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How do we get access to the wisdom we need in life?

Read a lot of books? Frown and use big words? Make important pronouncements on the issues of the day? Adopt a serious, pensive attitude and perhaps grow a beard?

Thoreau suggests a different approach:

“Not by constraint or severity shall you have access to wisdom, but by abandonment and childlike mirthfulness.”

Here’s what I get from his words:


This is the wisdom of turning loose…of getting over ourselves and getting out of our own way…of pouring ourselves completely into the projects and relationships and even the problems that come our way.

It’s the wisdom of living and working all-out instead of half-way. It’s the wisdom of giving and loving and forgiving freely instead of holding back…for the more we give, the more we get back.

And then there’s the wisdom of…

“Childlike mirthfulness.”

This is the wisdom of keeping our inner child alive…of learning to laugh and be playful… of living in the present.

I took my three-year-old granddaughter out to get french fries, which she loves. As we sat there enjoying them, she suddenly announced, “This is the best day of my life!”

I asked, “Iris, why is this the best day of your life?”

She said, as if it was obvious, “Because it’s today.”

Pretty wise, isn’t it?