When we try to cling to any formed thing—people, the body, opinions, cars, homes, beliefs—we find they gradually (or quickly) slip out of our grasp, leaving us feeling empty and bereft. We suffer.
Wisdom tells us not to grab onto something that will cause suffering.
It makes sense to let go—let go of all that we call our own—when we truly get it at a deep level that everything is impermanent, and that we will eventually be separated from all people and things we hold dear.
But I still hear a voice of fear telling me I will be empty handed if I don’t grab what I can and try to hold onto what I consider precious. I’ll surely be unhappy without them.
Which voice will I listen to—the voice of wisdom or fear?
When I truly realize that grasping and clinging or expecting things to get better always leads to sadness and hurt, I eventually let go of this ingrained habit of trying to get something.
But this takes intention and effort. It’s not easy to un-do habits.
Habits are not to be ignored, for they make up the quality, or lack of, in our lives. They determine how we think and act—but are problematic because they function unconsciously.
Bringing the light of awareness into habits gradually, over time, disrupts them. In this dismantling they can no longer work efficiently.
Habits only work effectively in the darkness of the unconscious.
Shining the light of awareness steadily upon them unearths their roots and they begin to wobble and cannot remain grounded. In time they fall apart through disuse.
Wisdom directs us to put effort into this work so that we can be liberated from destructive habits of thinking and acting.
Webster defines wisdom as: the power of judging rightly and following the soundest course of action.
The soundest course of action would be the one that causes goodness to flow and does the least harm. Goodness naturally arises when we feel our common connection with all people, all life, and understand that a hurt inflicted onto any part affects the whole.
But how to connect harmoniously, that is the question.
As Rollo May said, “We either love or perish.”
We have a choice before us. Every moment of every day we are presented with the choice of how we respond to each situation we encounter.
When contemplating an action, we need to pause and consider the possible outcomes if we take this path. How will this affect ourselves and others?
If we fear, hate or disrespect anyone, what are the effects?
Divided we cannot stand. Enemies won’t create a sustainable environment, for they work against each other.
As both Jesus and Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Can we adopt a hospitable attitude toward others? Or just those we agree with? Can we tolerate diverse opinions?
Do we have a habit of becoming angry and upset when we don’t agree with others? Or when they disagree with us? Do we write them off, put armor around our hearts or build walls to separate us?
Habits will continue to be acted out until awareness and wisdom are chosen, moment by moment.
“What will bring wholeness into this situation?” is a question I keep uppermost in my mind.
Will this action bring harmony? Or peace?
The best I can do is to first check out what my body is telling me. Am I hardening my belly? Are my muscles tightening? Am I building a wall around my heart that hope will protect me from being hurt. But will it? Of course not.
What are my emotions? What is my attitude right now? Am I sad, or frightened, or angry?
Only by connecting with what is happening within me can I begin to take the wisest step into the next moment. Otherwise I am not on sure footing. The stories I tell about what might happen are just stories. They only have reality in my mind.
The world of physical sensations gives me a beginning place from which I can proceed. What is happening within my body? My heart?
If I wall myself off, judge others or act in anger, I will separate myself from others, bringing future unhappiness.
Consciously breathing, opening my heart and my mind builds a bridge to possibilities of kindness, for I have made connections.
Connection is a form of love, and love begins with me.
What is my intention?
What would wisdom do?
I remind myself that there is a universal wisdom that knows how to proceed, evolve, and blossom, whereas I, of myself, don’t.
Proceed as way opens. I don’t know the outcome. I simply follow the guidance as best I can.