Finding Your Own Answers.
When I was a young person I often would ask my parents or my teachers how to spell a word, or to define the meaning of a word. More often than not, I was admonished to get the dictionary and look it up! This frustrated me to no end because I already had told the grown up I did not know how to spell it! I was then told instructed to sound out the first few letters and go from there to look it up. I would go off in a huff instead and try to find someone else to ask. It was easier to get the answer from someone else!
When I went back to college in 1995 to work on my Master’s degree I had been out of school for many years. It was then I realized how much easier it was to find information I was researching and was totally astounded! Technology had taken over the academic world. In my undergraduate years I had to use a library card file and it took hours to find anything of value. Libraries carried “The Readers Guide to Periodicals” to look up old magazines for use as sources and then had to ask the librarian to go get these dusty old resources from the stacks in the cellar of the library. More often than not, the magazine was missing, or did not contain what we thought. The energy expended to get the information by both parties was often unrewarded.
As a graduate student, I was now given a plethora of choices to obtain information and tools that made some of the work instantaneous. All around me I heard complaints from younger students that it took too darn long to research anything and that they wanted to be given the information without any work on their part. I on the other and, was in a mystical state, finding the search for the answers almost as interesting as the assignment. I was given the opportunity to make meaning out of not only a research subject, but the process of finding meaning in the construction of the work.
Now, I offer my students the opportunity to construct meaning in their papers by creating meaning in their lives with what they have learned. They are given a free option of choosing a creative piece of work in order to ascertain what reading meant the most to them. Most of the time, they have no idea what to do! I tell them what the guidelines are and then I ask them to: Find it out for yourself. Look it up. Think about it. Figure it out for yourself! Have fun!!!
“But…”they whine…”what if I am WRONG”??? We are all conditioned to fear being wrong about anything these days. We do not speak up, we fear reaching out and more often than not we find ourselves wanting answers from someone else. It is almost as though we are afraid to access our own intelligence. We want to be told what to do. It is easier that way. Then we do not need to think. We just need to do. We are not responsible then if we are wrong either. That is what we were told what to do after all.
In his book: “Intelligence”, Osho reminds us that we miss utilizing our own selves as a resource in the hurry to get the answer from someone else. We miss out on using our own inborn intelligence because we are obsessed with the idea of right and wrong answers. I can attest to having been caught up in this way of thinking at times. But honestly most of the times I have come to wrong conclusions or decisions about something have been powerful growth opportunities for me. There is no wrong, there is only learning. After all, if we do not risk trying something we end up staying stagnant in our growth, and we then have things happen “to us” not “by us”, so we must grow one way or another, one as victim, the other as creator!
The Internet has made it easy for us to take shortcuts to find answers to things. We don’t have to rely on our own wisdom, we can go to search engines to do the work for us. But we lose a significant part of our life’s mission. To learn and grow with our own minds and thoughts is to attain wisdom. And sharing that knowledge is the key, as long as it is not forced, or with the expectation of leading someone to not come to their own conclusions about how they lead their lives.
The Buddha admonished others to not follow anyone and to be a light unto ones-self. We often get so frustrated because we are in a hurry to enlighten ourselves. We need to finish up one thing or another in order to move onto the next thing: Degrees, jobs, lives. We spend so much time projecting ourselves into the future, we forget to nourish ourselves in the moment. We ARE enlightened already! We have the intelligence to forge our own paths, but we sometimes do not have the courage to use it.
Osho reminds us: “Whenever you forget all about the past and future and the present moment takes possession of you, when you are utterly possessed by the moment, you will feel rejuvenated. Why? The split disappears, the split created by the ideals. You are one in that moment, integrated.”
I have experienced the transcendence of which Osho writes when I have focused only on the now, the today moment. There is an energy in the presence of the present. There is also a release of a need to control anything, and an understanding that control is not possible anyway. Life will be what it will be…all in perfect order.
The Buddha defines wisdom as living in the light of your own consciousness and defines foolishness as following or imitating others, according to Osho. Allow yourself the freedom to choose your own destiny, your own responses and integration of your own intelligent wisdom to define what your life will manifest. And be the light unto yourself in your own world.