Sunday, August 22, 2004

The Angst of Aging

As I get nearer to the big 40, I began to re-evaluate many aspects of my life and what it consists of. Several one-liners invoke the words, "That is so true of me" to reverberate through my inner core. I’d like to share some of them with you.

"Insanity is my only means of relaxation."

"My mind not only wanders; sometimes it leaves completely."

"There is always a lot to be thankful for, if you take the time to look. For example, I’m sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don’t hurt."

"God put me on earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I’m so far behind, I will live forever."

"It’s frustrating when you know all the answers but nobody bothers to ask you the questions."

"When I finally got my head together, my body fell apart."

"Time may be a great healer, but it’s also a lousy beautician."

"The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then your body and your fat are really good friends."

"Age doesn’t always bring wisdom. Sometimes age comes alone."

"Sometimes I think I understand everything, then I regain consciousness."

"It is bad to suppress laughter. It goes back down and spreads to your hips."

"Seen it all, done it all, can’t remember most of it."

But then again, isn’t aging a mental state of mind? Tell yourself that when that dang crow starts to leave its footprints on your face and you look as though you need to iron your face. Enjoy your youth while you still have it. Happy days to you!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Wisdom

What is wisdom? The prophet Muhammad defined wisdom as follows:
Do what you should do when you should do it.
Refuse to do what you should not do;
And, when it is not clear, wait until you are sure.

We all like to think that we are wise. And that is certainly one reason we keep making so many foolish mistakes. To pretend to wisdom is to ignore the reality of our own shortcomings. How can we learn from our mistakes until we are wise enough to look at them clearly? Humility and self-awareness are among the prerequisites to wisdom.

Action is the final essential component of wisdom. Knowledge not acted upon is merely a collection of facts. A donkey with a load of books is still a donkey. But when we act on our knowledge, we open ourselves up to wisdom.

If we listen closely to the words of the wise, and we act on them, perhaps we ourselves will one day be counted among their ranks. Then, our own words will serve to guide others.

- excerpt from Essential Sufism