You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘wisdom’ tag.

I seldom know when a critical message will pounce upon me like a rambunctious toddler gripping my knees with gummy hands. One such message, “Be fiercely authentic,” was printed on the underside of an aluminum foil wrapper of a Dove milk chocolate. The sweetness quickly dissolved upon my tongue, but not the message, delivered in the imperative voice.

Such rigorous self-discipline is not new to us. Only girded with honesty and humility is it possible to unearth shadow material—instincts gone amuck—lodged in our unconscious and distorting our thoughts and choices, leaving mayhem in our wake. Instead, it’s about learning who we really are, and with this self-knowledge serving our God, others, and ourselves. But few bother to go there, especially today—too arduous. Yet past cultures deemed otherwise.

The ancient Greek aphorism, “Know thyself” was one of three maxims inscribed on the forecourt of the third site of the Apollo Temple in Delphi Greece (mid fifth century BCE), the god of music, light, healing, harmony, and oracles. Such was also incorporated in Aeschylus’s play Prometheus Bound (424 BCE), in Socrates’s history Memorabilia (371 BCE), in the Dialogues of Plato (347 BCE). Numerous poets, authors and playwrights, including William Shakespeare referenced this self-knowledge, essential to our humanness. Theologians Heidegger and Thomas Merton also spoke eloquently of authenticity.

I still marvel at my 1998 Grecian tour to Apollo’s Temple with its discovery of the maxim, “Know Thyself,” shadowed in the afternoon sun—a maxim that under-girds the practice of the Twelve Steps. I’m still practicing …

The swoosh of frigid air within a hearty welcome jump-started my cane-waking as we pulled open the automatic door at the Y. It was almost too much, my helper supporting my upper arm, until steadied.

Seated upon a plastic chair in the lobby, her thin arms leaning against her housekeeping trolley, she had belted, “Hi! Back again, I see! Good for you!”—the words still echoed down the corridor, her image fixed in my heart: her wide toothless grin, her round eyes accustomed to seeing deeply, her pixie-braided-head jiggling with delight, her bosom creating peaks and valleys beneath her blue uniform shirt. Veined hands still bore the imprint of hard work, from all times.

In a split second, she had revealed her seasoned spirit of having been tossed around Life’s washing machine—when it worked.

I will not forget.

We come from God and we return to God.

This truth resonates within the bedrock of my psyche, as well as within the Judaic, Christian, and Islamic scriptures; each glimpses the mystery of creation and orients us toward wisdom in which we discover our true identity: Precious God breathes within us, until our final exhalation.

In many, that orientation was obliterated during Wednesday’s desacration of the U. S. Capitol. In its place, obsessive hatred was king for those dark hours, its aftermath still bleeding among foreign capitols around the world. The crisis continues… 

We continue praying …

Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: