When is it appropriate to shut out the world? Recently while standing in line at a local cafe, a woman greeted me. I had on headphones and was listening to a podcast on spiritual disciplines. Because I had on headphones, I’d made myself unavailable. At times this is appropriate. At other times it’s not. Once the woman recognized I was wearing headphones she apologized and invited me to continue listening to my podcast. I chose to take her offer and I continued to to listen to the podcast. The moment was missed. What did I miss by not sharing the moment with this person? I’ll never know. I could’ve returned to this recorded podcast at another time. At times, shutting out others – especially strangers – feels right. At others times it feels wrong.
A former professor of mine at MIT wrote a book entitled Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. This book reminds me to remember our responsibility to others and all living things. We don’t have to rid ourselves of new and helpful technology. The question is, how will we respect the dignity of each person, place and thing? We’re called at times to be alone. We’re called at other times to be together. The inner voice of Wisdom is available to guide us in all things. Wisdom guides those who privilege her voice. True Wisdom is always considerate and does what is most appropriate in the moment. So the journey continues. I look forward to a more consistently loving and wise responses in my actions. Enjoy the journey.
anthony glenn miller
By stopping in time
from torment and conflict,
strife is defeated, and danger averted.
The people then seek the wisdom of Tao,
just as all rivers flow to the great sea.
Chapter 32 – Tao Te Ching
Two Kinds of Wisdom
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.