Second-Hand Knowledge

Rest assured, you’re safe to read on. This isn’t an advert in disguise, or a guide on ‘How to find a bargain on Portobello Road.’

Nowadays, it seems that most people within the health/wellness/fitness sphere rejoice in discovering and consuming nuggets of wisdom from the past. Whether it’s a book, an old film/documentary or a wonderfully well orated tale of enlightenment, we seem eager to make a connection with the lives and experiences of our ancients. Consciously or not, it’s probably a way for us to somehow bridge the gap that we all feel just by trying to live in today’s world with our eyes wide open.

I guess we did in a way go from dancing, singing and celebrating life itself as part of well-organised communities to consuming pills in order to silence signals between mind and body (the body being arguably the most clever piece of machinery on earth) and feeling so lonely and undervalued that we all end up screaming for attention and recognition. Somewhere along the way, we somehow decided it was more about the individual than the collective.

One of society’s biggest mistakes. Don’t you agree?

Fortunately, mistakes are possibly the most precious gift we’ve been given. Yes, that’s right. Who could argue against the fact that mistakes effectively help us to learn and to grow?

So, little by little, we are starting to slowly ‘rebound’ as humans. We’re bonding with one another. We are becoming aware that real happiness is something you share, and that compassion, gratitude and love are nothing like deliberating between fabric or leather seats. What I am trying to say here is that we could well be heading towards drastic changes in the way we see ourselves and the way we perceive everything that surrounds us. Positive change? Well, that depends where you find yourself standing. At the beginning? At the end? Or in the middle of the bridge? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows for sure. We’re full of doubts and kind of lost…again, not a bad thing.

So we turn to wherever we see or feel wisdom, knowledge and/or experience. We turn to the past and are looking for indications, perhaps searching for our giants’ ancestral shoulders to stand on so that we can see a little further. For some of us, this may feel less of a choice than a necessity at this point, but can anyone be sure of the way forward?

Once again, we simply don’t know; so we are just going to have to try. Now this sends me straight back to one of the keywords from the title: ‘Second-hand’. Or ‘Antique’ if you’d prefer. Is it still cool? Is it fashionable? Do you go East or West?

I invite you to ask yourself:-

How easy is it for us to be impressed by the ’grandeur’ of a guru or the international success of a best-selling New York Times self-help book?

How much of it do we gulp straight down into our stomach without having chewed properly? (For your information, chewing fifty times is advised for better digestion. It works for me anyway.)

Are we easily (and unconsciously) impressed by something that is written and published?

Do we automatically give credit to someone because of the role they play in society?

Do we believe and accept everything from someone who is known to tell the truth, without even considering and checking in with our own self?

What about spiritual or social gossip? What is the threshold and where are the limits?

I think these are vital questions to ask because I believe that the accumulation and repetition of thoughts, ideas and stories are the foundation of beliefs. And I see beliefs as mini discs that the subconscious mind has on repeat.

What is important here is to ‘know thyself’. To observe how we process information and what we do with it. I believe this is the key to the realisation of how much each individual actually knows (without knowing). I believe that being mindful today simply has to be more than just paying attention to our breath and filling one of those children’s colouring book every month. It may also have to be about challenging what we receive from the outside world before we internalise it, and equally about examining what we are about to give to that very world.

Let me know your thoughts- first hand that is!

Warm wishes,