Knowledge Is Learning

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“Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day” ~Zen Proverb

It became increasingly obvious after reading this very thought-provoking quote why I am not a Zen Master! While I pride myself in being a continuous learner (actually one of my key strengths according to the Strengths Finder by Tom Rath), it appears that knowing ‘stuff’ isn’t quite cracked up to what I thought it should be!

While tapping away at my keyboard this morning, I look around my beautiful office at a sea of books that might seem impressive to the naive eye. Yes, the books have looked astonishingly inspiring to me over the years too, until I woke up one day and realized that the books themselves don’t give me the right to say I’m even somewhat intelligent, however, applying the knowledge held within their covers is what makes the difference.

But wait, that’s not even the point! After reading (and really taking in) a quote like the one above, my world comes crashing down. Why you ask? Because it becomes quite apparent that all the studying over the years, the countless journals and wire-bound note books stored away to prove my voracious note-taking skills, post-it notes in every possible colour stuck to just about everything I can find (as I research using my personal assistant ‘Google’), means a whole lot of nothin’!! Ok, so it doesn’t mean ‘nothing’, it just means that smarts aren’t everything; wisdom is where it’s at!

It’s funny how we know stuff, yet, we don’t always know it! You get what I’m saying, right? I’ve realized this for a while, however my little human brain tends to forget (to remember) in my day-to-day busyness (now that’s a whole other topic for another day!).

It’s like learning to drive. There are rules, right? You have to know the rules of the road, like holding the steering wheel at ten and two (do they even teach that anymore?), checking the mirrors every 5 seconds, looking both ways, getting comfortable with seeing the road – past the end of the hood of the car! All of these are skills that after time and practice can be mastered and applied with ease. Then quite miraculously, the day comes when you turn the key in the ignition, and you realize that you forgot to think about all twenty steps you had to memorize before you put the car in drive, and your world changes on a dime.

Wisdom is something like that (or so I am still trying to grasp it seems!). It is learning all those steps that take a car from park to drive, putting your foot on the pedal, giving it some gas and then simply letting go! It’s not ‘letting go’ and just allowing the car to drive on its own, it’s letting go of everything you have mastered thus far. It’s trusting yourself to just be with everything you have learned; not holding onto the minutia of every single detail that has had you confined to just one way of thinking while learning the process of driving….or learning.

So when I look around my office and see the vast amounts of knowledge contained within my bookshelves, I say to myself ‘what can I learn today that will take my mind to a new place of knowledge?’ Then, when I master my learning, I will ask to be shown how my heart can let it go allowing wisdom to be my teacher and everyday guide.

Wishing you an inspiring day!


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