One of the major ways I use information is to learn about myself and the world around me. What do I think about ____ ? Why are things the way they are? Have others realized this? What do they think? I have realized that I often browse the internet for answers if I have a question about life. I also read books and talk to people.
But recently something has changed in me. I am still a seeker of knowledge, but not necessarily always outside myself. This was apparent yesterday when I saw a post from Leo Babauta's ZenHabits blog pop up in my reader feed. It was titled 'How to Live Well'. In the past I would have jumped to click on, read, and absorb the article, but this time I paused. I remembered myself as a third grader thrusting my hand into the air as if to say, 'Pick me, I know- I know the answer!' But unlike the simple bravado of my eight-year-old self, I felt that I had some idea of what Leo's article would say because I have learned enough to figure (most of them) out on my own.
"Okay", I said to myself, "Let's first see what I think about living a good life." I grabbed a pen and paper and scribbled down my thoughts.
To live well:
Enjoy every day
Live simply: simplify possessions, simplify schedules
Be in the present moment
Be happy and grateful
Learn new things
Share what you learn with others
Then I read the article. In his concise yet illuminating manner, Leo describes the eight things he thinks are key to living well. And you know what? Although we used different words, my scribbled responses mirrored most of his advice. There were only two things that I did not explicitly express, and those were 1) Be driven by joy, not fear, and 2) Forget about productivity and numbers. Also pretty good ideas, in my opinion.
This little exercise taught me that in addition to learning from the thoughts and life experiences of others, it is also important to remember that most people, including myself, also hold a great deal of intuitive knowledge and wisdom. Looking back, I remember the times in my life when I have unwarrantedly questioned myself. Yet when the answer was revealed, I realized I knew all along. Sometimes this inner wisdom can be difficult to tap into, so we must all be patient with ourselves.
I have decided that whenever I have a question about life, I should take it as an opportunity to pause and reflect. Before seeking 'outside' knowledge, I should first look deeply to determine if I am already in touch with the answers present in myself. Then when I seek the wisdom of others I can also develop the humility and gratefulness that comes from learning from others' experiences- and also the appreciation that other people's thoughts may differ from my own.
What do you think? Do you agree with the content of this post? What are times you use your own intuitive wisdom? When do you seek the wisdom of others? I welcome your comments. Also, for more insight into this post and additional discussion, please read 'How to Live Well' at Zenhabits (and maybe make your own list first :).
May all beings be happy!