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8 Lessons from Harry Potter on the Law of Wisdom

“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. And, so the 8 Lessons are:

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. Continued