It’s so good to connect after an absence from writing! Seems to me that to force the written word lacks sincerity and meaningful intention. Also, if done in fear that my thoughts and feelings have an expiry date, it would be an example of how I “should” all over myself. This tendency is changing as I practice more kindness, less negative judgment and an awareness of the benefits of this way of Being.
To be honest, my focus over the past couple of months has been elsewhere as my body and soul have attended to some challenges needing attention. In doing so, I noticed that my heart has guided me back to what I intuitively know to be of great importance – the role of WISDOM in daily living. The business card I use in my work reads The Wisdom of Worth. I have facilitated the WISE Circle Conversation, an opportunity for men and women to come together to talk about aging. Recently, I also attended a seminar titled: Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy: Deepening Mindfulness in Clinical Practice. This was followed with another presentation: Cultivating the Compassionate Self.
Mindfulness, Compassion and Wisdom Are All Connected
What I have confirmed is that Mindfulness, Compassion and Wisdom are connected, teach useful lessons and are vital to the human experience. I have been reflecting too on how an openness of heart and acceptance of what is in the moment adds up to the realities of the day, the months and the years. Do we wait until we are aged to be more aware of our response to what happens in the present moment, to open to the hurt and suffering of others and ourselves and know how to relieve it, and to experience the benefits of inner silence and the relationship with a greater power, the source of our existence, of life?
My style, of course, is to want to write all about my current “AH-HA” moments in hopes something resonates with you and gives you the freedom to create what you desire. Many years ago, one of my clinical supervisors said to me: “Not everyone needs all the information you do.” I didn’t get it then and even today, I notice how I can overwhelm people with my enthusiasm for what I experience as useful information. How I satisfy my curiosity as to how to live life well may be different than how others do.
I like the invitation from Jon Kabat Zinn, the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction, to hold space, both as a mentor and an intern, a sage and a student. To open to the meditative presence of this moment seems a wise, sage-like choice we can make; to fear what the next moment holds is not how I want to anticipate my advancing years, nor what I wish for you.
I can guide and use the wisdom I have nurtured through the years as I continue to practice and to learn more peaceful ways of living. So I will now breathe deeply and calm myself to continue with both my vulnerable and satisfying writing.
Wisdom Is Hard To Define
As one of the most revered of human virtues, WISDOM is hard to define. Many say: “I know it when I see it.” I expand that to include: “I know it when I feel it, within me and in connection, in the presence of others.” To develop the brain of thought, the intellect, might be considered as gaining in wisdom — except does intelligence equal wisdom? Not necessarily so! To make wise choices, we use knowledge from our senses and decide what will be most useful to meet our needs. What I like now about exploring this virtue is the invitation to step out of the “thought stream” (indeed a challenge for me!), experience my awareness of the current pleasant moment followed by my awareness of the dissatisfying next moment, embrace the openness within me, and wake up to the reality of change and its uncertainties with a kind, loving heart.
Wisdom Flows In All Directions
Wisdom is most often described in a “downhill” paradigm. That is, the senior, the elder, the person with more life experience has more wisdom to pass down. I invite you to consider another scenario: what if the transfer of wisdom is able to flow in all directions and we, of all ages, learn from each other? How one relates to the feelings experienced in this day that then advances to the next, can be helpful to manage one more year, and then the next one. The awareness of how well we cope now is the practical experience of how well we move forward to meet the upcoming challenges of future years. The experience of joy in meeting the current, daily tasks is an experience we can repeat as years advance.
I encourage you, of whatever age, to have new experiences of deep, inner knowing that can be nourished in both a meditative practice and in a moment-by-moment “awarenessing” – noticing your thoughts, your feelings without negative judgment. How helpful as you respond to life’s movement forward to the uncertain, the unknown. Quite the paradox – nourish a knowingness to face the unknown! Such is the transformational power of wisdom!
How aware are you of how my words “land” in your heart? Please tell me so we connect in the practice of being present with what is so as to relate with more ease as to what will be.
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