Eight Lessons from Harry Potter . . .

by | Jul 29, 2009 | Food for Thought | 2 comments

on the Law of Wisdom

by Julie Gabrielli

harrypotter540

“Before you can do something, you first must be something.” Goethe

This summer, my son and I have been listening to Jim Dale’s unparalleled recorded books of the Harry Potter series. We’re on the final one now: “Deathly Hallows,” which I read two years ago (a lifetime!). After a few CDs of the recording, one night I was so curious about how it ends that I read the final hundred pages of the book. Ah! That’s right: Harry dies, but not really. He goes back to finish his business, Neville does a hero’s task, and all is saved. They do, indeed, live happily ever after.

Satisfied that it all comes out neatly in the end, I found myself drawn back into the story where we had left off. It certainly is good reading. Eventful, imaginative, with vivid, real characters and a good dose of humor.

As I read, it dawned on me that this is not only a great Quest tale; it’s also a dramatization of the Law of Wisdom in action. Think about it: Harry is given by Professor Dumbledore the task of hunting and destroying the Horcuxes , which – if he is successful – will bring down Lord Voldemort and restore the wizarding world to peace and harmony. Only Harry, and he alone, is suited to the job. It is, in effect, his Life Purpose .

And he struggles with it: he is torn between trust in his mission and the many questions he has about it. Why didn’t Dumbledore spell it out for him more clearly? Why is there no grand plan, no set of instructions to follow, step by step, to achieve his goal? How is he expected to lead others into danger, if he doesn’t even know what’s next?

Does any of this sound familiar? It’s called “life.” When we are truly in our Life Purpose, we act a great deal on trust. It’s like driving at night: we have a general idea of where we’re going, yet the headlights only illuminate a short bit of road ahead. So, we keep driving, and more is continually revealed as we go. That doesn’t guarantee we might not meet challenges. Maybe a deer will bound across the road. Maybe we’ll take a wrong turn or run out of gas. But we can trust that those headlights are showing us as much as we need to know for now.

(N.B. The form of these 8 lessons is taken from a recent coaching call by Coco Fossland, who is a brilliant teacher and guide. I’m in her yearlong coaching group , and have received such great support both from her and my cohorts.)

Those familiar with Potter’s story will recognize that he acts frequently on impulse. He is decisive and quick, very important qualities. Not only does his decisiveness save his skin – and that of his friends – on many occasions, it also is perfectly aligned with the Law of Wisdom. The full version of this post on GOforChange [http://www.goforchange.com/2009/07/15/8-lessons-from-harry-potter-on-the-law-of-wisdom/] elaborates on the 8 Lessons. As a taste, here are the first three:

1. Wisdom is present at every moment.

When Harry asks and listens, the guidance is always there. Sometimes he asks, but doesn’t listen, doesn’t trust the answer he is given. This is all too human; we all do this. It’s when Harry gets bursts of intuition and acts quickly that great things happen.

2. Wisdom speaks through everything.

We don’t have to meditate to hear our inner wisdom; it will speak any way it can to reach us. Sometimes, for Harry, it comes as a person with a message. In fact, he seems the most inspired and in his truth when he is in action, especially in danger. For Hermione, by contrast, wisdom comes from reading and the deep reflection that allows her to connect disparate threads of ideas.

3. Wisdom is meant for the moment, not forever.

This is where the Harry Potter books get their thrilling sense of adventure, and something profound lies just below the surface. Examples abound of Harry acting in the moment, yet throughout “Dealthly Hallows,” he is tortured by his mistrust of the mission set to him by Dumbledore. His mentor never laid out a full plan because he knew all too well that the Universe is always growing and evolving, with each of us participating. Dumbledore could sketch out the gist of the quest and the key pieces that he had discovered. But he knew that the “how” would only emerge, moment by moment, in a constantly-shifting tableau. Every moment along the way would be unpredictable, fresh and new.

(Please follow this link [http://www.goforchange.com/2009/07/15/8-lessons-from-harry-potter-on-the-law-of-wisdom/] to the full post on GOforChange.com, which elaborates on the remaining five lessons of the Law of Wisdom.)

4. Wisdom will only ask you to do what’s possible.

5. Wisdom is grounded in love, not fear.

6. Wisdom meets you where you are, even if you are still in fear.

7. Wisdom knows the fastest way to your success, despite appearances.

8. Wisdom transforms and empowers everyone it touches, despite appearances.

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2 Comments

  1. Victoria Schell

    Nedda,
    I loved the series as well, yet I couldn’t put my finger on why it is so intriguing. I think you hit on it. Very insightful. Hope you are well, Victoria

    Reply
  2. Jennifer

    Nedda,

    What a great post! This is exactly what I needed today. I have never been great at listening to my intuition, but now understand that to shift my life, I need to pay much more attention!

    Seeing wisdom listed this way does really help me see through the illusion!

    All the best,

    Jennifer

    Reply

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