Wise men? Wise wo(men). It’s from a-long-time-ago and translated in a time when men (thought they) ruled the world. The English language is very male in many ways, but I’ll save those thoughts for another day… Point is, we all need to make space in our minds and lives to really think, to ponder. Life flashes passed and how often do we dedicate ourselves to the things that really matter, to us, our path in this earthly existence and beyond, to our growth, to our understanding of life and engagement in what it is all about, in how to cope, how to set our minds at rest, to be stiller, to be more peaceful. Our minds churn away under the surface whatever we are doing, we need the sustenance of contemplation and symbolism or we will be unhappy and our waters forever rippled. How complex life is, like this tangle of branches, how beautiful a clear reflection. I long for clarity.
Like the waters of the lake my mind takes on the energy of the world. It is restless, it is full, brimming with thoughts, with interests and ideas, with anxiety about a hundred things and more, with a layer of fuzz from staring at screens and such unnatural things, and the chronic health conditions I have that make things so hard to wade through. It is full of determination to survive and to try, to succeed, bad habits, strong emotions, and the painful realities I suppress thinking of but, as in our collective consciousness, that loom large, such as global warming, aging and worries about family. There are useless pieces of information recently absorbed and soon to be discarded, mundane thoughts, as well as existential thoughts, constant analysis, rationalising and self-reassurances, mingled with scraps of recent dreams, novels and films, memories that resurface before plunging back into my subconscious (I wouldn’t want to dwell in there!). This battle against chaos leads me often to prioritise less important things over truly nurturing myself, over looking after myself, over growing intellectually and spiritually, and I think this is the nature of the mind. It is in love with distraction. Oh to fall in love with seeking truth.
We must carve out the habit of spending time alone, away from technology, and in good company, truly reflecting on what life means to us. And looking into such sayings and wisdom as this is a great place to start. To me it is about the cycle of life, the rich spiritual symbolism of nature, about hope, and the importance of turning the great tool that is our minds, in conjunction with our hearts, to thinking. Without this we are weak and in this life we need to be strong.
What does it mean to you?