Proverbial Thursday – Global Wisdoms

Proverbs and sayings provide us with wise words, hitherto uttered by generally anonymous folk. Said ever so succinctly, and eloquently, that a thousand meanings can be revealed in a few succinct words.

Oftentimes, these wise words are general rules for life itself, and come from all corners of the world.  Best savoured a little at a time, these sayings are passed down from generation to generation, almost as if our ancestors are speaking to us themselves.

Each Thursday, I post a saying, or proverb and a quote that I find thought-provoking. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Image result for cameroon

Struggling against Boko Harem in Cameroon Source: https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/central-africa/cameroon

 

Continuing our African theme, this week we have a proverb, that I believe, refers to contentment. Limpid water is unclouded, translucent, and in a way, melodious.  Can this be related to a heart that has reconciled negativity and achieved a sense of satisfaction in life?

 

The heart of the wise man lies quiet like limpid water – (Cameroon proverb)

 

Site of the ancient fortress

 

Henry Miller inspired me this week with his thought that there was nothing better than self-improvement, stemming from a journey in one’s own mind:

 

“There is only one great adventure and that

is inward towards the self.”

Henry Miller

 

 

What do you make of the proverb from Cameroon?

Do you think Henry Miller referred to the infinite realm of possibilities or, fantasy?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

proverbial-thurs

Proverbial Thursday – Thought provoking words to Ponder About

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About Forestwoodfolkart

Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. I have Scandinavian, Frisian and Prussian/Silesian ancestry and for that reason, I feel a connection with that part of the world. I am an avid Nordic Crime fiction reader, and enjoy photography, writing and a variety of cooking and crafts, and traditional decorative art forms. Politically aware and egalitarian by nature, I have a strong environmental bent.
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20 Responses to Proverbial Thursday – Global Wisdoms

  1. Mel & Suan says:

    So a wise man would have a heart that is clear, so he does not be influenced by bias.
    And within our individual self there is so much to discover. If one searches ourself, one might find contradictions, aspirations, regrets, hopes, wishes and even anger. Could this be the adventure Henry referred to as well?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bias of the heart: that is an angle I hadn’t thought of, Mel & Suan. I think that is another great interpretation of the Cameroon proverb. Bias, bigotry and prejudice clouds the mind and the heart, and surely does affect its clarity. Being influenced by bias shows a lack of strength and resilience, which to me portrays someone who is still working on their sense of wisdom. A heart without malice is one that has lived and known enough of life that they do not have inner secrets held covered in dark crevices of their mind, or reveal nasty surprises. Rather that heart would more likely be open perceptive and thus, wise.
      We can all have contradictions within ourselves or a change of heart or even a change of opinion. We all may have regrets or anger and these sorts of emotions can be a rollercoaster at times. The highs and lows of life. An adventure is an apt metaphor for the vagaries of life, even an average one. I was thinking that Miller’squire may have referred to his own far reaching imagination, that knew no limits. Perhaps that provided all the adventure he needed. Our brains are incredible organisms. Even our capacity for individual dreams is infinite. Many are often trying to decipher behaviour, motivation and the meanings behind what people say or do. (as we do here each Thursday). Life certainly is a dynamic adventure!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Mel & Suan says:

      Hit the nail on the head!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mabel Kwong says:

    I am a bit on the fence with the first quote. On one hand, when we feel a sense of direction and a sense of confidence within ourselves, then we might feel life is going well – and all the more we may reach out to others and make them feel more comfortable or better in some way. On the other hand, sometimes it is orderly chaos that gives us a sense of fulfillment – the more we do, the more we put ourselves out there, the more experiences we gain. That said, we can also be quiet achievers. I’m not sure if I’m interpreting this quote the way it should be!
    Love the Henry Miller quote. The hardest journey is usually the one where we take a hard look at ourself and be honest with each other. It’s a journey which I think is vulnerable – as you said, it can tie in with infinite possibilities and when that is so, it makes you wonder what you are truly capable of. As for infinite fantasies, I feel too much of that isn’t too great for us – it can make us complacent and rest on our laurels so much that we lost a sense of purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The proverb could be interpreted in many different ways, Mabel. All are valid. I think you alluded to the word quietness, perhaps, and its relationship with contentment of the heart? I was also thinking that being busy can also provide a feeling of contentment, especially if the work is enjoyable, stimulating, or distracts us from our worries. Helping others and the desire to help others can only be felt and initiated willingly, if one’s own needs are met first, as you mentioned in your comment about reaching out to others when things are going well. A wise heart, I think, will focus on the benefit of all those around them. To be otherwise, would be self-centred. I feel wisdom and selfishness are mutually exclusive? What do you think?
      An inward journey could make us vulnerable OR is vulnerable? I’m unsure what you mean.I think it does make us vulnerable. We see ourselves without any facades or pretence, we see ourselves warts and all. Infinite possibilities can make us complacent, you say? Yes I think there is that possibility of leaving our head “in the clouds,” or becoming lazy even, so again, we need to strike a balance between heart and head, between imagination and hard, objective thinking. We can ride the rollercoaster of imaginative adventure as long as we get off the ride and get back to productivity as we don’t want to get into an endless loop. Have I paraphrased your interpretation accurately, Mabel?

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    • Mabel Kwong says:

      I like how you say it – quiet and the contentment of the heart. Come to think of it, if we are happy with what we have, then maybe we sit around, relax and enjoy. As an introvert, that’s how I like to cherish what I have. As for extroverts, maybe they may be more gregarious and prefer to shout it out contentment or celebreate with others.

      We can only help ohers if we first help ourselves.

      I don’t think it’s selfish to think about ourselves. I think if it comes to the point where you are only talking about yourself and your achievements, then that is selfish. A considerate, thoughtful team player and mentor in my opinion strives to motivate others in many ways, and one of those ways could be sharing their personal experiences and trying to apply that to the real world.

      I think an inward journey can both make us vulnerable and it is also a vulnerable journey in itself, and I agree what you have said. We might start out on a journey all prepared and ready to go, all planned. But challenges along the way may make us think twice about what we are doing and about ourselves. An inward journey is also a vulnerable journey from the get go because there are always, always, questions to be asked – and no matter how prepared we are, there is no second guessing what will actually come up.

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    • Absolutely agree that a thoughtful team player must share their personal experiences. In a way, that is one of the reasons why I blog. To share information that might be important or interesting for others. But that is reflective of my personality type. I am an information seeker so perhaps at times, I might assume that others would be interested in salient information as well. Which brings me to the point of selfishness. I couldn’t agree with you more about your view on this, however, does everyone have enough awareness of the limits where information sharing tips over into egocentricity/ spouting about personal experiences? There are no hard rules about this. I feel it is something that that might differ for every situation and for each person involved. These are social nuances and intangible social conventions that are subconsciously learned over time. And introversion or extraversion definitely plays into this.
      Becoming vulnerable from a journey of the inner self, resulting from not being able to predict/control the potential outcomes? Most definitely. The mind is an intricate and complex organism, and life is sometimes like a leaf in the wind.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have been pondering more the proverb and wonder if the Cameroon citizens are referring to a passivity and pacificism, particularly as their country has seen many conflicts. The heart of a wise man lies quiet…. Wise men can see the futility of conflict, the great horror and pain that battles and fighting brings. Where there is stillness and peace, there is wisdom. If you do not have peace in your heart, you will not have contentment, peace ( and therefore stillness and tranquility) in your mind. The water in the photograph is a perfect metaphorical example of strength, wisdom and stasis. But not stasis in a negative sense, but rather in a postive sense when stastis exudes strength and wisdom.
      So much to think about in this quote.

      Like

    • Mabel Kwong says:

      ‘passivity and pacificism’ I think you are on to something here, Amanda. When it comes to conflict and potential physical battles, sometimes it is best to sit aside, be calm and collect our thoughts before actually doing anything. Maybe during this process, we find the beauty of life and what really is important.

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    • Wise words, Mabel. A battle or conflict fought in haste is often regretted when tempers cool down. I can’t think of anytime when conflict and its dreadful consequences was totally justifiable. There must always be a better way to approach the volatile situation than to “fight” – it is a primitive way to solve differences of opinion. Wise men discuss, talk, brainstorm, compare, contrast, develop awareness, tolerance, embrace diversity, accept differences. To brutally enforce a contrary line on another with ‘brawn,” power or coercion is abhorrent. No wisdom there.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mabel Kwong says:

      The only time I can think where violence and conflict may be justified is when you see those hostage situations on the news – where the police storms a place, where inside someone is being held hostage. One can argue that conflict in this sense is the best solution, but also a means that can risk it all.

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    • You are right, Mabel, that in this situation violence is almost essential. The Lindt siege in Sydney taught us that negotiations don’t always help matters. Perhaps there are also other instances where conflict is justified. I think that the Declaration of War – that is hard to justify. When I wrote about the rationale of conflict that in my previous comment, I had a moment afterwards of ….. “oh, should I have said that?” – and then I thought of the North Korean situation. I guess that county’s issues could be viewed as similar to a hostage situation on a grand scale. Is war then justified, or could it be avoided through other means? Gosh, that is a difficult question maybe. Clearly the waters are still turpid!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Robyn Haynes says:

    I wonder does the Cameroon quote, in referring to the wise man’s heart as clear and lucid or limpid, mean having an intention or willingness to view it as so? The inward journey, if its honest, must be equally so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • HI Robyn, Thanks for your great comment and joining in the discussion. An open and clear heart and the inward journey: I do like how you have linked the quote and the proverb this week. I too feel there is a link. If not only, that both revolve around how the mind works and perceives things. The ‘getting’ of wisdom is such an interesting topic. The inward journey of an open and clear heart/mind, must as you said, be equally clear. If our values and basic principles are true to this honest regimen, the journey could reap immense rewards and therefore, I would suggest that achieving clarity of mind does culminate in wisdom. What do you think?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Robyn Haynes says:

      Clarity of mind? Clarity of heart? I feel there is a distinction but perhaps that’s what you meant. I have just inadvertently trashed your comment on the Chinese garden post. I am so sorry. Thanks for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes there is a distinction but also I feel that one overlaps and interacts with the other. Could you have a confused mind, but a clear heart, or vice versa?
      No worries with the trashed comment, you might be able to restore it, perhaps if you go to the junk/spam and mark it as not spam? Unless you deleted it permanently Either way –
      No harm done!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Moony says:

    This saying actually struck me given the circumstances I’ve been going through lately – feelings of unworthiness, frustration and doubt. And I realise that being caught up in worry and negativity very often paralyses you, and takes your vital energy away from doing good and being productive. Limpid water is free from the murkiness that might be said to represent the storm of emotions a heart can be swept into. A wise man, then, can be said to be someone who doesn’t let these limiting habits and thoughts trap him – retaining a sense of appreciation, peace and equanimity with himself and others. And that’s something I think is really hard for people to do in general.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Moony. I do appreciate you contributing to the discussion, as you shed further light on the nuances and meaning behind the words posted. Firstly, can I say that I am sorry that you are feeling somewhat frustrated and despondent and it is true, negative feelings zap one’s energy. Emotional exhaustion, is real. Yet, I feel that you have found a way to deal with these feelings. Experiencing a raft of emotions, following a distressing event or loss, is akin to the murkiness one sees when the water has been stirred up and polluted. The key as you suggested is to hold fast to your common sense that prevents those thoughts trapping us into the negative spiral. Some times it is very hard to do; we can verbalise that we need move on and let our minds settle again, but our resolve wavers and we might experience a looping back to that same destructive thought/s. Visiting a body of water such as a lake, pond or sea might provide a visual reminder of the stillness and clarity that we are striving for. And in that moment, we might experience a moment of peace and contentment. Good luck in your journey. I do hope you realize that everyone is important. just as you are important, and furthermore, that you WILL get through this patch, as surely as the rain, like bad weather passes.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I liked both of these quotes. I’ve reached a place in my life where the first applies more than before. I have no regrets not animosities. Everything that comes my was is as it should be. It’s the second quote that got me to that point.

    Like

  6. intrepid8 says:

    Neat!
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Like

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