- Journal Entry #12 — Seeing It Otherwise
Who is the wisest person on the planet? Yourself? Someone you know; someone you’ve never met? Maybe someone you merely imagine might exist. Maybe someone from the very distant past — someone no longer living.
After asking myself this recently, I quickly decided it was a ridiculous (but relatively common) question.
Depending on someone else to be “wise” for us might be helpful to a point, but it also sounds a bit too convenient. Plus, people tend to be “wise” in one area of life, but noticeably “unwise” in other areas.
Besides, what does it mean to possess wisdom? If I asked 100 people … very few answers would be duplicates.
Sometimes wisdom is in the eye of the beholder.
But when I encountered this quote from da Vinci, I immediately appreciated the inherent wisdom in his words.
- While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die. ~ Leonardo da Vinci
Of course, I thought! We’ve had it mostly upside down, haven’t we?
What a huge difference this shift in perspective makes … we focus heavily on learning how to live, when perhaps (just perhaps), we are actually learning how to die. Clearly, it’s the one thing we know is going to happen eventually (at least in the physical sense). Everything else is simply a “maybe” along the way.
Of course learning how to die is actually another aspect of learning how to live. It’s just that we tend to “ignore” the importance of this … individually, socially, culturally, globally.
- So how does this shift in perspective make its way into daily life?
Now there’s a question with energy behind it.
I’m guessing, for starters, that we would try to live more fully in each moment, instead of as “splintered” beings … part of our mind in the past, part in the future, with very little leftover to truly pay attention to the “now” (as Eckhart Tolle would put it).
I’m also guessing we would not be quite as concerned about our possessions (the material aspects of life), since hopefully, we would be more interested in experiencing life on a deeper level. In death, of course, our possessions are immediately irrelevant.
- What else comes to mind?
Well, what else do you want to know about your inner world by the time your last breath is taken? What within you is completely unknown to you because you haven’t gone deeply within via a consistent spiritual practice or via a growing awareness of what is beyond the most obvious aspects of life?
And what about grace, acceptance, compassion? Would we be more interested in developing these attributes if we were also “learning” how to die on a conscious (and purposeful) level?
Would we be more eager to grow spiritually from a much younger age?
Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to “die before you die” — and find that there is no death. ~ Eckhart Tolle
It shouldn’t take death to challenge you to live at your highest level. Why wait until everything is taken from you before you learn to dig down deep inside yourself to reach your highest potential? A wise person affirms, If with one breath all of this can change, then I want to live at the highest level while I’m alive. I’m going to stop bothering the people I love. I’m going to live life from the deepest part of my being. ~ Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself (one of the most profound books you’ll ever encounter)
And then there is the wonderful work of Dr. Eben Alexander via his powerful book: Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. If you haven’t yet stumbled across this man — his experience or his story — please seek him out. Sooner, not later.
- Remember, we are all here … “learning how to die.” And Eben will take you there on many different levels. “Heaven” or not, Dr. Alexander is a credible spiritual traveler … brave, relevant, and definitely, a kindred spirit. Depending on definitions (and we don’t want to get lost in word games), it’s my guess that some kind of “heaven” can also be accessed within a mortal journey … when we experience a higher level of consciousness (enlightenment).
So why not become the “wisest” person you know; why not connect with universal intelligence?
- Remember, the key elements of spirituality are something you experience … not something your mind will ever explain to you. Because the mind doesn’t get it. It’s a matter of going beyond conditioned mind patterns to discover (and experience) your spiritual essence.
During this wonderful process of discovery you may find out who you really are; and “now” is a good time, because “now” is the only time.
- I find it helpful to remember that we are ALL here learning how to die. It refocuses everything quickly by giving this moment a certain urgency, a certain importance, that can be overlooked in the rapid flow of daily life. Paradoxically, it also reminds me that many things aren’t important at all. ~dh
Thanks for stopping by — see you in a couple of weeks!
Seeing It Otherwise is an online journal that represents a spiritual journey for 2013.
We are exploring perceptions, assumptions, and reactions. It’s a great opportunity to journal with us or meditate on the ideas and questions presented.
Blog posts serve as brief journal entries every other Friday morning. I hope you enjoy this close-up of life and spirituality.
Next journal post: July 26th.
- Comments are welcome when open, but I encourage inner dialogue as well … or more importantly. Thanks, have a great week!
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