What is wisdom? One fairly simple definition is that wisdom is having a “big picture” perspective on things and being able to meet challenges in life with equanimity, dignity, and compassion toward both yourself and others. I heard a saying recently on an interesting radio program. The saying was “Wisdom doesn’t come cheap.”
One way to think about wisdom is that wisdom develops from a combination of understanding ourselves and moving through a variety of life experiences. If we take the approach of learning from both our joyful and difficult experiences and look for the lessons that we can learn about life, other people and ourselves, we slowly begin to gain wisdom.
What does it mean to understand ourselves? Understanding ourselves involves getting to know our strengths and weaknesses, reflecting on our preferences and aversions, looking at our personalities, and noticing our reactions to things. We can extend this to understanding our own histories, our family histories, and thereby gain some insight into why we are the way we are and why we do what we do; but to some extent, we will always be a mystery to ourselves.
Questions to ponder:
1) What are your personal strengths and weaknesses? Can you be honest about your weaknesses and talk about them without feeling shame about yourself?
2) Describe your personality. What do you like about your personality? Not like?
3) What does it mean to you to be wise or to have gained wisdom?
4) Do you feel you have some wisdom? What experiences have given this to you?
5) What have you learned about yourself from your most difficult life experiences?
6) Are there (or have there been) any women in your life that you would consider wise? Why do/did you consider them to be wise?
7) What are the traits of a wise woman?
8) What do you know about yourself today that you didn’t know one year ago?