My Java Journal

On Knowledge: Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran, 1883-1931


I was flying out of Amman, Jordan. My destination was home. As was tradition, I always brought a little something home for the family. For the kids, usually t-shirts; for my wife, something unique to the location I found myself.

Sometimes I had time to find exceptional gifts. Other times I had to rely on airports and tourist haunts.

I can’t recall if I was adding to an exceptional gift, or scrambling to find something at the last minute. Regardless, I was buying some handcrafted soaps from an airport store that caught my attention as it shared profits with a local environmental or humanitarian effort. Again, can’t recall exactly.

The soap was handed to me in a recycled paper bag. On one side of the bag was Arabic script. On the other, the English translation. This was the English:

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”

This was attributed to Khalil Gibran.

Khalil Gibran

I thought nothing more on it, save acknowledging that it was a beautiful quote, and the author for whom it was attributed.

If you’ve been following my blog, or know me well enough, you will know that I prepare for each week on the Sunday evenings preceding them. This process includes finding a quote to help set the tone and goals for my weeks. I go to quotes to help me better articulate ideas and goals that I have floating in my head. Sometimes a good quote can just capture so succinctly, in a sentence or two, a notion or theme that I am struggling to put into words. As such, I have read a great many quotes. Increasingly, I came across others from Khalil Gibran.

Khalil Gibran was a Lebanon-born poet who authored The Prophet. He is apparently the third-best-selling poet of all time as a result of that book.

Following are several quotes that I have used, reference, and took note of over the years.

On Love

“And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”

On Living Well

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

“Your daily life is your temple and your religion. When you enter into it take with you your all.”

Other Worthwhile Perspectives

“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”

“I have learned silence form the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am grateful to those teachers.”

Renewed Purpose

There’s is nothing here particularly earth-shattering, or even, in some cases, particularly unique. However, they are well written. For me, they are well received.  For example, I know I have learned from those talkative, intolerant and unkind teachers, but recognize that I have also been talkative, intolerant and unkind; and I am grateful for now realizing this and that I can grow from that knowledge. I hope only that I have given others, in my flaws, an opportunity to learn and grow.

I have struggled with the purpose, value and direction of this blog for some time. It’s original purpose has long since become overcome by events and life. For a long time I was able to maintain the effort with the help of Buddha:

“Thousands of candles can be lighted by a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

This remains helpful. More helpful to me in maintaining momentum and value though, has been what I have derived most recently from another quote from Gibran. It is similar to Buddha’s notion of shared happiness, but different in that happiness isn’t always the best, or only reason to share:

“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” – Khalil Gibran

So, I have again found purpose, value and direction in deciding that what little knowledge I have to share is worth infinitely more in action than in being idle. It may be a story. Perhaps a lesson learned. Maybe just musings. Regardless, I believe that it is still better in action, shared, than idle.

I truly hope this post finds you well.