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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Edison’

Determination: Paramita #8 in our series on the 10 Paramitas

“The Gateless Gate”
The great path has no gates,
Thousands, of roads enter it.
When one passes through this gateless gate
He walks freely between heaven and earth. (Mascetti, 2001)[1]

This is life in the 21st Century.  How many of us see the thousands of roads, opportunities, challenges, joys, and frustrations and get so befuddled that we freeze up and simply stop in our tracks?  The challenge feels overwhelming, too much for us to take on, too much to think about, too much to do, and we become impotent.  And yet when we do move ahead and accept the challenge we find that we can succeed and overcome even the most demanding and mind boggling life’s situations.

Once we find that gate and have the strength and determination to pass through it we see that it wasn’t as difficult as we may have thought.  Or the reward at the other end was greater than we could have imagined.  Or if we do not succeed we find that life did not end, that failure was easier to accept than we thought, or that our desire changed and we decided that we could live without the thing, the job, the person, or the possession.  We may even have reviewed what we truly value in life and found out that it was NOT it.

Determination is something that all of the most enlightened creative  people that we recognize on this planet had—Jesus, Shakyamuni Buddha, Mohammad, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore (Founders of the Unity Church), Thomas Edison (inventor of too many things to list), Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and you. Yes, you!  You would not be reading this if you were not on your way to enlightenment or have not had some wonderful enlightening experiences through your determination to pray, meditate, or sit. Some of those experiences may have even come simply by accident. That great universal AH HA can sneak up on us at any time, and many times when we least expect it…so keep your eyes open—it just may be right here, right now!

Notice the word “light” inside the word “enlightenment.”  These people saw the light in something that was greater than them, they paid attention, and they acted on the light and thus changed the world.

And yet, sometimes we simply need to be determined to let things go, to stop pushing, trying, thinking, mulling, and running the show. As Osho wrote:

Sitting silently,
Doing nothing,
Spring comes,
And the grass grows by itself.[2]

Enlightenment is knowing when, and if, and how to do it, or NOT—to simply be determined to let go and let the spring know how to grow the grass all by itself.


[1] Mascetti, M.D., 2001, The Little Book of Zen Haiku, Koans, Sayings, NY: Fall River Press, pg.69

[2] Ibid. page 24

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Today we continue our adventure into the 10 Paramitas with Wisdom.  What is the difference between Wisdom and knowledge? The dictionary defines knowledge as understanding gained through experience or study.  Wisdom is defined as understanding of what is true, right, or lasting. Sylvia Boorstein, in her book Pay Attention for Goodness Sake, writes, “To develop Wisdom, it doesn’t matter what mind state is present.  It only matters that you know what is present (page 108).”

In ancient times Wisdom was an attribute of the feminine and was represented by Sophia.  “Sophia, the Greek translation of the Hebrew “Hochmah” is the feminine personification of Wisdom in the Pentateuch.  She is neither a goddess nor a new age creation of feminist theologians.  She was a real biblical person with more material on her in the OT (with Apocrypha) than anyone in the scriptures, except God, Job, Moses and David.”1  The great and powerful Solomon when he prayed for Wisdom knew that it came from Sophia.

Each of us has the Wisdom of Sophia right within us at every moment throughout eternity.  That is why when the dictionary defines Wisdom it does not indicate where you acquired the understanding of what is true, right, or lasting.  Wisdom is there for each of us if we just open our minds to that Divine Idea.  When my students would be studying for a big test I would always tell them that if all else failed the pencil had the answer.  They would laugh and some of them would think I had lost my mind.  And they may have been right: Lost it in the mind of Sophia.

“She is the ‘woman clothed with the sun,’ who brings the blazing light of knowledge.  Sophia is the embodiment of all wisdom, and it is she who urges us to know, to understand.  She leads the willing soul out of ignorance and blesses those who study and endeavor to know her.  In the words of Solomon: ‘I prayed and understanding was given me: I called upon God and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I loved Her above health and beauty, and chose to have Her instead of light, for the light that cometh from Her never goeth out.’  Sophia is the deepest part of ourselves–that part can grasp in an instant the mysteries of the ages.”2

There is truth in that statement about the pencil.  For Sophia lives in each of us regardless of whether we have the body of a male or a female.  “Behold that I have not laboured for myself only, but for all them that seek Wisdom.”  She holds all people sacred and will give her Wisdom to anyone who calls upon her. The Buddha lived this life that Sophia talked about each and every day.  He may not have called upon Sophia when he was sitting under the Bodhi tree seeking and finding Wisdom of the universe right within him and within everything: the stars, the sun, the moon, the universe all that is, but he found her nonetheless.

Wisdom is greater than knowledge or intellect because Wisdom comes from something well beyond knowledge or humanity, you can name it something or nothing.  Giving it a name does not lesson the power of Wisdom in the universe or in us.  But we so often overlook it.  Throughout time philosophers have tried to understand the nature of Wisdom and how to achieve it.  They saw Wisdom in the people around them even before books, Bibles, the Sutras, the internet, and talk radio!  How could that be?  Because the Wisdom is not in the pencil, the ink, or the person, Wisdom moves through us as it does through all living things. Look for Wisdom in nature, be observant, and be conscious when you walk, drive, eat, work, dance and sing. It is everywhere!  We can tap into it at any time.  We have been told, seek and you shall find.  The Buddha did and so can you!

If you take the time today to stop and ask for Wisdom in each and every situation that you are dealing with, then sit in the silence for as long as you can and simply listen–your answers will appear.  It is said that Thomas Edison would take a coin and place it in his hand, he would then lay down on a bench in his laboratory and think about the problem or the question.  He would take a nap, and when the coin fell to the ground it would wake him up.  Then he would reach for his pencil and write down whatever thoughts were there.  It was invariably the answer to his problem.  If Thomas Edison could us this technique so can you.

Meditate on Wisdom today and every day this week.  Take the time to be like Thomas Edison when you have a problem at work or at home.  Listen for the still small voice within you and then write its message down, then follow through with the ideas that have been given to you.  Let me know what Wisdom you discovered!

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