Lots of people have knowledge and information, but so few have wisdom. Some people have very little knowledge or information but for some reason seem to have wisdom anyway.
The classic example of the first type is the academic who is filled to bursting with knowledge, but is a failure at human relationships. The classic example of the second type is the granny rocking on the front porch, who never finished school, but who is someone you love to visit because she somehow always says the very thing you needed to know.
An acquaintance of mine who collects information recently told me about finding a mysterious red knotted string in his apartment, that he identified as a monk’s “prayer necklace” (that’s something I didn’t know, but he has enough knowledge to have identified it. Another person confirmed this by telling me she once saw something similar on a monk’s wrist, and I know that people who study the mystic Jewish Kabbalah often wear a red knotted string around one wrist).
This string suddenly appeared and then, just as suddenly, disappeared. I told him it was a message that there was wisdom nearby for him, if he would only take it. I somehow don’t think he will, though.
I got to thinking about how there’s wisdom all around us every day, just waiting to be grabbed up, if we will only take it. But so often we’re too busy to stop and see it, even though it may take only a moment to absorb it.
Then I realized that I could take the message of his little red string, even if he’s not ready to, because he shared his experience with me. So he gave me a gift of wisdom, because he caused me to reflect on this virtue and to think about where it can be found.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to throw out something that he can grab onto. Perhaps I won’t even realize it when I do.
Maybe there’s a mysterious monk from another world lurking nearby–one with a sharp sense of humor.
Or maybe there’s just us, passing wisdom back and forth as best we can, whenever we stumble upon it.
NOTE: This Diary entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.