Skáldskapr: The path of understanding.

In the times of my ancestors wisdom was rarely accomplished because many great men sacrificed themselves to Valhalla by dying in battle. Living for each day, and for themselves and family while measuring their success by their ancestors spoken in the sagas and Norse lore.

A common misconception is that there occurs a time in ones life where everything will make sense. Where the trials and tribulations that we have undertaken will all make sense. I’m here to say that time never comes. Even today, many people struggle to understand the reason behind the recent plague that infected the earth. Today I hope to impart on you some wisdom I’ve learned throughout my many years of life. Hopefully, I can pass it along to you in a way that makes sense for you, and you can incorporate it into your collective wisdom.

Speaking about the acceptance of life’s lessons, and the education that comes with the many interactions we have in our lives. To this end we must consider deeply the lessons that we have learned when we aren’t paying attention. Age does not always mean wisdom. However, for those who choose to absorb the kernels of knowledge from each circumstance they endure throughout their physical life times, this collection of fragments can become the vastness of wisdom. While age gives us the opportunity for wisdom, a synthetisation needs to occur to create the links within the mind, to make the necessary association between memory fragments.

Each day we are faced with many decisions that we must rely on previous experiences to remind us of the positive outcomes, as well as the negatives, that gives us a trajectory in which to chart our way through each decision. It is this decision matrix that is the foundation to what many call wisdom. The key to transforming the knowledge into wisdom is the reflection on the factors, the decisions, and ultimately, the outcome. 

Today’s Teaching

Today we need to discuss the traits displayed by Óðinn with wisdom. Now, if you’re not up on your Norse folklore, we recognize that our ancestor Óðinn dropped his eye into a well to be able to see the depths of men’s soul. In addition, he was impaled by his own spear and hung for nine days that he may reflect on those experiences to acquire wisdom.

Each grain of sand is placed at the edge of the sea for a reason. It is pushed, and pulled, gently wearing away at its sides, forcing it to become balanced. Yet, one grain of sand cannot hold back the sea, it is with millions of grains that the collectively hold the sea away from the land.

Each leaf on the tree, each tree within the forest, all function in harmony to provide the reach for sunlight and drops of rain to nourish the tree. They are all part of the structure to create the whole. Collectively they can create shade from the hot sun, without them the tree is bare and exposes its trunk to the elements.

Each snowflake that falls from the skies is incredibly unique, and perfect. Each individual snowflake is but a miniature dot upon the ground, but as the snowflakes continue to fall, they can bury cities, and make even the strongest travelers take pause. As they pile deep upon the mountain side, they make come crashing down like a tidal wave, crushing castles and villages alike. 

So too is wisdom. Each small fragment adding to the overall complexity of understanding and experiences allowing the individual to connect previous experiences to the current situation. Each experience we have is added to the breadth of the mind giving us the opportunity to relate them with the decisions before us. 

However, the greatest opportunity we have to build our wisdom is to reflect upon the previous decisions, and relate the outcomes of those decisions to the challenges that lie before us. Truly learning from our mistakes is the underlying foundation to building a wisdom.

I am reminded of my ancestors and the many different types of men who contributed to the history  The first of these men, were those of great intelligence. They knew the ways of war, and how to wield their weapons expertly. The fought with honor, yet may have struggled with victory because of their focus on what lie ahead of them on the battlefield. The other, those who studied the art of war, and just as importantly, what was done correctly, and what errors were committed in previous battles. They reflected on these previous engagements, and discovered other possible means of accomplishing their objectives. It is this reflection that allows us to create wisdom from our experiences. We must be honest with ourselves as to what we tried, and what didn’t work out the way we wonted it to. What did work, and how did we make it work.

Wisdom is created by the reflections of decisions and outcomes gained through previous experiences. In much the same way Óðinn voluntarily lost an eye at Mímisbrunnr, in exchange for a drink from the well of wisdom. He was also impaled with his own spear and hanged at Yggdrasill (the immense sacred yew tree connected to all nine worlds) for 9 days and nights, solely to learn the wisdom that would give him power in the nine worlds. By being impaled and hung, Óðinn was able to reflect on the wisdom given to him from the well of wisdom. The ability to reflect on personal experiences, and impose a self-hesitation for this review is what will separates the victors from the victims.

Ignorance is the enemy. If you need to look at things in a battle type of way.


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