Sunday, December 20, 2015

Life Is Our Greatest Teacher

My daily thoughts are syndicated in the spirituality section of a website called “Before It’s News”.  Sometimes I get emails front people who either like what I have written or they disagree with me.  One person wrote to me and said, “I don’t want this garbage.  I want the news”!  He actually used a stronger word than garbage but I can’t print it here.  Once I received an email from a woman who disagreed with some of my thoughts are education.  I had written that education gives your knowledge but life gives you wisdom.  Her point of view, and one that I would agree with, is that much of our formal education is useless knowledge that does little to prepare us for real life.  As someone who has lived real life for almost 65 years I am not sure there is anything that can prepare you for everything that life throws at you.  As I have gotten older and the work force has gotten younger I have sometimes felt like a teacher of Life 101 rather than a supervisor.  I started off in life as ignorant as anyone.  For example, I got married when I was 23 years old and I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.  After 40+ years of marriage and family life I am a little smarter.  Some people think I am wise.  Any wisdom I have acquired has been learned through my own ignorance, mistakes, and the rare occasion where I get something right.  In other words, wisdom does not come easily.  The woman who wrote to me also mentioned how little information most of us are given to deal with the basic realities of life, i.e., how to manage your money, how to make informed decisions, how to avoid stupid mistakes, how to prepare for a career, how to plan ahead, and other similar demands of life.  My wife and I were blessed with good parents who raised us well.  In addition, I have always had mentors who helped me understand what is important in life.  Acquired spirituality from study and experience has also been a firm foundation for my life.  Mystics have often said “Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom”.  This self-knowledge, usually acquired from personal introspection, is part of the process of growing up and acquiring maturity.  All of life is a classroom.  Everyone around you is a teacher.  Some teachers should be followed and others avoided.  Learn from life.  Surround yourself with wise and intelligent people who will help you find your way.  Think before you act.  The greatest education is your own life experience. 

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