Cultivating Your Wisdom is part of a larger process for
transforming experience into wisdom, living life beautifully,
making your unique contribution to the world,
and leaving behind a meaningful legacy.
Many say the pursuit of happiness is the highest aim in life. But happiness is a temporary condition. Even the most conducive circumstances with the best attitude in a well-lived life cannot guarantee happiness. Too often, the pursuit of happiness leads to the suppression or denial of much of what makes humanity great: our ability to rise above tragedy, to feel the pain and suffering of others as well as our own, and to find beauty and humor in the dark side of life.
To me, the pursuit of wisdom is a more noble aim in life. Happiness may be gained without wisdom, but only in a shallow life. Wisdom not only gives your suffering meaning, it strengthens your happiness because it sources your joy in the deeper truths of life and in the beauty of the world. The symbol of wisdom in the ancient Greek world was the owl because it sees in the dark. Wisdom penetrates the veil of mystery and opens the heart to the fullness of life in a way that the pursuit of happiness never considers and often avoids.
The dictionary defines Wisdom as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise. Experience and knowledge may be necessary for wisdom, but they are not sufficient. Experience itself does not grant wisdom and we all know people who are knowledgeable but not wise. Wisdom is not a natural consequence of age or intelligence, although these may help. It is also not a one-off event that is ticked off the list of accomplishments for life after a single insight.
Wisdom grows out of the soil of experience, fertilized by knowledge, and cultivated over time. The fruit of wisdom does not come immediately but requires proper conditions coupled with the kind of care and attention nature demands to reap a harvest. Wisdom is the result of a habit of reflection, of nurturing your intuition, and of tending and pruning your insights. Wisdom comes from reflecting on experience, gaining lessons from life, and transforming knowledge into guiding truths to live by.
Perhaps no other virtue can do more for your life. The pursuit of wisdom can give you:
- A deeper understanding of yourself, of others, of life
- A more accurate view of reality
- An enriched perception and appreciation of life
- The ability to see the subtleties and shades of grey in life situations
- A deeper sense of meaning and purpose
- Greater clarity about what matters to you
- The “wisdom” to make better decisions
- A tolerance for different ways and different cultures
- More alignment of body and soul
- The ability to put difficulties into perspective
- Powerful ability to solve challenging life problems
- Discovery of your own truths and life lessons
- A legacy to offer the world and to teach your grandchildren
Devote yourself to the practice of cultivating your wisdom and seeking your own deeper truths in life. Practice allows you to develop a discipline of “reflecting” on life events, of wording the world in a way that brings you to life and brings life to you, of quieting yourself long enough to hear and feel the wisdom that already lives within you. Life is richer when you translate that wisdom into gifts and guidance for yourself, for your grandchildren, and for others in a way that may become part of your enduring legacy in life.
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