Wisdom is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise“.
How is wisdom measured?
But how is wisdom measured? How do we know who is wise or who isn’t? Isn’t wisdom a subjective judgment made in the light of whether we agree with the person or not? Do the army of ISIL think their leader who is beheading victims in support of their “cause”, believe he is wise? Does the risk-taker who makes good, look like a person of wisdom, or is the cautious person who takes the safe route, and makes good the wise one? Is wisdom about making decisions or achieving good results, or treating people with compassion? Is it about right doing, accurate thinking, or emotional intelligence?
The truth is that not all experience, knowledge or judgment creates wisdom. The ageing process doesn’t automatically mean a gaining of wisdom. In fact, there are numerous examples of bright young children who seem to be endowed with wisdom well ahead of their years. Equally there are many older people who seem to never learn. This report on prison statistics in the UK shows “People aged 60 and over are now the fastest growing age group in the prison estate. The number of sentenced prisoners aged 60 and over rose by 103% between 2002 and 2011”. Not that I am generalising widely enough to suggest that just because you are in prison, means you aren’t wise, but it does seem to indicate a lack of wisdom somewhere along the way.
Wisdom is a state of mind
I am still not convinced there is a definitive state which describes wisdom accurately. The measurement of wisdom is like beauty, mainly in the eye of the beholder. In my own life and experience, I have accumulated some common criteria, in the shape of certain characteristics which are mostly in wise people, which may consciously or unconsciously be seen by others as wisdom. These characteristics can be seen when people of wisdom are:
In touch with their right-minded intuition
We have two thought systems which play out our world. These are the “ego” thought system and the “right-minded” thought system. The ego believes in attack and judgment, difference, separation, self-importance, specialness and usually self-righteous indignation. Everyone has an ego inner voice, which can be mistaken for intuition. Thus suicide bombers, people who kill in the name of a cause and even people who are simply angry most of the time, are simply believing in the disempowering ego voice. An extreme example of “ego” thought intuition is when killers say “God made me do it”. They have an inner god, but it is in reality the ego thought system at play.
In stark contrast “right-minded intuition” comes from our higher self. Our higher self-deals in unconditional love, forgiveness, win/win, a celebration of our commonality and our recognition that everyone is equally valuable. Our right-minded intuition would never hurt anyone and will stand silently by while we listen to our “ego thought system”, which we frequently do. This intuition never judges, helps us take complete responsibility for our lives and helps to guide us to move from ego thinking to our higher self or “right minded” thinking. In my own humble opinion, wise people are in touch with their “right-minded intuition”.
The barriers to wisdom
The barriers to gaining “right minded” wisdom are our experiences, our beliefs about our world, our beliefs about who we are, our shadow self (which represents the unconscious guilt, self-hate and fear we all have buried): Our quest for specialness and our continuous embedded thought system which we have believed for many years. Real education is about unlearning those barriers to our “right minds” and the conditions and false beliefs which skew our perspective. Education in this context is not about learning about the world, it is more about “unlearning our conditioning about the world”.
Real education is the getting of wisdom
Being on a journey of self-awareness and “unlearning” is where the real “getting of wisdom” lies. It is the ultimate route to our “real selves”. Our real self and our true nature are where our wisdom lies. Real wisdom, like our real selves, is the domain of unconditional love, true joyfulness, peace and natural abundance. It is not something you can learn, it is only about unlearning an incorrect thought system.
Are you on the route to wisdom?