Over the course of the last 15 years or more, a trend has developed in my life. I seem to come in close contact, often in close friendships with people who – I don’t know how else to say it – know everything about everything. My best friend since I was 16 knows everything about everything. One of my best friends in my current home down knows everything about everything, as does another friend of mine.
It is like living in a world full of Sheldon Coopers.
And as for the first friend I mentioned, I used to get very jealous of him for this reason. Maybe. I think jealous. More likely just annoyed, but the annoyance did come with a certain degree of insecurity, some sense of inferiority, because we are both in wheelchairs and yet, common ground as we found ourselves on in one arena, he far and away surpassed me in the intellectual arena, that was clear.
That does not happen anymore with my newer friends who come with the same idiosyncrasy. I am challenged by them to expand my awareness. Expand the utilization of my intellect. To be a good custodian of my own time.
I have come to realize that these know-it-alls that I am habitually confronted with in my life have led up to one of the items on a list of “5 Ideas” that I was inspired to compile after reading about Swami Vivekananda’s similar list last year. The item in question on my list was “Accepting Advice Free From Ego.” I started out on the path toward this goal by simply changing the way I interacted with my wife. Acknowledging that I am not always right, and acknowledging her when she is right free from ego.
I know. Hell of a concept.
But it was a big stumbling block with me. I would insist on arguing the dumbest points simply because I was tired of feeling “wrong” when the only reason that was the case was she simply had much more experience and was more world-wise than I was. She had more to offer me.
And the same principle is at play between myself and these friends of mine, who are not only world-wise, but they literally do seem to have a working knowledge of an astonishingly wide variety of topics. It becomes maddening, if you let it, seriously. But they know more than I do. They are not “better” than anyone else. They simply know more. They have more to teach me than others might, as a matter of fact. And if they can help me to achieve one of my list of “Five Ideas” then great!
Your friend can be your greatest teacher. This is my Gurupurnima message.
Jai Hari Aum.