“A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren’t we more like this wise old bird?” ~Charles M Schulz
I’m often reminded of the simplistic days of youth. Usually these notions pop into my mind, spurned by witnessing present day events. Some events allow for the total recall of old memories, old lessons learned and feelings that I once absorbed. In the bold sphere of knowledge, I recall peace and wisdom imparted by the natural world.
Ancient wisdom–in a way–is much more advanced than our own contemporary knowledge that we place so highly on a pedestal. We have technological advances that seem to dwarf the achievements of yesterday, but this so called progress paves over the once undeniable truths that were naturally known so long ago. We live among oceans of knowledge, but we’ve yet to drink even a drop of wisdom.
I can vividly remember the field that spanned for a mile in front of my home at age 7. I could see across this rolling field until the forest blocked the horizon. I would sit straddling my bike, just staring. It was a peaceful sensation, full of truth and solace.
I would watch the birds mostly, often with binoculars. They would swoop and play for hours it seemed. Some days after a rain I could see them pulling worms from the ground and tearing them in two. One particular day I watched curiously a fat red-breasted robin plucking his beak into the ground. He froze for a moment then took off in a hurry. Almost instantly a falcon had caught him in its talons and smashed him into the ground.
I sat and watched the falcon peck and eat the bird alive right there. He had no remorse in his eyes, only flesh and tufts of feathers stuck to his beak. I realized at that moment how the natural world is not always a pretty sight to witness. This is the natural way.
In this witnessing, I also learn that gaining true knowledge is brought forth through first hand experience; a natural way. Though a gross sight to witness, the experience taught me a valuable lesson about the world around me. I imagine that this was just the same as the natural way of learning that the ancient people practiced. Lessons were learned through experiencing the real world, one on one.
We should all strive to combine ancient wisdom and ancient concepts of learning with contemporary knowledge. So many of us are hidden from the world, learning half-truths from the television and the Internet. The teachers of the natural world are becoming extinct. People are less inclined to experience life with touch and sight; with heart and soul. Many would rather have all the answers given to them on a paper napkin.
As we travel through the sphere of knowledge, we should always dare to experience the truths ourselves and weigh them on our own scale of understanding. We should never simply take something given to us as complete truth, we should wish to experience truth completely. In this sphere, we should never mistake knowledge for wisdom.