Our third quest is for enlightenment – seeing and feeling and making more happen.
As with the quests for honour and nobility, it’s a journey from ego – the false self, to eco – our true Self. As in the classic protagonist’s story, in order to find what we are looking for, we must face challenges, cross thresholds, overcome obstacles, and finally obtain what we desire – which is never what we imagine it to be at the outset. It begins with foolishness, which can be seen as the outworking of a life pursued in pride and greed.
A false view of ourselves and of what we deserve can lead to foolish ideas, feelings, and behaviours. Albert Einstein once pointed out that we cannot solve problems with the same kind of thinking that created them. Often cyclical in nature, foolishness refuses to suspend the ways of seeing and understanding that prevent us from finding solutions, only being open to others who reinforce our ideas.
The response to foolishness is faithfulness, which is really about trying to learn from the wisdom of others, and creating practices and habits that allow a new path to be taken. Faithfulness also embodies and expresses humility and gratitude, making it possible for us to try new ways of living humbly and gratefully on a daily basis.
When we see just how far we are able to travel by forming new habits and keeping them, when we turn around and look back, we may even be shocked at how far we have journeyed. We’re moving towards perseverance. More than persisting, perseverance is about covering great distances when habits, practices and disciplines become personalised and internalised. We come to miss doing these things if, for any reason, we fail or are prevented from practising them. Perseverance, together with integrity and wholeness, is generative; it’s how we make courage and generosity stretch farther and farther into the form and life-shape of wisdom.
SOMETHING TO DO: The four points in this journey – Foolishness, Faithfulness, Perseverance, Wisdom – relate to what we have mentioned as autopilot (foolishness), opening the mind (faithfulness), opening the heart (perseverance), and, opening the will (wisdom). Where do you feel yourself to be on this journey and what is your evidence?
RESOURCES YOU MAY ENJOY:
Too Big to Know by David Weinberger