On Intellectual Health

My bucket list has only two items on it, but both have a long sub-list to complete. One is to read every book in our home library, which is extensive. And of course, I am getting new books that add to the list as time goes on. Historical fiction is one of my go-to genres, a way to learn about history without studying a textbook. To put this learning in its proper perspective, it is important to have some trust in the author, and to remember it is fiction. I also enjoy alternate reality (Fantasy / Sci-Fi) books as they can offer insight into the human condition and the unseen spiritual realm. By far my favorite source to improve my intellect is the Holy Bible. I trust the Author.

Stimulating your mind – improving your intellectual health – is an important part of your overall Healthy Rhythms. I think of intellectual health as a combination of knowledge, discernment, and wisdom. The following are definitions that help you understand how I use the terms.

Knowledge – a body of information (fact & fiction, truth & untruth, real & conceptual) that we hold in our mind and can recall when needed.

Discernment – the ability to understand situations & people and consequently sort fact from fiction, truth from untruth, reality from perception. This involves intuition based on experience; that experience having been informed through ever increasing knowledge.

Wisdom – acting properly at every decision point, using discernment to identify the correct choice. To be clear, wisdom can be gained by making incorrect choices. Incorrect choices can hone our gift of discernment. This is a part of the human condition.

Knowledge is the foundation of our intellectual health. Be a life-long learner. Take in new information and explore further those ideas that interest, intrigue, or infuriate you. Practice becoming more discerning as you gain knowledge. And, above all, be wise in how you apply that knowledge and discernment to your way of living.

I heard from someone a long time ago (I do not remember who) about the 5 ways we take in knowledge and turn it into discernment and wisdom. I commend them to you as a great way to build your intellectual health.

The first is reading, and if a source is worthy, I believe reading it over and over has great value. Another is hearing, listen and/or participate as people discuss specific topics of interest, people that both agree and disagree with your current point of view. Studying is the process of digging deep into a particular topic, reading multiple sources, and even writing about your additional learnings. If you want knowledge to stick with you, memorizing original content word for word can be helpful for recall. Finally, meditating is the process of allowing a chunk of time to specifically consider one idea or short content.

As with each of the areas of our overall health (see Your Health is all about PIES posted February 9, 2022), the amount of time and level of effort you put into your intellectual health must be in support of your life’s purpose. Over or under investing in this area is not a good use of your time, but in its proper measure you will build a rhythm that supports your purpose, your goals, and your eternal legacy.

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