​Truth and Meaning: Cleverness

​Truth and Meaning: Cleverness

We Americans consider ourselves a clever people. We equate education with knowledge and privilege with power. These are both false assumptions.

True wisdom doesn’t come from a book, but from a willingness to embrace unknowable mysteries and to acknowledge that we cannot know all of the answers. True power is not a birthright passed down through traditions, but is gained only when we use our inherent gifts of reason and intuition to discern our own truth and meaning in life.

Love is as the ark appointed for the righteous,
Which annuls the danger and provides a way of escape.
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment;
Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment intuition.
                 — from Book IV of The Masnavi, by Sufi Poet Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi

Rumi is perhaps the best known adherent of Sufism, the inner and mystical dimension of Islam. Rumi’s writings remind us of the need to seek the divine spark within that connects us all with each other and with all existence.

We cannot come together through facts and figures, through clever arguments and debate, or through the uncritical application of ancient scriptures. We can only come together by putting aside materialistic and political concerns and by loving the divine within each of us.