4/10/2013 3:54:42 PM
by Hakim Abdul-Ali
It's a rainy day today in Charleston and, for some unknown reason, I’m stuck on an abstract thought while attempting to figure out what to write for this week’s column.
It happens to me from time-to-time, especially when it’s time for me to get “down” when my writing deadline approaches. Creative writing, after all, is a solitary sojourn into a writer’s challenged mind-set and a thinker’s classified custom-made opinions.
In many ways, that’s where I am right now. And out of nowhere, as I begin to fashion myself into a necessary writing mode, the memorable phrase “the fruit of wisdom is peace, and the fruit of riches is fatigue” pops into my head.
For the best of my unstated intentions, I can’t presently tell you why that phrase has arisen in my head. I guess it’s like my thoughts are subliminally saying to me to visit the Eastern side of my thinking pattern in order to uncover some things to rap about for today.
If you know me as writer and a thinker, you’re already aware that things Eastern and Oriental, along with traditional African wisdom, are a very strong part of my intellectual spheres of being. I love the essence of those profoundly wise teachers and sages from that part of ancient “hue-manity.”
Well, here I am, “Back to the East Again” trying to deliver a message of wisdom for the masses of readers of this weekly, who expect nothing short of me telling like it is. “It is what it is.”
Listen. I believe that there’s so much to learn from the choice words and observations that these great teachers said and held because their views say much to the sincere seekers of true knowledge among us today. I don’t know about you, but I’m forever seeking knowledge and wisdom.
The bygone master teachers from the Motherland and the Orient would be the first ones to tell all their students that a true seeker of knowledge should do so from the cradle to the grave. That’s my philosophy also because I’m an admitted, continual student of knowledge seeking correct data and legitimate wisdom wherever I can find it.
When you reflect upon the East’s glowing treasures of wisdom, the pearl of truth that says, “The learned know the ignorant, for before he was learned he himself was ignorant; the ignorant, however, does not know the learned, for he never was learned” stands out loud and clear in my mind.
Please don’t let the reality of that ancient truth bypass your domestic mundane thinking pattern. Go back and reread that phrase again because it sets the tenor for my following vibes for today’s article. (I’ll wait.)
Now that you done that, please take into consideration another jewel from the Orient that instructs us about where an important part of learning comes from and is maintained. It implies that “The best of company is in a good (spiritual) book.”
I believe that wholeheartedly because spiritual wisdom is oftentimes relegated to the back shelves of learning today or, at worst, it simply doesn’t fit into and/or with (today’s) Generation X’s modern time scale of activities.
You know the story all too well because being about and learning about God Alone’s words is not very popular with the masses of today’s secular modernity. Maybe, in another article, I’ll get into that arena with an in depth breakdown about what I mean by that inference.
Continuing with more Eastern wisdom, I’d like you to note that the sages from the ancient mystery schools of acumen taught that “The hardest thing for a man or a woman to know is himself or herself.” That’s heavy in itself, and if you wanted to stop right there, you’d be forgiven because that period of comprehensive self-matriculation could take anyone of us, including yours truly, a lifetime to study and comprehend.
Learning about life and other ethnic “colored” folk, in general, is more than a desirable workload for any seeker of universal wisdom. It requires commitment at a select and supreme level of concentrated study.
I know that it does require effort as it forces me to study myself and others, because learning about ourselves, and others, is a full time job. The masters of African and Oriental teaching knew this to be true because they said that “a wise person is silent among the chaos of ignorant people.”
They offered that “The beginning of learning is silence, then comes hearing, then writing, then work, then promulgation.” That makes a lot of sense if you’re trying to teach anyone something about anything in life.
A favorite totally and profoundly African gem is that “The tribute to learning is teaching.” In more ways than I can humbly state, that phrase resonates in my head as I think of the overall state of Black America’s current youthful academic woes in many sectors of this nation’s dysfunctional inner cities’ school plantation like learning arenas.
On that crucial point, I’m drawn to reflect upon something the Oriental masters said, and that was that “Knowledge is like a hill, hard is the ascent, but easy the descent.” They added that “Riches and worldly things perish, but good deeds remain.”
There’s so much to learn by visiting some of our respected and venerated scholars and teachers from the East, including those from the Motherland. Those teachers set the learning scales of excellence so high because they energetically taught and clearly understood that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
In many segments of Black America’s inner and outer educational morasses of declining academic standards of today, that previous statement is, for the most part, sadly lacking. Respectfully, I ask that you go back and reread that previous paragraph ever so closely in order to comprehend why “Back to the East Again” is being written.
As I close, I’d like you to reflect on something that’s hitting my conscious mind-set about another nugget from the minds of the Eastern philosophers. It says, “He who remembers his teachers, does not forget what he has learned, and (therefore) acquires what he does not know.”
That’s some powerful advice to fathom. Please strive to learn as much as you can, and always respect all your teachers, who taught you what you did not know. For today, and with thoughts of “Back to the East” forever, I wish you love and peace, and that’s, “As I See It.”