Reflections on Mother’s Day Theme of Wisdom

Mother’s Day Theme – Sophia as Wisdom
Patanjali, Buddha, Moses and Jesus did not go to workshops or seminars or even churches. They went directly to nature: sat under a Bodhi tree or on top of a mountain or in a cave. … It is time to return to the source of this inspiration – the earth itself. ― Dolores Lachapelle, Earth Wisdom

… It´s not about Win or lose We all lose
When they feed on the souls of the innocent Blood drenched pavement
Keep on moving though the waters stay raging
In this maze you can lose your way (your way)
It might drive you crazy But don’t let it faze you no way (no way)
Gotta hold on Livin life day by day
Gotta hold on Put your focus on that one day

All my life I´ve been waiting for I´ve been praying for
For the people to say That we don´t wanna fight no more
There´ll be no more wars And our children will play
One day (one day), One day (one day) …

One day this all will change Treat people the same
Stop with the violence Down with the hate
One day we´ll all be free And proud to be
Under the same sun Singing songs of freedom like
Gotta hold on Livin life day by day
Gotta hold on Put your focus on that one day

All my life I´ve been waiting for I´ve been praying for
For the people to say That we don´t wanna fight no more
There´ll be no more wars And our children will play
One day (one day), One day (one day) …

Of Wisdom: Sometimes She’s a Feminine, Creative Holy Spirit

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. — Ludwig van Beethoven

… This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of all, Natura naturans. There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy.  It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility. This is at once my own being, my own nature, and the Gift of my Creator’s Thought and Art within me, speaking as Hagia Sophia, speaking as my sister, Wisdom. I am awakened, I am born again at the voice of this my Sister, sent to me from the depths of the divine fecundity. — Thomas Merton

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. — Rumi

Because you are women, people will force their thinking on you, their boundaries on you. They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet and where you can go. Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom. — Amitabh Bachchan

There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.— Charles Dickens

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. — Buddha

Remember Proverbs 8?  Sophia, the Wisdom of God is described at the creation of the world as rejoicing in the inhabited world
 and delighting in the human race. I want the day to come when Christians are described not as judgmental but as those who, like the Wisdom of God, rejoice in the world and delight in humanity.   — Nadia Bolz-Weber

… if there is only one God, then why would we be surprised that there is a common wisdom coming through every stream? And how can we ever again possibly dismiss any of these traditions as possibly not being of God? “I believe that wisdom is where you go before theology, canons, creedal statements, denominations, because holy wisdom enables respect. The mystics of all traditions did not deal in creeds, in denominations and canons. The mystics dealt with enlightenment, insight and wisdom.” — Joan Chittister

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. — Immanuel Kant

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. — Francis of Assisi

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? — Jean-Jacques Rousseau

One need not be a mystic or have had a near-death experience to understand this … God … reflects a wisdom found in ancient scriptures, a spiritual vocabulary articulated by biblical heroes, saints, reformers, and the humble poor through the ages. And this impulse toward spiritual intimacy is found not only in the Abrahamic faiths, but in Buddhism, Hinduism, and native religions. … speaks of God with us, God in the stars and sunrise, God as the face of their neighbor, God in the act of justice, or God as the wonder of love. The language of divine nearness is the very heart of vibrant faith. — Diana Butler Bass

Every Single Thing I Know, as of Today — Anne Lamott

“I thought I might take the opportunity to write down every single thing I know, as of today … (excerpt)”

  • “Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift…And it [is] filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.”
  •  “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
  •  “There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of last way, unless you are waiting for an organ. You can’t buy, achieve, or date it.”
  • “Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides.”
  • “Families; hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be.”
  • “Food; try to do a little better.”
  • “The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and our world. To summon grace, say, ‘Help!’ And then buckle up.”
  • “Emerson said that the happiest person on earth is the one who learns from nature the lessons of worship. So go outside a lot, and look up.”
  • “The love of our incredible dogs and cats is the closest most of us will come, on this side of eternity, to knowing the direct love of God; although cats can be so bitter, which is not the god part: the crazy Love is. Also, ‘Figure it out’ is not a good slogan.”
  • “Exercise: If you want to have a good life after you have grown a little less young, you must walk almost every day. There is no way around this.”
  • “Death; wow. So f-ing hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die. You will never get over these losses, and are not supposed to.”

Meditations on “wisdom” in our lives, and reflections on Veterans Day

The spiritual practice of seeking wisdom balanced with the capacity to be foolish in a transformative way … and some reflections on issues facing Veterans, offered from a military chaplain.

Wisdom shows up as a desirable quality to be sought and learned through spiritual discipline in the writings of Solomon and in the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids in Matthew 25. It is something we can reach for. Yet in other texts, we are encouraged to be fools, to cast aside caution and prudence, to take astonishing risks … which spiritual practice do you cultivate?

See notes below in honor of Veterans Day. This song lyric is highlighted by a 3-tour Iraqi war veteran and military chaplain to provoke insight into the perspective of many of our veterans. It may not reflect all experiences, but it deserves our attention.

Wrong Side of Heaven (excerpt)
— Five Finger Death Punch

I spoke to god today, and she said that she’s ashamed.
What have I become, what have I done?
I spoke to the devil today, and he swears he’s not to blame.
And I understood, cuz I feel the same.
Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven,
and the righteous side of hell …
I heard from god today,
and she sounded just like me.
What have I done, and who have I become.
I saw the devil today, and he looked a lot like me.
I looked away, I turned away!
Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell …
I’m not defending, downward descending,
falling further and further away!
I’m closer EVERYDAY!
I’m getting closer every day, to the end.
The end, The end, the end,
I’m getting closer EVERYDAY!
Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell …


Becoming Wise

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. ― Aristotle

Music is … A higher revelation than all Wisdom & Philosophy. ― Ludwig van Beethoven

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. ― Jimi Hendrix

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. ― Jalaluddin Rumi

Turn your wounds into wisdom. ― Oprah Winfrey

We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ― Joseph Campbell

Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes. ― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

In this life we are to become heaven so that God might find a home here. — Meister Eckhart  

The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise. ― Maya Angelou

How do we remain faithful to our own spiritual imagination and not betray what we know in our own bodies? The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. — Terry Tempest Williams, Leap

On Foolishness

Before God we are all equally wise and equally foolish. ― Albert Einstein

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. ― William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. ― Leo Buscaglia

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. ― Socrates

You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm. ― Colette

Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom. ― Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters

It’s a dangerous business … going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to. ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Love is wise; hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet. ― Bertrand Russell


Beyond Patriotism and Public Displays of Appreciation:
Connecting with Veterans

The moral obligation to know our veterans: A TedX Talk by Mike Haynie, recommended by Rev Gail’s colleague: Rev Brendan Moore. “In 2005, Brandon became an Active Duty Army Chaplain at Fort Bragg, NC, where he served and deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division. From 2008-2012 he served and deployed as a Special Forces Chaplain.” He served three tours in Iraq.

 

Rev Brendan also posted a link to this music video “Wrong Side of Heaven” by Five Finger Death Punch (see lyrics above). Brendan says “the words to the song, with various images of war on the homefront and battlefront … messages about the needs that Veterans have,” reflects the feelings of many veterans who served alongside him in Iraq. He asks, “What feeling do you have from watching the video and reading the lyrics to this song?” Rev Brendan says, “Admittedly mine are mixed, but I am provoked and challenged. We must connect, care, and communicate in deeper and more profound ways. The song “Wrong Side of Heaven” gives voice to the feelings many have. The truth is that it is a reality that many are living, now.”

We were once a part of something bigger than ourselves. We were once brothers and sisters in a cause. We need to find each other, take care of each other, in the small things. In the everyday things. We can’t wait for the public to understand. — David Wyckoff, veteran

Those of us who have worn the uniform and stood on the line plead with our fellow civilians to notice us, hear us, talk with us. We are a better nation when that happens. — Veteran


Wisdom & Foolishness in Times of Conflict
If you fear nothing, then you are not brave. You are merely too foolish to be afraid. ― Laurell K. Hamilton, Skin Trade

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

If there really had been a Mercutio, and if there really were a Paradise, Mercutio might be hanging out with teenage Vietnam draftee casualties now, talking about what it felt like to die for other people’s vanity and foolishness. ― Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Hocus Pocus

[Y]ou [man] are fool enough, it seems, to dare to war with [woman=] me, when for your faithful ally you might win me easily. ― Aristophanes, Lysistrata

One of the greatest evils is the foolishness of a good man. For the giving man to withhold helping someone in order to first assure personal fortification is not selfish, but to elude needless self-destruction; martyrdom is only practical when the thought is to die, else a good man faces the consequence of digging a hole from which he cannot escape, and truly helps no one in the long run. ― Mike Norton, Just Another War Story


A Veteran (excerpt)Reginald Gibbons
My father came down not killed
from among others, killers or killed,
for whom he’d worn a uniform,
and he lived a long afterward,
a steady man on the flattest of plains.
I called after him many times, surprised
when I heard the catch in my own voice.
He didn’t know how to find the solace
of listening to someone else speak of
what he’d seen and survived.
He himself closed his own
mouth against his own words.
In the wrong sequence, his spirit,
then his mind, and last his body crossed over …

The War Works HardDunya Mikhail
How magnificent the war is! How eager and efficient!  . . .
The war continues working, day and night.
It inspires tyrants to deliver long speeches,
awards medals to generals and themes to poets.
It contributes to the industry of artificial limbs,
provides food for flies, adds pages to the history books,
achieves equality between killer and killed,
teaches lovers to write letters, accustoms young women to waiting,
fills the newspapers with articles and pictures,
builds new houses for the orphans,
invigorates the coffin makers, gives grave diggers a pat on the back
and paints a smile on the leader’s face.
The war works with unparalleled diligence!
Yet no one gives it a word of praise.

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