Useful, healthful, playful, joyful, grateful and purposeful. I have to say, I really enjoyed the questions provided in the SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post from Melanie the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. Here is Melanie’s post:
Jack and I just arrived back in London after spending most of the week with my family. It was wonderful. I am sure I will share more of the loveliness I enjoyed this week, but I found ways to weave some of the joys of this week into my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post.
It’s been a very special week for me…and now I have a weekend ahead full of working on charity projects with Jack (still planning and training remotely before it is safe to gather volunteers in the same location). I love that we get to chat with so many fabulous volunteers, who are an absolute tonic to associate with, even if it is only online at the moment.
Is intelligence or wisdom more useful?
I knew that I had answered this question before. I found this answer in a post I published a while back:
It might be fair to say that you can’t really have the latter without having at least a little bit of the former. But as for which is more useful, I would have thought most would agree that wisdom is finer and more useful.
Generally, I associate intelligence as the accumulation of information or knowledge. Computers and machines are said to possess a form of “intelligence”. However, since there is an abundance of false information, false knowledge riddled with inaccuracies – the amassing of information and knowledge is not necessarily a positive thing.
A person can have little knowledge of the trillions of subjects out there, but they may have a little true and accurate knowledge that is far more empowering and enriching than the abundance of nonsense that has been published.
The acquisition of knowledge is the start of learning, I suppose. Yet the ability to discern between true and false is of vital import. Understanding the information one has acquired and how it relates to the foundation of true and eternal principles is the next key step to learning. This ability helps one to reject information that clearly does not fit the pattern of truth.
But beyond that is what could be termed the end of learning: wisdom. Correctly applying the knowledge and understanding one now possesses. It is wisdom that shows true evidence of superior learning, not the possession of a vast amount of information.
I was talking to a colleague recently. I think my colleague is curious about some of my decisions in life. I explained that I had choices. I was achieving A grades throughout school. I come from an academic family. My older siblings and cousins had been to renowned universities and were immersed in lucrative careers. I was the rebel perhaps, although I did not have a rebellious spirit.
I chose to prioritise unpaid volunteer work over the opportunities within the commercial world. I have rejected all sorts of notions this “world” promotes. I have no wish to get on to the property ladder. The concept of a mortgage is baffling to me. Why would I enslave myself like that? I have no wish to become a slave to a business intent on making profit.
I have lived a rich and rewarding life on a shoestring budget. Working as a volunteer has opened up opportunities to me that I would not have had if I had pursued my own material comforts.
Some people make a snap judgement when they learn that I rejected higher education. This is a decision I have never regretted. I saw what higher education did to some of my family members. Those who pursued academia have not ended up with the more balanced education and practical training that the rest of our family opted for. I have never stopped learning. I am a long term student who is fascinated by many subjects. I read a huge amount of material and I exercise discernment as I read. There are so many opposing theories and philosophies, many of them a mix of half-truths and conjecture.
Having a clear grasp of basic truths is a huge aid to sorting through the never ending “information” overload that we are bombarded with.
I think wisdom today includes a knowledge and experience in how people behave. Wisdom is reflected in how you react to the way others treat you. If someone had poor relationships with others, I would tend to question their “wisdom”.
I also believe wisdom is also manifest by the choices and decisions someone makes, their habits and lifestyle. When someone appears to be unable to look after themselves properly, I find it hard to credit them with wisdom no matter how many “qualifications” and “certificates” they may profess to have.
There are so many other areas that show whether we are truly wise: how we use time, how we spend money, our attitude to debt, how we view and treat our possessions, how easily swayed we are by sensationalism and propaganda, our abilities to reason and consider what may contradict some of our treasured beliefs.
Some seem to be focused on the acquisition of more and more conflicting, confusing, and capricious information. Others appear to have a tight hold of basic truths and show they have developed discernment, understanding and wisdom.
Many people are pursuing things that do not bring true happiness. In fact, this world is designed to encourage people to pursue vain, empty goals. Is it wise to conform to a system that pats you on the back if you pass it’s tests? Follow it’s goals? Define success by it’s standards? It is alarming how many people are seeking things that will soon be gone forever!
All that glitters is not gold. So much of what this world promotes as “success” is vain and empty. Many find that out too late. Wisdom is better than gold! It is better than the goals of this world.
In fact…just to add a little to my original post…I now think that wisdom involves rejecting the “intelligence” this world professes to have. The sum of it’s intelligence for centuries has been the aspiration of being great, or greater than others. The most “enlightened”, the most “educated”, the most apparently “civilized” and “developed” of nations have made vast profit from oppressing others.
I feel very proud of my nieces who just found out their GCSE results….wait for it… all A*s. Across the board. What are they doing next? They have both enrolled as full time volunteers. Why? Because they want to do something that counts. They will work part-time to support themselves and spend most of their time giving of themselves freely to help others. Rather than being part of a world that seeks to amass more wealth, living simply and working to help others who are struggling. Their decision. I am proud of them because they have already proved wise.
How important is play in living a healthy and fulfilling life?
Short answer: it is an essential part of a balanced life. It is hard to keep working without knowing you will have chance to play and let off some steam. If you don’t make time to play, you will struggle to remain balanced and maintain enjoyment of work and life.
Long answer: I could answer this in so many ways. But the first thought that came to mind was this past week in the north of England. Our family fun involved lots of running round, playing games, dancing and laughing. Ages represented on this occasion were seven months (due to be born in two months time) right through to seventy-two years of age.
I cannot speak for all of my family, but I know that for me, that time will sustain me for a long time when I am back at work.
We all need some kind of recreation, to recreate ourselves. There’s no doubt about it, a balanced healthy life involves work, rest and play. The benefits to every aspect of our physical, emotional, mental and social health are tremendous.
Is happiness just chemicals flowing through your brain or something more?
I normally have a lot to say on the subject of happiness. But because I am sleepy right now, I just typed into my Google search bar “what is happiness?” Google came up with a lot of references, but right at the top was an article called “The Recipe For True Happiness”. I am so glad it did. What a brilliant article.
I guess the only reference it made to “chemicals flowing through the brain” was right at the very end when in a footnote it mentioned that researchers report “that positive, optimistic people have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to suppress the immune system“.
Prior to that, the article contained ingredients that are an essential part of the recipe for happiness. They included “work, play, time with family and friends, and spiritual activities [and] also more subtle factors, such as attitudes, desires, and goals in life“. The article contained wise advice regarding our view of money and pleasures, it discussed how generosity and gratitude can contribute to our happiness, and concluded by promoting unselfish love and hope.
For me personally, and I think that when it comes to our physical and emotional health, many of us are in a position where we can look at our own habits physically and emotionally and identify areas we could address, I think a good place to start is looking at our attitude to money, responsibility, relationships, giving, balance, and our outlook in general. I normally find that if I take some time to work on any of those ingredients in the recipe for happiness that I am missing, I normally do feel better.
When it comes to chemicals in our brain affecting our happiness…I am too tired for a comprehensive explanation, but I do think that people can suffer with emotional illness because factors that have led to (please forgive me if this is inaccurate terminology) “an imbalance in chemicals” within our brain. I work within the NHS and I am familiar with many patients who have prolonged mental health challenges and many of those patients benefit from medication.
I think that options when it comes to addressing chronic symptoms of depression or other emotional health challenges are personal and should be researched by an individual and their closest supporters, so I prefer not to endorse any particular treatments myself. Mainly because I do think we are all different, and what works for one person, may not work for another.
One thing I am sure of…we were meant to live a very different life to the life many of us live under a greedy political economic system that has an insatiable lust for profit no matter the cost. But this system is inadequate, which is why it is falling apart. No fear, what will replace it is going to be so much better.
I heard a song a little while ago that made me laugh. I laughed because the lyrics are pretty nuts!
Feel free to share some photos, an image, a meme, a story or incident or a poem that helps you feel grateful.
Family!!! I had such a great time with my nearest and dearest this past week.
I love being a part of an empire of around two hundred relatives, most of whom are passionate about volunteering. (Some of our family chose to pursue wealth and acclaim, but most of us rejected those empty pursuits). We work part-time for money and pull together when times are tough. We love life. We love work, especially unpaid work. We love creation. We love the prospect of a clean earth, a healthy happy human family who look after our beautiful planet and it’s creatures well.
One of the things I loved seeing is how my relatives are keeping in touch with their neighbours and other volunteers who are local to them through phone calls, emails and zoom meetings. They were in daily communication with volunteers who are in their seventies and eighties and have been making sure they have everything they need and a giggle each and every day.