I recently found this writing in a folder on my computer. It is over ten years old! As a starting point for my blog, I thought I would share it. So here goes!
What is wisdom, and what qualifies a person to be considered wise? Wisdom is something that has largely been attributed to people of mature age and experience, but traditionally not to someone who is young. Is wisdom learned, earned, or is it inherited genetically, culturally or religiously? Or is it something that we are born with; that we gradually lose the capacity for over time?
For most of my life, even though I would consider myself to be a moderately intelligent person, I have struggled with poor self esteem and a resulting lack of confidence. I have the best parents in the world who have supported me and loved me unconditionally for my entire life, but still I found it difficult to believe in myself. Consequently, I have not trusted in my own abilities, needing reassurance and validation from others to have any sense of self worth. This has been one of the greatest lessons I have had to learn so far. If I don’t have confidence in myself, or trust in my abilities then how can I ever possess wisdom?
Looking back now I think that I spent the first 35 years of my life living unconsciously without ever truly challenging myself to grow. Awake, but asleep, ruled by fear. Sure I went to school, and to university, but I failed to apply any of what I learned in the real world. If you didn’t try, you couldn’t fail. And if something was too hard, I just found a good reason why I shouldn’t, couldn’t or didn’t need to do it. The main reason for this is fear. Fear holds us back in our lives for so many reasons, but mostly it’s a fear of the unknown, or a fear of failing that keeps us from moving forward. Fear is often not rational but controls us nonetheless. Why; because we are too afraid to face it. Facing fear and taking action marks the beginning of personal growth and a strong and positive move into the future.
Wisdom is not a simple concept to define as it encompasses so many aspects of one’s life. Traditionally wisdom has been defined as knowledge, and the application of that knowledge. It is a deep and complete understanding of people, events and situations, and the ability to know and do the right thing. Wisdom encompasses knowledge, spirituality, experience, intuition and the ability to use these skills for the ‘highest and best’ of all.
Wisdom does not just come from age, as many people choose never to learn through the various life lessons that they experience, no matter what their age. They live in denial, taking no responsibility, and blaming others for everything that is unsatisfactory in their lives. Wisdom is gained from having these experiences and learning from them so that our lives and the lives of others may be better. It is using our innate compass of right and wrong and trusting our place within the larger web of life. Wisdom is to acknowledge the interconnectedness of all life, to use our intuitive abilities and to trust.
Wisdom is demonstrated in helping others to find their way by assisting them to see the way themselves, not by telling them what to do. Helping someone to make the right decision for him or herself is far more valuable than telling someone what they should do. It means putting aside ego, and coming from a place of pure and utter selflessness. Wisdom also means knowing when to say nothing at all. Wisdom requires trust in the natural order of things, and in the belief that everything happens for a reason. When things happen that are not quite what we expected, there is wisdom in finding the positive in the experience and being grateful for the lesson.
In many cultures there are people, usually elders, who are considered to be wise; sages whom communities look to for knowledge, advice, natural medicine – for wisdom. I believe that the wisdom that they share comes from living in tune and harmony with their world. They are believers in the interconnectedness of all life, and are able to tap into something that is amazing and accessible to all. Perhaps we have just forgotten how… Here’s to our waking up!