This time of turmoil, economic melt-downs, religious and ethnic strife, natural and man-made disasters, war and political upheaval, has raised questions for me and many of those with whom I have conversations. We are all searching for alternatives. We are asking, “where is the wisdom to see our way through these challenges?” The political environment, as we head into the final day of mid-term elections, is divisive, filled with accusations and lacks honesty and truth. Many claim to have answers. Do they? There seems to be little room for anyone to question, wonder or explore the possibilities.
I remember these words from Charles Dickens (1859) in “A Tale of Two Cities” which I found again today in a little book by Meg Wheatley, called Perseverance:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven,
we were all going direct the other way.
In short, the period was so far like the present period,
That some of its noisiest authorities insisted
on its being received, for good or for evil,
in the superlative degree of comparison only.
I have read it many times before and several times today. Each time I find in it such a reflection of today, 150 years after Dickens wrote The Tale. We hear the media pundits, leaders and politicians shout the “superlative degree of comparison”, the contrasts of good and evil, hope and despair. In these current times, I am searching for the wisdom to find our way and to create the “best of times” with light and hope and belief in the future? Can we escape the “worst of times”? In my search, I turned to the “Wisdom Book” www.wisdombook.org to learn more and hear luminaries from around the world speak about wisdom.
They suggest that wisdom is about experience, learning and expressing who I am, opening my heart to what the world can show me. It is about dignity, respecting difference and loving deeply. Jane Goodall reminds us of the wisdom of the indigenous people who make decisions based on the effect it will have on people seven generations from now. Can we find the wisdom to open our hearts and minds, to listen to the questions and to give to others, even those we don’t agree with? Can we let go of our judgments and hostile language and be decent, respectful and consider the possibilities for all of us in the world, seven generations hence? Can we change our hearts from our selfish personal pursuits and expand our goals to what is best for the planet and all of the creatures on it? Can we find the wisdom to ask the right questions, listen to the possibilities and be open to change our hearts and minds?
What are your thoughts and perspectives…your wisdom?