As we begin a new year, Richard Rohr, in his Daily Meditation, has a practice of commiting to pray for something he believes the world needs. In today’s reflection he writes about praying for wisdom rather than love. Feeling there is much love in world, he writes about shifting his focus to praying for wisdom which he feels is lacking. He writes:
We all want to love, but as a rule we don’t know how to love rightly.
Interesting questions to reflect on, what does loving rightly look like and how does wisdom enrich our ability to love? I am left wondering how love and wisdom complement one another as we try to live a full life?
We use the idea of love so freely in our everyday existence.
- I love you.
- Love makes the world go round.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Love heals all wounds.
- You are the love of my life.
- Being blinded by love.
- All is fair in love and war.
These expressions of love are not trivial but do they illuminate a deeper sense of love as a healing or renewing energy. It feels as though Richard Rohr is suggesting that wisdom, as a foundation for living a fuller life, allows our love to be expressed in a deeper and more fulfilling way. From a place of wisdom, our love can be expressed more mindfully. He writes:
How should we love so that life will really come from it?
Rohr’s reflection suggests that achieving wisdom requires experimentation, conversation, and questioning. The image that comes to mind is the journey we take in design thinking, an unknown, twisty path that gradually reveals itself but only after trying, making mistakes, iterating, all of which lead to learning. Is it that learning leads to wisdom? When we apply our wisdom to love, then can we “love rightly?”
As Rohr suggests, we live in a binary world of right and wrong, good and evil, oppressed and oppressor, liberal and conservative, love and hate, justice and injustice, or black and white. If we remain tethered to a binary view of the world, we are less open to explore or live with the uncertainty in the space in between the two poles. We struggle gaining wisdom because at both ends of a binary world view we reject colliding perspectives so our learning is stifled.
I will join Rohr in praying for more wisdom in the world. Praying that our world leaders seek paths towards greater wisdom rather than righteousness, collaboration rather than isolation, and learning rather than ignorance. In the words of the poet, David Whyte, our work is to Start Close In.
Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
you don’t want to take.
For me that first step, is to practice being curious, asking open-ended questions, listening deeply, and be willing to learn from my mistakes. There is a lot to live for as we strive for wisdom and “loving more rightly.”