Concentric Wisdom

A rock hits the water sending an endless flow of concentric circles outward, ripple after ripple. Math 101. 201, 301, 401, graduate school, doctorate. There is too much to know. Such is learning. On the way but never ever really getting there. Circle after circle. All learning is comprised of previous learning.

Wisdom is the on-going consolidation of those learning experiences. But there are two problems with wisdom. The first concerns the circles themselves. We see the circles as moving outward when, in fact, wisdom is in the opposite direction with the circles moving toward the center. The second problem with wisdom is that it tends to nullify, or at least diminish, the weight and influence of the previous circle. You get to realize that you were wrong, or at the least, misguided. And that's no fun! I can describe it poetically by saying that it creates humility. But I can describe it authentically by saying that it's outright embarrassing and sucks.

Let's take an everyday example and create six concentric circles.

6th circle: Something is wrong with me. Life is a trial.

5th circle: I'm so afraid of not getting the job. If I don't get it, I'm screwed.

4th circle: If I don't get the job, I'll figure something out.

3rd circle: Nothing real can be threatened.

2nd circle: Nothing unreal exists.

1st circle: Everything is perfect. Worry is the condition of a horizontal mind that does not understand its relationship to the vertical. If I had practiced this in the beginning, I would have never doubted myself and would have never been afraid of not getting the job in the first place.

Each movement inward diminishes the drama, noise and suffering of the previous outermost circle. So, have some fun! Take a blank piece of paper and draw 5 or 6 concentric circles. Take a current problem that you have and be as honest with yourself as possible and write the problem in the outermost circle. Work your way in at each level, using the above as an example until the problem is no longer a problem and in fact, doesn't even really exists in the way that you think it does. You'll be amazed at how smart you are!

But more importantly, you'll come in contact with the biggest problem in dealing with wisdom. The problem is not that you don't know it. The problem is that you won't do it. You are unwilling to change. You are unwilling to act on the wisdom. You are addicted to the outermost circle and thus, eliminate any possible growth, change or learning.

But here's the good news. The outermost circle doesn't exist in the first place because it's going to be nullified anyway by the next innermost concentric circle! So, I want you, right now, to make the outermost circle (your insanity) OK. I promise you that it's OK. Stop thinking that you are your mind! Stop thinking that you are your thoughts! Stop thinking you are the outermost circle! You are not! But you've got an outermost circle and you're responsible for having created it in your mind.

The intense focus on the outermost circle is at the heart of the failure to change. Examine the outermost circle all you want to and you simply will not find what you are longing for. Examining darkness produces more darkness (you get what you're looking for). In whatever way works for you, identify to the best of your ability the most powerful innermost concentric circle you can. Then, move inward, one circle at a time no matter how long it takes!

And here's the kicker! You will find that the concentric circles of wisdom never journeyed outward as you always believed they did, but inward, to the discovery of your true being, to the you that always knew the answer. It was always inside of you. You realize that you change the world by how you perceive the world. It was never outside of you.

And as the "Course in Miracles" states, "If you do not go within, you will go without."