My Cup Overfloweth

Drink, Beverage, Glass, Splash, Ice CubeUseful, 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:

SHARE-YOUR-WORLD

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.

Questions

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:

Laptop, Woman, Education, Study, YoungIt 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.

Book, Live, Knowledge, Secret, WisdomThe 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.

Student, Professor, Uni, Books, StudyI 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.

Adventure, Blonde Hair, Exploring, GirlI 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.

bitHaving 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.

Girls, Woman, Blowing, Stars, GlitterMany 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.

Water Fight, Children, Water, PlayLong 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.

dfhgdsfdaflFor 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.

jdafhadjI 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!


Gratitude

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.

famp

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.

11 thoughts on “My Cup Overfloweth

    1. It could be supposed that some revel in unhappiness as much as others strongly prefer joy.

      Such is free will and self determination,

      Perhaps at times, it’s like those two travellers who are looking for a town to move to and both stop at the same train station and ask the station master what the town is like. He gives them both exactly the same response (What was it like in your old town? Well, you will probably find this town is very similar) leading one traveller to conclude the town is dreadful and the other to conclude the town is a friendly cheery place.

      Some of our experience of life and the world is based not just on external factors but on our own perception. Having said that, there are external factors that make their mark on our enjoyment of life no matter what kind of disposition we have personally cultivated.

      At times I gather the impression that some find a strange sort of enjoyment in woe. I try not to worry myself too much about that. I am one who prefers happiness on the whole, however, I certainly do have my moments, and my days when the clouds build up and make me a little gloomy. With some rest and healthful recreation, those clouds tend to roll away as quickly as they descended. I cannot imagine I would be as productive if the clouds stayed around for too long. They have a habit of making me want to stay in bed all day just to pretend the world outside is not there! When actually, it is interacting with people that gives me the deepest joys.

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      1. I ask myself this constantly now especially because of something like the environment. When there is an easy route to do something (say, just to chuck a wrapper into a gewneral bin) but instead we are happy to put things into different bins to help with recycling. That’s a noddy example but it does show me that there is an idea of “doing the right thing” which runs alongside happiness. Course, the easiest thing is when the two align.

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        1. I think that most people want to do what is good. We sometimes unwittingly cause harm. I remember asking my workmate (who believes in reincarnation and that one will have pay-back in the next life for one’s actions now) who or what sets the standards for us to be judged by. Most of us agree on major issues. But I gave her a sort of noddy example. I mentioned that 20+ years ago a lot of us started to drink more water because we were told it was good for us. Many of us went to great efforts to give our bodies 3 litres a day, buying bottled water to do what we had been told was one of the best things for our health. Then a few years ago, it was pointed out to us that this excessive consumption of single use plastics was poisoning beautiful sea creatures. Hopefully we have stopped buying single use water bottles, but have bought ourselves reusable containers. Goldfinch laughs at that example because he said we should have known all along that we were doing the wrong thing. But I think that we are sometimes like children in that we are influenced by what we are being told is good for us. We saw the adverts connecting bottled water to looking after our health. Now we are devastated that we bought hundreds if not thousands of bottles over the years and they now pose a serious threat to innocent creatures.

          I think we have the yearning to do what is good, especially as per our extraordinary planet and it’s wildlife, but we need better guidance so that we don’t cause damage.

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  1. I think the value (or lack thereof) of education really comes down to what one chooses to do (or not do) with it, rather than it being inherently good or bad. For me, the most valuable thing I got out of postsecondary education was the ability to critically evaluate information more effectively, and that’s served me very well throughout my adult life.

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    1. Very true. I am all for continual learning, but not just to acquire letters after one’s name, or acclaim. Any education that assists a person to evaluate information effectively has to be a huge asset.

      I saw an unbalanced attitude towards education in some of those who came under the influence of my grandfather. I saw a disconnect as some of my relatives pursued to be regarded as the top of their fields at any cost. They lost balance Ashley. They became more isolated in their pursuits of become experts in an “ology” of one sort of another and lost interest in family and other aspects of life. In most of my relatives I see a much more balanced way of life, one that is healthful, purposeful and joyful. But if you met some of the family who have gone into politics or other demanding careers, they seem to think that most of our family are “simple” and uncultured. The “simple” side of the family have less materially but seem the happiest and most generous. There is a division in the family, and in general the demarcation falls in the same place each time. But everyone makes the effort to keep in touch with relatives who don’t seem to think we have any sense between our ears. Because that to us is what family means. You just keep giving, and don’t worry about the response or lack of response.

      I wrote my SHARE-YOUR-WORD post last night just after we arrived back – I was a bit of a sleepy-head. I copied my intelligence/wisdom answer from another post I wrote a while ago. But I think the main point was wisdom is the more desirable of the two…but we need some accurate intelligence to be able to develop wisdom. So I guess one cannot possess wisdom without some intelligence.

      I think I am still rather sleepy-headed today to be honest. I have been doing laundry and trying to make the most of a day of my own before Jack comes back from his flat tonight.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much Mel for Sharing Your Beautiful World once again! All your answers were so well thought out! You obviously live a very balanced and happy life, full of joy and surprises, and it’s so wonderful that you share it with us! Have a fabulous weekend!

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    1. I had some excellent examples. As a teenager I could see the facial expressions, hear the tone, see the relationships of people older me. I could see who was clearly getting the most out of life…those who were giving the most of themselves without thought of gain.

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