have in my bag with me during this chunk of work are specifically about this). In English we would use the idea of these skandhas as a psychological tree trunk or a place where the roots are gathered together and become visible. (You may already know all this, but I am typing it out here more than anything to help clarify my own understanding and to set it better in my own memory as tends to happen when we attempt to explain something again in our own words), so the immortal soul is only as it is immortal in this moment and to this moment…and the next moment in eternity is new and not the same as the last therefore can there be only one immortal soul? Yes and no…wave never the same, but it is still water…then cloud then rain and back into the ocean for wave 🙂 . This is a VERY zoomed out way of looking at form, sensation, perception, volition and discernment…it is the human being learning about human BEING. It is M and her current thinking which leads to misconceptions and perceptions of the skandhas, expanding understanding as time brings new nows with opportunities for unlearning and remembering.

        Here is to allowing myself not to be so sloppy! I and my understanding am perfect in this immortal moment. There only ever is one moment as this immortal moment. And I will be in the next as well 🙂 when my understanding has or has not shifted. Sigh. Oh, the profound peace of rreeaallyy grokking that past just the words! -x.M

      • LOVE the sync of opening the reader and finding these eloquent words about growing up 🙂

        Linking as a trail in general for any who are reading (not just you M) to follow:

  6. Pingback: Who Are We…? | Embracing Forever

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