I am turning fifty one in may. I have seen a few things and lived half a century.
Does this mean I know more than a twenty-year-old? Of course not, I may have more life experiences. However, I may not have learnt or educated myself, actually, I have seen older people act and behaviorally they are worse than younger ones. Of course this works both ways. People choose to grow intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and cultural intelligence only happens when a person opens there minds.
Open minded people at any age learn more. A closed mind is like having shackles with lead ball on your ankle. People who don’t listen to others are also digging themselves a whole. Listening to what people say with a open mind is the beginning of wisdom in my opinion, and wisdom should grow with age.
The Intricacies of Ignorance
’There are many layers to self-deception. The more you practice and investigate things, the less you feel like claiming to know. Instead, you’ll simply see the harm of your own many-faceted ignorance and foolishness. Your examination of the viruses in the mind gets more and more subtle. Before, you didn’t know, so you took your views to be knowledge — because you thought you knew. But actually these things aren’t real knowledge. They’re the type of understanding that comes from labels. Still we think they’re knowledge and we think we know. This in itself is a very intricate self-deception.
So you have to keep watch on these things, to keep contemplating them. Sometimes they fool us right before our eyes: That’s when it really gets bad, because we don’t know that we’ve got ourselves fooled, and instead think we’re people who know. We can deal thoroughly with this or that topic, but our knowledge is simply the memory of labels. We think that labels are discernment, or thought-formations are discernment, or the awareness of sensory consciousness is discernment, and so we get these things all mixed up. As a result, we become enamored with all the bits of knowledge that slip in and fashion the mind — which are simply the illusions within awareness. As for genuine awareness, there’s very little of it, while deceptive awareness has us surrounded on all sides.
We thus have to contemplate and investigate so as to see through these illusions in awareness. This is what will enable us to read the mind. If your awareness goes out, don’t follow it out. Stop and turn inward instead. Whatever slips in to fashion the mind, you have to be wise to it. You can’t forbid it, for it’s something natural, and you shouldn’t try to close off the mind too much. Simply keep watch on awareness to see how far it will go, how true or false it is, how it disbands and then arises again. You have to watch it over and over again. Simply watching in this way will enable you to read yourself, to know cause and effect within yourself, and to contemplate yourself. This is what will make your mindfulness and discernment more and more skillful. If you don’t practice in this way, the mind will be dark. It may get a little empty, a little still, and you’ll decide that’s plenty good enough.
But if you look at the Buddha’s teachings, you’ll find that no matter what sort of correct knowledge he gained, he was never willing to stop there. He always said, “There’s more.” To begin with, he developed mindfulness and clear comprehension in every activity, but then he said, “There’s more to do, further to go.” As for us, we’re always ready to brag. We work at developing this or that factor for a while and then say we already know all about it and don’t have to develop it any further. As a result, the principles in our awareness go soft because of our boastfulness and pride’
We can all learn wisdom, it’s not based on intelligence or education or age. We can start any day, simple things like choices, and habits. So many wealthy and educated people down through the ages make huge mistakes because of lack of wisdom. Some get misguided by their egos too. I have made my fair share of mistakes and I am sure I will make more. I do try to learn from my choices these days, and observe myself, with as much objectivity, as possible.
My biggest mistake was losing good opportunities as a young guy through arrogance and ego. I was convinced I knew better and did not listen to wise counsel. I was sure I had it figured out, convinced I was right. I have learned when you are convinced about something listen to others perspective. I am not saying always do what others say, I am saying just listen and maybe they might know something you don’t.