“Those who know do not say, those who say do not know” ~ Lao Tzu
I love quotes like this. They make a person think and it’s a quote you have to read several times to understand its meaning. I certainly had to!
For me, the wisdom in this quote lies in what it doesn’t say. There’s a kind of elusive mysticism, and yet an obvious clarity within Lao Tzu’s words.
Why would someone who knows the answers choose not to pass on their wisdom and knowledge?
Well, for the same reason you choose not to tell your friend that s/he’s in the wrong job/relationship etc: they need to find the answers for themselves otherwise they’ll lack the full understanding, and may end up being resentful of you trying to take control of their lives. It allows the individual to build a strong foundation of self-knowledge, self-worth and to build confidence from within. A strong foundation is unshakeable.
People need to arrive at these moments of self-realisation alone. We can’t have people live our lives for us – as much as we’d like them to sometimes! That would defy the whole point of incarnating into a human body. It’s like a parent doing their child’s homework for them – the intention is good, but the child doesn’t learn the necessary skills needed to do their own work. In a way it’s more destructive and debilitating.
“…those who say do not know.”
I believe this quote is also a reminder to be mindful of what you say. It’s ok to express your opinion, but ensure there’s a level of understanding and that the words you speak are for the highest good. Ever met a loud-mouth? We all know that one person who thinks they know it all and definitely aren’t afraid to voice it! Kudos to them for speaking their mind, however words spoken out of ignorance, arrogance and selfishness are words better left unsaid. They’re empty words and can leave the meaning redundant regardless of whether they held wisdom.
As Maya Angelou says “People don’t always remember what you say or even what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel”. If someone speaks out of ignorance, arrogance and selfishness you’ll always remember the tone of their voice and not the content of the conversation. The information becomes lost and you’re left with a lasting impression of someone who thinks they’re know-it-all. Sometimes I think they like to show-off, as though they have to prove themselves to receive some form of external validation. If I ever come across someone like this, I remind myself that they’re still learning to love themselves and so I send them some love. Or at least I try to. Some people are so arrogant it’s shocking.
Ask yourself: What do I really know?
What you know now is a perceived reality and a collection of ideas taught to you by authorities who told you what to think and not how to think. Everything is open to interpretation. There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. There are just your answers and your understanding of its inter-changeable meaning.
When I look back on my life I realise that although I’ve made it this far – huzzah! – I’ve had absolutely no idea what the hell I’ve been doing. Somehow life just floated in existence around me forming into situations, people, events, emotions etc. At the time I felt I was doing it ‘wrong’, and sometimes I felt I was doing life ‘right’. Now I know I just need to ‘do’. Life will sort itself out around me regardless of what meaning I put onto it.
I realise the irony of me writing this in reference to this particular quote, and all I can say is that I do not know! Are we even meant to know all the answers? Are there even answers out there to all our questions? Perhaps the mystery is there so we can enjoy its magic and mysticism and choose our own meaning. We do have free will after all. Life is what you make of it, so make it matter and don’t spend your time trying to answer elusive questions. Trust that in living your life your answer will come to you. Don’t wait around for it otherwise you’ll miss the beauty of life and maybe even the answer itself!
So, what do we really know?
Well, I suppose we know that no matter what, life still goes on – whether here on Earth, another planet, or in the spirit world.
Don’t be disappointed if you think you don’t know anything. I’m not. I don’t want to know everything – I think my head would explode!
It’s ok to say ‘I don’t know.’
Just know that you are you, living your life the best you can.
Be happy. Be you.