True wisdom: our authentic selves

Esther and Noah on the front porch chair...getting ready for their morning naps

Esther and Noah on the front porch chair…getting ready for their morning naps

Yesterday, I ran into a woman I’ve known for a few years, as I was leaving the grocery store. She seemed a little off and I didn’t think much of it, but as I was saying goodbye, she sighed and said that she was discouraged about some debt that felt like it would never be paid off.  I then asked the unconscious question, “How long before it will be paid off?” She looked totally deflated at this question, and her reaction pulled me up sharply.

At that moment I caught myself. I know this woman. We’ve had quite a few deep discussions and she generally has a very expanded view of life (spiritually speaking), she’d just temporarily forgotten this, and I wasn’t helping. The next words that came to me were, “There is no debt in Divine Mind. It is done now.” With those words, she broke into a huge smile, grabbed me and said, “Oh, thank you so much! That was just what I needed to hear.”

Not everyone can hear those words. If someone isn’t ready to hear them, or isn’t aware that there is a larger dimension to their lives; one that is infinitely and intimately connected to the field of All Good, All Wisdom, All Abundance, then a comment like that can be dismissed or actually cause more confusion.

All of us who are consciously on the spiritual path (we are all on a spiritual path, whether we know this or not) have experienced many situations like this. We hear someone say something that is self-defeating or actually getting in the way of what they want as a life experience, we hear their limiting beliefs being voiced, and always the choice comes up whether to respond or not. Over the years I have become more discerning about when to offer a different perspective and when to keep silent.

I am still learning, and the interesting thing is, the more that I know , the less I tend to say. I’ve learned from experience that many people are not asking for my input…for whatever reason. And when I try to give it, and it isn’t wanted, the exchange is not satisfying for either of us. I’ve also learned that when someone does want my input they tend not to give up. They ask either directly or indirectly (by not leaving) for something more.

I try not to have a rote response to life. I don’t care for mindless words/concepts whether they are, “You need to think positively about this!” or “To be a good friend, you always have to be a good listener.” With every conversation, it is my intention to show up and feel what is being asked of me (from the larger part of me); the part that always knows what to do in every situation. The part that can be of the most service to others, because it isn’t locked into a concept of what a spiritual person should do or say. It is free to act or speak when the time is right….it is the authentic self and when I let it move and direct me (my thoughts, words and actions) the result is always perfect.

“Wisdom is not communicable. The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish. . . . Knowledge can be communicated but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it”. Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha. New York: Bantam, 1971, pp 142

18 thoughts on “True wisdom: our authentic selves

  1. I am learning this lesson as well – developing the love of keeping quiet and listening. This is so good for my soul. Having so much Leo in my chart gives me the love of gab (especially about myself) – just not what others need or want to hear. LOL. I must reread Siddhartha.

  2. It is so true, that having a heart to really hear others is to let them speak without fear of judgement , without rote answers , without a concept of where they ” should” be (which just shuts down the communication). Everyone is where they are in their experience, often we ourselves backtrack and try again. You are right, trying to communicate words of the wisdom we ourselves have struggled to gain is not really possible to convey. The Hesse quote is so appropriate. . Thank you for reminding us to be still and listen ..

  3. Dear Mary, thank you for your kind and gentle words. I too find that by being a good listener….which means being open to not only what someone is saying, but being open to hearing the divine voice within…..I am lead to say or do the right, most loving thing at the time. It takes skill and practice and lots of humility. Your story about the interaction between you and your friend is a reminder to follow our hearts and know when to speak and when to be silent.

  4. Mary, quite truthfully, I’ve never thought to look at something this way..the way you’ve posted this morning. I also dislike ‘buzz words, buzz phrase’…like ‘pull up your socks and get going’ when someone is down in the dumps or ‘you’ll get over it, just give it time’….and yet, those two phrases have helped put the mental metal back into my spine when my life has fallen apart. Being someone who can (with my Virgo mind) sort things out pretty quickly and sanely (though there is some question there…), I realize too, that people don’t need or want my logical output. I rather suspect that this is one posting that will have to be printed off as a reminder to think before putting my two cents worth into other’s lives.
    SandyP in Canada

  5. Such a fine line sometimes between opening our mouths to speak and that split second when your gut tells you not to. I actually love when that happens (the ‘not to’ part!). Because listening in silence, whether to a friend, our spouse, an elderly parent, a professional colleague, to a child, can really keep us in the moment and helps us to understand the ‘possibilities’ of what they may be saying/needing/wanting. Years ago I learned a very neat lesson in listening and my own labeling of people. It was called “already listening”. The theory was that we have already formed opinions/judgements of people and those opinions and judgements inform ‘how’ we hear them, conscioulsy or not. So if I was going into a meeting on a serious or intense topic, I would either dread it or look forward to it depending on how I expected my colleague to react…I had an ‘already listening’ about him or her based on past experiences so I ‘already’ knew what they might say…and of course, that is what I got! By dropping my ‘already listenings”, by staying open, the result would surprise me. How many times have we said “oh, I knew you would say that”, or “that’s what I thought you would say”…sometimes we are ‘already listening’ before we even give them a chance to speak. So that is what your compelling post made me think of today, Mary…and I so needed that refreshment. Thank you!

  6. I just printed out this whole post Mary, to keep in my special folder. And I love Kathye, the ‘already listening’ lesson. I do know that sometimes the greatest gift we can give another person is to sit silently, listening, being WITH their every emotion as they speak. Listening is another form of embrace, and we all long to be held and known. In the very act of speaking and being heard without judgment or advice, there is a great unburdening, essential to any healing.

  7. Greetings, Mary’s ‘gang’,

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I like this phrase from the ending quotation “wisdom is not communicable.” There are so many intelligent, accomplished people out there who don’t have the capacity to listen. Maybe good listening skills could be added to our schools’ curricula. It might begin with a video of Esther and Noah getting ready to take a nap. It would be a fitting introduction to quiet the babble of the mind and cause the mind to become receptive to the importance of listening.

    Have a great weekend, everyone!
    Cat Lady working on her listening skills

  8. Thanks Mary. Words I need to hear once in a while. My nature is to try to “fix” things or offer suggestions for others. What I need to do is keep my mouth shut and just listen. That usually what someone wants, just someone to listen.

  9. One of the things I’ve learned in listening to students and parents is to look/listen for (with the heart) the real emotion behind the confrontation. If a parent is questioning a grade, they are really expressing fear that their child will fail, will never get a scholarship, won’t look good among the parents’ friends, etc. It takes the fight out of them when you respond to and address the fear behind. I know this wasn’t a confrontation, Mary, but it’s really the same thing when a friend reveals a situation to us. They aren’t wanting or expecting their problem to be solved by us, but to feel heard and supported by us.
    I’ve really enjoyed the thought-provoking responses to this post.

  10. Kudos ofr this post, Mary, and kudos to all who replied. I took something home from each comment and will be pondering and ‘chewing on’ all these words of wisdom. Kathye, I especially loved the concept of ‘already listening.’ So true.

    Have great weekends, all y’all!

  11. I follow this woman’s postings on Facebook (she also has a book). Her comment today seems to fit this discussion:

    Lynne Forrest

    Do you appreciate someone “caring” for you by telling you how best to do your life? Do you like it when they fill your ears with their list of “should’s” for you, all “for your own good, of course?”

    “No? That’s not something you particularly enjoy??”

    Then why do you do it to others?

    Make a clear distinction between what’s your business and what’s theirs.

  12. Great post Mary Solomon~ I may look into Lynne Forrest. Succinct and to the point. This pleases my personality.
    I think wisdom works into our souls in an osmosis style. At least that’s how it feels for me. Have a good w/e Mary and Mary, Cindy

  13. Mary Solomon, thank you! for this link to Lynne Forrest’s blog – I really liked her page stating her purpose once I signed on to receive the email/blog. What a treasure trove of friendship, wisdom, and sharing we have here at White Feather Farm. So glad I checked in on Saturday to read any new posts from yesterday. Love to you, Mary, and everyone at WFF!

    • I love to check on the weekends also. Don’t like to miss anything from all who post. Just wanted to let any of you who were checking on Lynne Forrest’s website – to be sure to read some of her articles.

      Hope everyone had a nice weekend.

Comments are closed.