"Blissfully Unaware": A Valuable Spiritual Practice

Morning glimpses.

When I wake up in the morning and choose to say yes to Lady Wisdom’s invitation to start my day, then checking my phone for e-mail is not the first thing I do. Getting up to date on Facebook’s news feed is not the second thing I do. Reading my Twitter timeline is not the third thing I do. Scrolling through my Instagram feed is not the fourth thing I do. 

When I say yes to wisdom’s invitation in the morning, I check my phone for the time, and that is it.

Then I stretch out and feel the softness of the pillow against my face. I revel in the coziness of the flannel sheets and heavy blankets keeping me warm. If Kirk is still in bed beside me, I turn to him and enjoy a few moments of conversation and connection. 

Then I make a french press pot of coffee and take the piping hot tumbler to my desk. I open my worn blue Message version of the Bible to the psalms, then flip to the other sections of the Scriptures that I’m steadily making my way through at the moment. I give Diva attention as she sits and begs for affection at my feet or jumps onto my lap or stands beside my Bible on the desk. I look out the window at the day unfolding before me — the wind waving through the moss hanging from the trees, the color of the sky, the squirrels running around on our driveway and our lawn.

On those days I say yes to wisdom’s invitation, I’m present to the morning, to the quiet, to my own heart, and to God in ways decidedly different than the mornings I launch straight into the clamor of technology. 

These are the days I feel centered. I feel rooted. I feel focused on the most important things. 

But when I connect to technology first, the day — and even my body — have a completely different feel.

I shake my leg at my desk and impulsively grab my phone to check for updates every few minutes. It’s hard for me to get quiet inside. Pulling my Bible in front of me and settling into its pages doesn’t hold much appeal. 

The day garners a frenetic energy, and I lose momentum on the most important things. I have a hard time being present to Kirk, much less anyone else. I feel lost and confused and unsure which way is up or which direction I should go next. 

It’s hard to remember sometimes, in those few seconds after waking, that ignorance really is bliss when it comes to starting my day. But hopefully, as I continue to notice the decidedly different feel the two different starts to my day offer me, I will choose more and more to be blissfully unaware from the start. 

Can you relate to this at all?

Understanding Increases Through Largeness of Heart

Tree romance.

I’ve been continuing to read my way through 1 Kings, and the story of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, keeps teaching me so much. This morning I read the following: 

“God gave Solomon wisdom — the deepest of understanding and the largest of hearts.”

— 1 Kings 4:29

The word understanding shows up quite a bit in the Bible, and it is especially present in the book of Proverbs — which, unsurprisingly, was written in large measure by Solomon. Littered all over the pages of the Proverbs, for example, we read exhortations like the following:

Get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. 

— Proverbs 4:7

Wisdom and understanding are somehow linked, and very closely so. 

But how are largeness of heart and understanding linked? That largeness of heart was included in the description of Solomon’s wisdom gave me pause. I’d not considered such a connection before. What does it mean, really, to have the deepest of understanding or the largest of hearts, and how are those things related to wisdom?

I thought then of the story in 1 Kings 3 where two prostitutes show up in Solomon’s court and argue over their two infant sons. One of the sons has died, and the other one still living is the object of both of their desire. Solomon is asked to sort out which woman is the true mother. 

I’ve always loved this story because Solomon solves it a bit like a riddle. Since the women can’t agree, he orders the baby boy be cut in half and both of them to receive half. It’s a crazy dictum, but Solomon knows what he is doing. He knows that the real mother of that baby would not bear his being cut in half. She would rather save his life than see him brought to harm, and she would rather the other woman have him if that meant she could keep him from that harm. So when the woman who couldn’t bear to see that happen spoke up, Solomon knew she was the boy’s true mother, and he gave the boy to her. 

This tells me about Solomon’s “deepest of understanding” in the sense that he could see deeper into the matter than his own life experience would normally teach him to know. He understood the heart of a woman — and of a mother, really — even though he was not a woman or a mother himself. 

In this way, Solomon evinced largeness of heart. 

Upon reflection, I think largeness of heart has to do with the ability to hold another person’s experience inside yourself. It’s an ability to contain more than yourself inside yourself. It’s about having room for more than just you. Your heart, instead, is large. It expands. It can hold more. 

And in holding more, the capacity for deeper understanding follows. And in that deeper quality of understanding, wisdom is found.