Thursday, August 30, 2012

seeking wisdom

If the search for wisdom were on anyone's agenda, and if that wisdom were roughly defined as an effort to actualize some wider and more peaceful way in which to address current circumstances, then I think it would be worth considering -- considering, not forcing the issue -- that everyone is already immeasurably wise, already at home in the home they seek.

This is hardly a new observation but I think it bears repeating. It is not some pious poppycock or sales pitch that encourages parishioners to put a couple of bucks in the plate. It has precisely squat to do with anything other than fact, and fact is far more interesting than the ornate fictions of faith or belief.

The alcoholic may seek a "geographic cure," thinking, "Oh, if only I lived in Colorado, everything would be different." Likewise the spiritual aspirant might long to live in a monastery where things are more peaceful and focused and serene. Each is destined for disappointment because, of course, the uncertainties of the heart and the blandishments of ancient habit are not diminished by geography.

And those seeking wisdom may acknowledge the wisdom of not relying on anything so superficial as a change of address ... and feel themselves the wiser therefore.

Yup -- fucked up is fucked up, whether in Connecticut or Colorado. Moving is not the cure.

But what is not so readily conceded is that the search for wisdom is not that much different from thinking that Colorado or a monastery holds the key. Things will be better, wider, more at peace ... and maybe everyone gets some new clothes. A lot of mental shoe leather can be worn down and worn out in the search for wisdom. The nudge-nudge-wink-wink of foolishness (moving to better surroundings) is invariably accompanied by the nudge-nudge-wink-wink of wisdom. Without taking a single step or removing a single zit refraining from a single fart or recombing a single hair or revising a single thought or restraining a single tear ... home is still home and wisdom rocks gently by the warming fire. And it is not some fake-o wisdom, some wisdom of relief or surcease. It is just what was there before the search for wisdom began.

Same in Connecticut.

Same in Colorado.

The same ... but different.

PS. If you wait long enough, someone is bound to agree with you and anoint you as "wise" ... at which point the whole wisdom-seeking schtick can begin all over again.


  1. Dear Adam, you make it sound like going to a monastery is useless, but isn't training useful. And in fact my practice was helped a lot when I did much more intensive practice over a period of time. How could you discount it as neither here nor there is helpful?

  2. Article of potential interest:

  3. Dear "Anonymous" -- I did not say that going to a monastery was useless. I did suggest that going to a monastery with the notion that things would somehow be 'different' was probably a non-starter.