By Jonathan Hilton
One of the things that I have become sure of, is that I used to know a whole lot more about life than I do today.
This is not to say that I feel like I am becoming less intelligent, it simply means that as you gain more experience, one attains a certain level of wisdom which unfortunately causes you to know that what you have believed most of your life about people and life has mostly been erroneous.
What I used To Think
A few years ago I believed that I knew all that I needed to know, about relationships, people, finances, politics, or religion. Any topic you wanted to talk about I was secure in my beliefs of how the world worked and not looking to test those parameters in any way. I was happy and satisfied, knowing that I was so very right, and intelligent.
A funny thing happens as you get older, like old paint on the side of a building, the ideas you carry that once used to show such surety, slowly begin to display signs of wear and cracking. At first you can just ignore it, but once you start to look at things closely you realize that what you knew before is not in any way correct. Then the questions come, and you have to find the answers.
Answers Found, Not Answers at All
Finding an answer does not end the quest, it merely leads you to ask other questions that need to be answered. This cycle continues until you realize that as you answer the many questions you have, still more questions come, and soon you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you know much less than you did yesterday.
I believe it would be helpful to give you a demonstration of this process in action. The first question I ever had was, “Why does bad stuff happen to me?” That was it. I had experienced a string of bad luck, poor choices and unpopular decisions. I couldn’t fathom why this happened to me. Here is the growth.
The old me would think that I certainly didn’t deserve this bad things because I was basically a good person, and I never did anyone any harm, so why am I being cursed? That often turned into a wave of self pity and selfishness which was unproductive, harmful and just plain painful.
What I found to be the Answer
Life is full of experiences, some may be more pleasant to experience than others but they all have merit and are designed to teach you something. If you are continually experiencing the same type of thing, perhaps you are just to dense to grasp the lesson. This was profound, and not surprisingly those situations stopped occurring.
The questions that came next were predictable I think: Is there a God? Why do bad things happen? What happens when you die? How should I think? How should you treat others? What is the secret of being happy? What does love mean? etc.
All of these I am currently working on, but the most mind boggling question has been, who am I? If you asked me ten years ago there would be a short easy answer, based on my job. But when you strip your occupation and titles of family away, what are you? What makes you uniquely and individually you?
Still Not That Smart
I do not have the full answer to this yet, because I am not wise enough, but I have high hopes that someday soon I will be.
So as I have searched for answers I have found many questions. My journey continues to display clearly and concretely that I know much less today than I did yesterday!
I am sure that my knowledge will continue to shrink as I get to know the world and the universe better.