The RZA recently opened my eyes to a lot. This quote is from his book ‘The Tao Of Wu’, based on ‘The Lessons’, it breaks down a path to self fulfillment, self actualization, and contentment.
“First a man gets KNOWLEDGE, which is knowledge of self. Then he gets WISDOM, which is the reflection of that knowledge. Then he gets UNDERSTANDING, which is the power to act on wisdom. With understanding he sees that he has FREEDOM – that he has freed his dome from ignorance- which means he has free will. But freedom operates under a law: the law of JUSTICE. That means I’m free to smack you in your face, but justice applies: There will be a reward or penalty for my actions. Therefore, I must deal with EQUALITY, because all men are created equal. By showing equality to one another we’re activating freedom, justice, and equality-the fourth through sixth jewels.
Now, those are all the things that build a man’s character. And after you attain them, you’re able to strive for FOOD, CLOTHING and SHELTER-which also have both physical and mental meanings. Obviously, food is nourishment, shelter is a home, and clothing is protection. But mental food is food from the tree of life- wisdom, science, history, food for your mind. Mental clothing is how you carry yourself-the way you move and speak. If you have clothed yourself in righteousness, even the bummiest clothing has dignity. And mental shelter is the mind’s protection from the evil atmosphere-the lies and corruption of the outside world.”
“You don’t get all Twelve Jewels at once-you have to strive for them, prepare yourself for them. But after you attain the first nine, then you’re ready to make your life truly satisfying. That’s when you can attain LOVE, which is the highest elevation of understanding-either between two people or between all members of mankind. And after you attain love, then you have PEACE, and finally you get HAPPINESS-which is total and complete satisfaction with yourself. If you’re completely satisfied with yourself, nobody can take it away from you.”
I hope these words give you as much guidance and insight as they gave me.