Tag Archives: wisdom

We must discover

“We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” — Marcel Proust As several readers have pointed out recently, we have many sources from which to seek wisdom. For people of faith, holy scriptures are primary; for all of us, other …

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Persistent prayer

“The value of persistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will finally hear Him.” — William McGill It’s all too easy for believers and unbelievers alike to confuse prayer with some sort of divine bargaining system, or a kind of formal ritual for advising God what we need — as …

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The most powerful drug

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ― Rudyard Kipling I don’t remember when I first realized that not everyone was as fascinated by words as I am, but it’s something that I still don’t fully understand.  I have always been so drawn to words; their meaning, their rhythms and sounds, the …

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Alchemy in sorrow

“Sorrow fully accepted brings its own gifts. For there is alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmitted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.” — Pearl S. Buck I believe that true optimism must include comprehension of the role sorrow plays in all our lives.  A positive outlook is not a form …

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Blinking once-sealed eyes

“I do not know what I am doing. But just like a baby bird, I am blinking once-sealed eyes and unfolding damp wings.” —Julie Gregory No matter how old we grow, life forces us to keep learning.  Sometimes it helps to re-frame even the most difficult experiences as opportunities to increase our competence, tenacity or …

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Mind and soul

“Let knowledge grow from more to more, But more of reverence in us dwell; That mind and soul, according well, May make one music as before, But vaster.” —  Alfred, Lord Tennyson Several miles from the palaces of knowledge found at the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington National Cathedral stands in a quiet residential area seldom congested with the …

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Patience and faith

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient… Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh Few women of any generation could claim a life as full of adventure, triumph and tragedy as Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  Yet her concerns were similar to …

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This is enough

“The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know…Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough.” ― John Adams I can certainly identify with Adams’ observation about reading, thinking and anxious inquiry. In fact, I’ve noticed that my …

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Such beautiful lessons

Another morning and I wake with thirst  for the goodness I do not have. I walk  out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,  I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your …

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Inverse correlation

“There are things money can’t buy. I don’t think standard of living equates with cost of living beyond a certain point. Good housing, good health, good food, good transport. There’s a point you start getting inverse correlation between wealth and quality of life… I have everything I need to have, and I don’t need any …

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But one has seen

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is …

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Something you have to learn

“Nobody is born smiling – being happy in this world is something you have to learn.” — Ashleigh Brilliant How true! And as with all kinds of education, some people seem naturally better at learning happiness than others. A few are exceptionally gifted in this way, and others are what we might call “learning disabled” when …

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Alchemy in sorrow (2017)

“Sorrow fully accepted brings its own gifts. For there is alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmitted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.” — Pearl S. Buck Dear readers, as always when I take even a short break, I find myself far behind on urgent tasks. In addition …

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A sentinel all around

“…if we starve ourselves of mental junk and replace it with what is true, admirable, right, pure, beautiful, and attractive, peace will stand as a sentinel all around our feelings and thoughts, creating an impregnable fortress of calm and tranquility.” — David Murray Could you use some calm and tranquility right now? I know I …

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Power to gather

…he is happiest who hath power To gather wisdom from a flower…              — Mary Howitt What is your favorite flower?  That’s a tough question to answer; I tend to be fondest of whatever I happen to be seeing at the moment.  But if I had to choose, the delightful …

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Contentment and aspiration

“We are not to make the ideas of contentment and aspiration quarrel, for God made them fast friends. A man may aspire, and yet be quite content until it is time to raise; and both flying and resting are but parts of one contentment.” — Henry Ward Beecher I think I understand what Beecher was …

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Endless, incredible loot

“The richest person in the world – in fact, all the riches in the world – couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library. You can measure the awareness, the breadth and the wisdom of a civilization, a nation, a people by the priority given to preserving these …

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What counts

“What counts is what you learn after you know it all.” – Earl Weaver Sometimes it seems that life is one long series of reaching the top of one hill only to start all over again at the bottom of another one.  After awhile, we realize that we never stop needing to learn.  Most of …

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There is nothing lacking

“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” — Lao-tzu It’s a curious paradox that some of the people who have the most possessions never seem to have enough, and some with the least are the most content.  …

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Nowhere else to go

“I have been many times driven to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” ― Abraham Lincoln Not quite 152 years ago, the United States endured “the single bloodiest day in American military history” …

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Fuel for our journey

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” — Kenji Miyazawa That sounds like a good idea to me.  However, it may be difficult to implement.  As fuels go, pain is an expensive one.  And it’s not particularly clean-burning, either. Still, there are times when we don’t have much choice.  It …

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Not the same thing

“They say that we are better educated than our parents’ generation. What they mean is that we go to school longer. It is not the same thing.” — Richard Yates “But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.  Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know.” — 1 …

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Our conscious choice

“Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we shall tend.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach Every day I wake up with a mixture of thoughts, some pleasant and some not.  There are always things I look forward to doing that day, and …

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The meaning of immortality

“The wise understand the meaning of immortality, and do not seek the never-changing in the transient.” — Upanishads No small part of my sorrow in life comes from my abiding difficulty in accepting that nothing on this earth will last forever.  This reluctance to let go encompasses the entire spectrum of my life, from a …

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A wonderful position

“I’m in a wonderful position: I’m unknown, I’m underrated, and there’s nowhere to go but up.” ― Pierre S. DuPont IV I loved this quote the moment I saw it, and I thought immediately of how it feels to be a child or a young person.  Though few, if any, children will think in precisely …

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