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If you would be wise open first your eyes;
Your ears next, and last of all your mouth
That your words may be words of wisdom….

Watch TV pundits long enough and you’ll notice that many seem to shoot their mouths off first and learn the facts later. It makes for some wonderful entertainment but not so much for educated decision making or an enlightened populace. Americans seem to like this way of “learning” about the world and don’t seem to care how this makes us look to others.

All of the world’s wisdom traditions valued silence for its abilities to bring small details to the surface without conscious effort; they also honored their wise elders who had seen and experienced much during their years of life. Modern “civilization” seems to worship youth before wisdom, celebrating the brashness (not to mention the looks) of ever younger men and women while at the same time reveling in their inevitable mistakes.

There are many child prodigies, geniuses at math and science or phenomenally gifted at art or music who do incredible things at amazing ages but the older masters have their worldly experiences to make their work so much richer. The exuberance of youth ripens into a quieter, more contemplative and mature experience in the more experienced practitioner.

Even if you are not a prodigy or genius or gifted in the arts or sciences a steady practice of observance over a long time can yield insights into the self which can benefit your spiritual growth and allow you to bring your hidden gifts to the surface. As we age we tend to become more contemplative; the ancient traditions considered it one of the great transitions to gradually remove ourselves from the working world and spend more time in study, as well as teach the young from our deep well of experience. Instead of fearing the aging process we should embrace it, so long as we are examining our place in the universe and working to improve our interactions with others – we can be fearful and grasp at lost youth or reduce our attachment to the past and hope for our future to remain firmly and contentedly in the present moment.

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July 2010
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