Monday, 13 June 2011

a Moment for Wisdom…


“We’re all wounded. People who have lived life with any depth or taken any necessary risks in life have experienced loss and disappointment.  The experience of being wounded, and what happens to one as one responds to the wound, gives us the wisdom to heal one another.”

Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

Personal Wisdom:

How are you wounded? How do you
experience your wounds?

How have you healed your woundedness? Did it deepen your understanding?  Your wisdom?

Have you wounded others? How did that make you feel?

Societal Wisdom:

What does it mean to live in a society of wounded people?

a Moment with Sharif…


We are all wounded.

For many of us, our woundedness originated in the womb – perhaps even earlier than that. We’ve grown up with our woundedness, have it tied to our soul so tightly, its hard for us to see ourselves distinctly, see ourselves separate from the wound. Our woundedness becomes our “reality” and our identity.  We have to begin the process of unraveling our essential Selves from our experience of being wounded.

Now, many of us protect ourselves from the experience of our wounds by living shallow
lives. We push away from ourselves the people who are the instruments of our growth. We stay too busy to learn our lessons. We medicate ourselves so that we don’t have to experience loss, disappointment… or anything else. To substitute for thinking, we repeat the platitudes and aphorisms that surround us, so that we won’t have to go deep.

This isn’t life… this is going through the motions. Just as seedlings grow best in soil that’s been broken, that the seed itself cannot grow until it breaks open, our woundedness is the breaking open of our shells, so that the Light and the nutrients can enter.

A seedling is a balance of a number of competing and complementary forces – the downward pull of gravity balanced against the upward impetus of expansion. The movement of growth and the solidity of rootedness.  Similarly, you are at the center point of a balance – joy and suffering, compassion and hurt, fear and courage, inclusivity and
exclusion. Denying that hurt and suffering exist, denying that hurt and suffering add MEANING to your life, is denying yourself the opportunity for balanced growth.

Of course, this doesn’t mean we should all turn into masochists, that we should take on pain and suffering, just for the experience. Nor does it mean that we should be taking on the pain and suffering of others… the Divine has given me a more than adequate load – I don’t need anyone else’s! (How do you distinguish what’s yours and what belongs to others? How do you fulfill the Bodhisattva role – consciously receiving the suffering of others, for their enlightenment? Those topics will have to be the subject of other “Moments”…)

Remember, as I’ve said many times: “wisdom” means intelligence about relationships. You can’t gain wisdom just by thinking or reading (even by reading these “Moments”). Wisdom comes when you are in relationship with others. As you always are. Look around…




All photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.


This entry was posted in A Moment for Wisdom and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *