When you think of a wise person, who comes to mind? Why? In our fast-paced world, is there time and space for wisdom to have any value?
Medical science is enabling many of us to live longer. Will longevity inevitably grace us with wisdom? Do you have to get old before you get wise? Have you ever noticed children who seem to be "old souls," much wiser than their years ?
So what are the characteristics of wisdom? To mention a few, I recognize wisdom in humour, serenity, understanding, loving, peacefulness, the lines on a face that speak of trials met and overcome, the gentle spirit that sparkles in smiling eyes, the child who laughs when there is nothing to laugh about.
If you are busy with work, raising a family and running a voluntary project or two on the side, it would seem you would have little time for "wisdom." However, a wisdom break could be just what you need to accomplish more in less time with reduced stress. What is more, you are worth taking that time to nourish yourself, that break to listen to the wisdom within you that will shine a light on what you doing and aiming to accomplish.
Recently, I have been experimenting with a technique that I learnt many years ago. Away from my home routine and enjoying changes of scene, I nevertheless felt I wanted another way to listen inwardly, in addition to my daily meditation. This technique helped me digest the experiences I was having and feed my wisdom bank with fresh understanding. On my travels I had limited internet access, so I was away from my usual distraction of choice, although I still had my laptop.
The technique works on the idea that we have our own source of knowing and wisdom that we can draw upon when facing a new situation, difficulty or doubt. My preference is to do a written dialogue, on paper or on the computer, because writing has a way of slowing down my mind so that I actually listen and receive, instead of trying to make things happen. However, I have found that I can also use the technique inwardly when out walking, when I have a question I am debating. It works.
I start by taking a few deep breaths to gain access to my inner knowing and set up the dialogue between me and I.C. (for "Inner Counsellor"). It can look a little like this, for example:
I.C.: How are things going?
Me: Pretty good. I am not sure about how to make this article useful for readers.
I.C.: How can you make it useful for yourself?
Me: By letting my thoughts flow spontaneously; I can always edit later. I like watching what comes to mind as I let myself write.
I.C.: What else?
Me: By enjoying the process of discovering more about what I have to say.
I.C.: OK. What else?
Me: How can I be sure that what I have to say will actually mean anything to anyone else?
I.C.: You can't. Even if one reader benefits, then your job is well done. Practice makes perfect. Love yourself in the process.
Me: That make sense. Because if I am loving myself, there is a chance that the loving will come through my words.
I.C.: Good chance. It is not just your words but the energy behind the words that has a way of communicating to the readers who are drawn to what you write. We all need more loving.
Me: I like this. Thank you.
I.C.: I love you.
Me: I love you, too.
The dialogue can be longer than this and often includes statements of forgiving and gratitude, which assist me in tapping in to more of my peace and understanding. I have found that the relationship with the best of myself has a way of enriching my relationships with others. How? Because in empathy within myself, I enjoy greater harmony with others. I am less demanding and have fewer expectations that get in the way of simply being with another person.
You can go within yourself and focus on those elements in you
that are the essence of loving. Get in touch with the core of humanity within you.
Get in touch with all the wonderful, real, positive elements of your own nature.
Be in relationship to your caring, your empathy, your understanding heart.
Do what it takes to evoke a loving awareness in you,
and then see every human being (including the infamous "them")
through your own love-colored glasses.
Taking the time to listen to an elder can be reassuring, especially one who is successfully living beyond, say, 80 or 90. They have gone through extraordinary crises such as world wars and recessions and have survived well. How did they do it?
Consider these words of wisdom from Walter Breuning:
While we are engaged in the world around us, let us not forget the rich world of the spirit within us. In a busy day, why not give yourself a wisdom break?
Jalal Ud-din Rumi wrote:
I am pure light, not just a fistful of clay.
The shell is not me, I came as the royal pearl within.
Look at me not with outward eye but with inward vision of the heart;
Follow me there and see how unencumbered we become.
How do you recognize wisdom in yourself or someone else? Who is the person whose wisdom most inspires you? Is wisdom of any value in today's world?
I would love to hear from you. I am listening.