The person who had inquired was very much puzzled; he couldn’t believe his own ears. Three hundred and sixty years? He thought he must have heard wrongly, so he said, “Pardon me, sir, can you repeat that again? How old are you?”
And Emerson said again, “Three hundred and sixty.”
The man said, “You must be joking.”
Emerson said, “No. Comparatively speaking, in sixty years I have lived six times more than other people live. In sixty years I have lived six times more, hence I count my age as three hundred and sixty years.”
And there have been people, and there are people, who live so intensely that their single moment is equivalent to eternity.
Knowing what you know,
be serene also, like a mountain;
and do not be distressed by misfortune.
Knowledge without serenity
is an unlit candle;
together they are honeycomb;
honey without wax is a noble thing;
wax without honey is only fit for burning.
Knowing what you know, be serene also… The real test is in serenity. The man who is simply knowledgeable is not serene, that has to be used as a criterion. The knowledgeable man is not calm and quiet and serene. His heart is constantly in turmoil; his head is continuously in a kind of insanity. Deep down in him there is a constant traffic of thoughts. There is no serenity, no stillness.
Sitting by the side of such a man – a learned man, a pundit, a scholar – you will feel a kind of uneasiness arising in you. You will not be surrounded by his serenity, you will not have any taste of his grace. He has none.
Knowing what you know be serene also…
Knowledge alone is not enough. In fact, knowledge without serenity is not true knowledge. True knowledge is born out of serenity, silence and meditativeness. First one falls into deep silence inside, and out of that silence arises knowing. Then it is true knowing. It does not arise out of scriptures; it arises when you open the book of your own being.
…be serene also, like a mountain;
and do not be disturbed by misfortune.