It tells you everything.
“Wisdom tells me nothing. Love tells me everything. Between the two, my life flows” — Tara Brach
Love took me to that quote by Tara Brach. When I heard it, I knew I had to explore it — Listen to it here.
What is wisdom? Out of the many definitions I searched, I believe this one to be the most accurate — “the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight”.
What’s important to see here is that wisdom is not one thing. Being wise doesn't mean you're good or knowledgeable at just one thing. You would have had to have lived. Do I mean until a certain amount of years? Am I looking towards an arbitrary number and then, bingo! You’re now wise? No!
One thing I know to be true for developing one's self (personal development), is the ability to look back so you can go forward. Not only does success leave clues, but you’ll find that some of the wisest people on earth didn’t live that long. There is a counterargument to be had that the wisest people on earth actually lived the longest on earth. I am not disputing that, it is contextual for sure, but there are a few people that have left this earth way too soon and left us with some of the greatest wisdom that we as a human race could inherit.
Jesus died when he was 33.
Dr Martin Luther King Died when he was 39.
Ann Frank was 16 when she died.
John Lennon was 40 years young when he died.
These historical figures all have 2 eery things in common, they were all killed and they all projected love as their way of bringing the world together.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Dr Martin Luther King once wrote a handwritten letter in the mid-’60s with this profound thought — “Love is the greatest force in the universe. It is the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. He who loves is a participant in the being of God.”
Ann Frank was given her now infamous diary as a gift when she was 13. Somewhere between then and her untimely death, she wrote “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit” ( in my opinion this is another way of saying, unconditional love).
John Lennon wrote “All you need is love” in 1967.
Before the world of social media, all of these spiritual beings had to deal with social justice warriors, cancel culture, haters and trolls way before they were a thing, but they rose above it with the power of love. The ultimate sacrifice was given to leave a paradoxical message to the world that love can save us.
As we’ve asked “what is wisdom”, let’s balance this out and ask “what is love”? There’s no out-and-out definition that captures my attention to pull it on here, but I came across “an intense feeling of deep affection”, “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties”, “the constant tickle of contentment,” and a definition that nearly took the top spot “Knowing that everything’s actually ok.”
For me, love is spirit. So, what is spirit? We have to go back to the 13th-century medieval Latin ecclesiastical (relating to the Christian church) word spiritualist, which pertained to breath, breathing, wind or air.
Love is what we are, what nature is, its what we are made of. The Foo Fighters, in case you didn’t know, are one of the biggest and best rock bands in the world (in my humble opinion) and the song speaks about love, but you would never realise, until now…
So I can breathe you in
Hold you in
I know you’ve always been
Love is spirit.
Wisdom alone cannot save your life and on the flip side, neither can a heart filled with love, but we continue to live and if we compare the world as it is now to the atrocities, wars, plagues, totalitarian regimes, and spiteful hateful figures that used to rule the world in times passed, we must pay attention to the words spoken by Tara Brach — “Between the two, our lives flow”.
In essence, between wisdom and love, there is the virtue of temperance, also known as moderation. Is love telling me you must live for both? If so, then it’s telling me everything I need to know right?
My insatiable thirst for wisdom could only be quenched by my overspilling love. My balance is out of whack*, so the flow of life introduced me to the spiritual workings of the fascinating Tara Brach so that I can continue my journey of personal development in spirit with one of the wisest men (if not the wisest man that ever lived) Socrates, so I can always be sure I am not living an unexamined life.
*Interesting bit of knowledge to add to your wisdom — Out of whack is also the opposite of the now-obsolete “fine whack”, which meant “in good condition” during the nineteenth century.