Chapter 14 - Authentic Wisdom vs. Cultural Conventions - Strength for the Journey
Sometimes, what we deeply believe is loving, kind, compassionate, moral, ethical, etc. is actually quite the opposite. We live in something of an inverted world, and therefore, because so many of our preconceived notions of righteousness are drawn from external sources, we often inexplicably find ourselves becoming worse despite honestly attempting to behave better. This is primarily due to the dominant approach of intellectually twisting simple Truths, so vital to maintaining modern society's need to feel superior & progressive.
What passes for 'Love' these days scarcely needs mentioned. Likewise, our ideas of 'Kindness', 'Compassion', 'Acceptance', 'Caring', 'Contentment', 'Detachment', 'Discernment', 'Empathy', 'Faith', 'Guidance', 'Forgiveness', 'Humility', 'Justice', 'Modesty', 'Peace', 'Respect', 'Responsibility', 'Selflessness', 'Sincerity', 'Tolerance', 'Trust', and especially, 'Wisdom', are all distorted and mostly inaccurate.
Each of these example terms, along with countless other excluded terms, may warrant an entire expository essay of their own. I intend to provide just that as time goes on, but it is necessary to first establish a solid initial reference point.
While this may seem like an overwhelming situation, there is actually a simple method of overcoming it. We must start living consciously, not from what we think of as our 'mind' or our 'heart'. We must understand that our Heart is not our emotions, and our Mind is not our thoughts. This is one of the great lies. Society has become polarized between those who live from their intellectual justifications ('right-brain', 'mental', 'mind', etc.), and those who believe in the moral primacy of emotional impulses ('left-brain', 'empathetic', 'heart', etc.). Hardly anyone considers the fact that neither of these approaches is any good for anyone.
We are essentially looking for direction from either our neurotransmitters, or our hormones, assuming that our physiology is the source of reality. These are dangerously unstable waters, as it is becoming clearer and clearer just how easy it is for others (or Nature) to manipulate our bodies. This realization tends to create a great deal of fear in us, which in turn heavily affects our physiology.
We must get off the roller coaster of thoughts & emotions, and begin to realize that these two phenomenon are simply physical manifestations of a deeper kind of consciousness. This deeper consciousness is not as mysterious and distant as we may first think/feel. We do 'feel' what's right, even at times when we're not feeling especially righteous, and we also 'know' what's right, even while we are hard at work mentally justifying our impossible-ness. There is, in fact, a great deal of bleed over from our Higher consciousness, so much so that it is constantly frustrating us.
We each have internal access to what we might currently conceive of as the 'Google' of consciousness. Looking around us for answers often leaves us sorely disappointed. While it may take us some time & practice to directly receive clear answers internally, there is a process to develop this guidance. This is the path of Wisdom. Most importantly, Wisdom obeys its own discoveries. Wisdom is attempting to live whatever we know to be true, no matter how daunting (or minimal) that may be, and in the process, gaining more and more Truth.
There is no easy query to gain Wisdom, it is only won through hard work, often realized through a series of discomforting internal discoveries. Google is not wise. In reality, it best represents the collective voice of the confused masses of foolishness, and the 'realizations' that follow with obstinately living against the Divine Plan. True, nuggets of Wisdom are to be gleaned anywhere, but the first order of business, developing discernment, is required before anything useful can be harvested. So very many self-professed 'wise' individuals, 'gurus', or 'guides' believe discernment to be based on developing a more 'solid' mental or emotional approach, and that is what one will encounter if one seeks external help & guidance. Often, the most confused are the most vocal, and typically, the most self-assured.
When one realizes that they need to seriously develop their own wisdom, they are actually farther along in that process than they suspect. The realization that one has no real idea of any value is in fact, quite a gem of Wisdom. It only is at this point that one is committed to emptying themselves of foolishness, in order to fill themselves with Wisdom. Anything less than this is self-deception. It is also very easy to return to this state of self-deception, so one must always be on guard against the thoughts & emotions that NOW they know better.
We can learn the true nature of virtue, but only through acknowledging that we are unaware of such things already. It may take a while to fully comprehend, there are many blocks & deceptions in the way. But resolving to understand the Truth is the fundamental thing, all else is simply the consistent labor of self-discipline.