A Few Wise Words on Wisdom

Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young, nor weary in search of it when he is grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the benefits of philosophy.

Epicurus; Letter to Menoeceus

The unexamined life is not worth living

Socrates; the Apology

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof of fine gold.

She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

Proverbs 3:  13: 15

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Albert  Einstein

Possibilities

We always have choices… we can not always control what happens to us and around us but we can still within that make choices as to how we respond. The group was asked to think about the following by Portia Nelson:

  • I walk down the street. There is a large hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost..I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes me forever to find a way out.
  • I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place but it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
  • I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in…it’s a habit. My eyes are open, I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
  • I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
  • I walk down another street.

There is an interesting lesson here for us to consider about our repetitive patterns of behaviour that lead us to familiar situations in our lives. Learning to recognise these gives us the opportunity to do something differently, to find the answers and the strength within to be the change we need in our life.

The Ten Second Count

This is more of an exercise in practising concentration than it is in mindfulness.

In this exercise rather than focusing on your breath, you just close your eyes and focus your attention on slowly counting to ten. If the attention wanders off, simply bring yourself back and start counting again from one.

For many it goes something like this..

“One…two…three…do I need to buy milk today- ooops I am thinking.

One..two..three..four..this isn’t so hard- oops no.. that’s a thought

One..two..three..four..five”

Keep going back to one until you can manage a count to ten without your thoughts wandering.

Source: Mindfulness Course, Tunbridge Wells, 2013

The Exercise

First, leet the mind be free of any concern or preoccupation. Be aware of where you are now…

Feel the body…

Feel the weight of the body on the chair…

Feel the gentle pressure of clothes on the skin…

Be aware of where you are now…

Feel the touch of your feet on the ground…

And the play of air on the face and hands…

If they are open let the eyes receive colour and form without any comment…

Taste…

Smell…

Be fully here…

Now be aware of hearing…

Let sounds be received and let them rise and fall without comment or judgement of any kind…

With the body completely relaxed let the hearing run out to the furthest and gentlest sounds, embracing all, and rest in the great awareness for a few moments.

Over the last few weeks we have opened and closed each session of the weekly mindfulness course with the exercise. I have begun to incorporate it into the start of my day. I am finding that it helps me to feel stronger and calmer as I embark on the hectic rush hour school run each morning.

Source: Mindfulness Course, Tunbridge Wells, 2013