It’s been a while since I last wrote. Apologies. I have been doing more reading than writing of late. I think my curiosity just needed some feeding 🙂 It was feeling a bit starved and out of sorts. Anyway, the other day I came across the following line in “A year of miracles” by Marianne Williamson…
I was fascinated. So much so that this statement has been rolling around in my head for days now. I have also been engaged in an argument with a friend about what education really is. It’s like the universe really wants me to give this some thought. Who am I to say no. So here goes…
According to the Oxford dictionary, “enlighten” means to “Give (someone) greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation” and to “educate” means to “Give intellectual, moral, and social instruction to (someone), typically at a school or university.” Enlightenment is clearly a deeper state of learning than education. Okay…
I guess for many, education is costly and feels unattainable. It largely teaches you skills and to think critically. Einstein said that “Education is not the learning of facts, but training the mind to think.” Society places a high value on those qualifications that you attain through education so they are very aspirational for many. The reality is though that you can walk out of university with tons of knowledge but very little wisdom. I should know. That definitely describes me on the day I walked out of tech with my food tech diploma in hand. Once I got to start using some of my skills (I say some because I have never worked a day in my life as a Food Technologist) , and after many conversations with a few older and wiser people, I came to understand that there was more to life and I didn’t really have a clue. I also realised that the successful and wise people knew things that I could only learn from talking to them or, reading books that they have written or, watching interviews with them on YouTube or TV. They don’t know it all but they definitely know more than me and they never stop learning. Thankfully, they are also more than happy to share their knowledge and pearls of wisdom.
So wisdom clearly has that extra layer. Wisdom is having the knowledge and knowing where, when and how to use your knowledge effectively to create a win-win situation for all involved. You don’t need a university education to have wisdom. In fact, you don’t need a university education to be successful. I’m not saying don’t get one, but there are many examples of true entrepreneurs who never bothered and are worth billions today. The late Steve Jobs and Richard Branson come to mind. It’s still not enlightenment though. Enlightenment is on another level.
Yesterday I happened upon a video of Oprah Winfrey being interviewed by Stanford students. You can watch it here. Light bulbs started flashing in my head…I felt like I had a better grasp of what enlightenment is. The video is long (aprox. an hour) but worth the watch. Oprah, the late Maya Angelou and the Deepack Chopra are examples of people, who I believe, seek enlightenment. They all have several traits in common:
- They are authentic.
- They practice gratitude.
- They have used their life experiences to gain wisdom. (They have definitely not walked through life with their blinkers on)
- They believe in a Higher Power. They listen to – and surrender to It. They are fearless because of their faith.
- They have learnt to let go of that which is not working for them and have learned to embrace what does, even if it flies in the face of convention.
- They are not attached to their filters of the world.
- They often self-reflect in order to keep growing and learning.
- Most importantly (to me at least), they have found their purpose and are constantly finding new ways to help others achieve the same.
I could go on and on but I am sure you get the point. I suspect that ultimately, we are all working towards achieving a level of enlightenment in our own way. The path does appear to be relatively linear i.e knowledge to wisdom to enlightenment, well at least for adults. Children appear to be pretty enlightened already and then we cloak them with knowledge and filters that dims their little lights for a few years. 😦
All best of on your search for enlightenment. I will leave you with one last quote that really resonated with me while researching this topic.
If you are reading this is, it probably means you have made it to the end. 🙂 If you enjoyed it, please like and share. Oh and don’t forget to follow me if you would like to see more in the future.