January 28    

Today's quotation:

It is not how much you know about life but how you live your life that counts.  Those who can avoid mistakes by observing the mistakes of others are most apt to keep free from sorrow.  In a world full of uncertainties, the record of what has gone before--human experience--is as sure and reliable as anything of which we know.

Ray Lyman Wilbur

Today's Meditation:

It's funny how we tend to dismiss the importance of other people's experience.  "It won't happen to us that way," we say, or "I'll do it differently, and the results will change."  Yet as adults, we spend much of our time and effort trying to get young people to avoid the mistakes we made, to miss out on the difficulties we faced.  And as children, we spend our time creating our own experiences, even though mom and dad seem to be trying to make them for us.

Avoiding the mistakes that others have made can be extremely important, but doing the same things, only differently, can also be valuable.  Was the mistake trying to fly, or was it the way that someone tried to fly?  Was the mistake in buying the house, or was it in buying a house that was too expensive, too large, too small, too old?  We have to look at more than simply the surface of someone else's experiences to understand just went wrong so that we can learn from that experience and possibly use it to help us to do successfully exactly that which someone else already has tried.

My experiences, if I learn from them, can keep me mostly free from sorrow.  I don't believe that anyone lives completely free from sorrow, as Ray implies is possible, but I do believe that we can improve the quality of our lives by learning from experience, and then making sure that our actions reflect that knowledge so that we don't make the same mistakes that others have made, or the same ones again that we've made before. 

Instead of bemoaning our experiences, let's use them to help us to learn and to grow, and make them valuable parts of who we are.  If we do so, we can improve not just our lives, but the lives of many of the people with whom we share this planet, day after day.

Questions to consider:

What's the difference between an experience and a disaster?

How can we learn to see our experiences in positive ways--even the negative ones?

Think of the positive role models in your life.  How do they view negative occurrences?  How might you emulate their perspective (if it leads to positive results, of course!)?

For further thought:

There is no experience in any life which if rightly recognized, rightly turned and thereby wisely used, cannot be made of value; many times things thus turned and used can be made sources of inestimable gain; ofttimes they become veritable blessings in disguise.

Ralph Waldo Trine
"Thought I Met on the Highway"

more quotations and passages on experience



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