Everybody knows and has been taught about the right way of living but not all can do it really. That is where a fine demarcation comes between knowledge and wisdom. To be able to apply the knowledge, to be able to think, and acknowledge why things are the way they are, makes us wise. Thus, it is only through wisdom that we begin to behave beyond the petty attributes like self-obsession, jealousy, anger and instead, learn to grow as a human being filled with compassion, empathy, acceptance, and love for all.
The human race has wondered and marveled for a long time for its distinguished ability to behave and think differently than other animal species. We have highly evolved emotional, mental, and social etiquette. But is that the end of the list? There is something very peculiar about us which makes us stand out as a species, which transforms us from Homo Sapiens into human beings. And that is called wisdom. There is a reason why people do not find peace in spite of being surrounded by all kinds of materialistic pleasures.
There is also a reason why many people living a highly comfortable and rich life, leave it just like that and set out to explore something that is still unknown to them.
In India, such ways of life are not new to us. We have always been surrounded bys saints and celibates. The culture in India has long been enriching. It has always focused less on physical pleasures and more on the seeking nature within us. After a certain point, we all begin to realize that the worldly amusements can only satisfy us on a superficial level but cannot quench our soul.
For our spiritual growth, something deeper is needed. All around us, we see the world burning with feelings of competition, unsparing greed, unforgiveness, jealousy, anger, and what not. And this is not the story of those who lack basic amenities to a dignified life. This is the case of people who have everything in abundance but peace and gratitude. Wisdom takes us from this path of uncertainty and shallowness and brightens up with the light of truth.
And that same truth would liberate us. This is the power of wisdom. Wisdom is not restricted to listening to some discourses or following the religious rites and rituals. It is about realizing the darkness of greed, that the constant need for competing with each other is nothing but just a bottomless pit. A whirlpool of desires. Through our experiences comes a realization that the peace of our mind is in our hands. This is the most empowering thing that can happen to us and no book can teach this to us.
It is like reaching and activating the seeds and portals of consciousness which were dormant within us till now. The whole phenomenon enriches us at a much deeper level and calms down the inside chaos. After which, we start to see the beauty in everything and learn to accept life the way it is.
Our heart is filled with forgiveness and compassion. Wisdom frees us from the chains of a limited mind so that we do not remain the slaves of our own desires. Books can teach us what is just and what is unjust. But the power of standing and walking down that just path is provided by our wisdom.
This spiritual and emotional advancement is irreplaceable and can only become possible through wisdom. They say that life changes you and shapes you like nothing else can. That there is a great difference between knowing something and living it. Well, it is quite true in the case of wisdom.
True wisdom comes only from experience. Let us recall how we felt when we were just a kid. Life looked so uncomplicated and manageable at that time. Our own definition of life was metamorphosed a bit. We realized that after all, life is not that simple.
It is not confined to having your favorite meals and dresses. When we crossed teenage and entered into adulthood, even the young age years looked dreamy and we again felt that life is more than just having a relationship. It is more about making yourself independent, taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.
Being responsible and accountable for our decisions and choices topped the list of our way of living. We all travel different paths of life. The ups and downs of our lives are unique. It is interesting to observe that same event or experience can be perceived in a completely non-identical way by two different persons. The impacts and effects of a trauma, a joy, or any other major change of events may not be the same for both of them. This is the reason, even after going through the same phases and stages of living in this world, we may end up having dissimilar perceptions of life.
There is no specific set of rules to becoming wise. Wisdom is independent of these factors. Truth is, true wisdom can only be attained through experiencing life and that means having experienced it in its fullest form. Understanding that life is not always about being happy, satisfaction, or running for temptations.
In fact, sorrow, pain, tragedy, self-restraint are a part of it. True wisdom teaches us that if life has to be embraced, then, the only way to do that is through acceptance, self-observation, and with full consciousness. With practice, wisdom takes us above the basic instincts. Wisdom gives our mind the power to differentiate between justified and unjustified and act accordingly.
Experiencing the bright and dark, both faces of life, are we filled with love, kindness, compassion, and non-judgment toward others and also ourselves. And there is no shortcut to that. One who is wise recognizes that the standing of others should take precedence to his or her own standing. Therefore, the wise person takes in account what is best for others when offering advice or information. In addition to experience and humility, wisdom also incorporates the Greek term kairos.
Kairos means proper timing and measure in all things. A wise person does not offer more than is required, nor does he or she omit relevant information. The mark of true wisdom is also a sense of timing that is most beneficial to the inquirer.
As with humility, a wise person does not take in account what will be most timely for his or herself, but what is best for the other person. The wise person knows when to step into a situation and when to let things run their courses. The wise person has the ability to understand not only a situation, but the people within that situation. The last mark of wisdom is unselfishness. Unselfishness differs from humility in the respect that humility requires someone to be praised or recognized in order to deflect that praise or recognition onto others.
Unselfishness requires nothing more than the constant thought of others' interests and wellbeing over ones' own. This mark of wisdom sets true wisdom apart from mere intelligence or learning.
Anyone can have the right answer at the right time, but only those who possess true wisdom are ready to sacrifice themselves and their own interests to provide sound advice or information to others. This is the essential part of unselfishness as it marks wisdom. True wisdom requires all three qualities: The experienced person who has one or two of the three qualities, but not all three, cannot be truly wise. The experienced person who possesses all three traits must also have these qualities recognized by others, rather than recognize and claim the traits for him or herself.
Only the possession of experience, humility, kairos, unselfishness, and the recognition of others makes for a truly wise person.
To obtain wisdom one must have good judgment, pure confidence, and knowledge. When a person has obtained these three traits then and only then, will a person experience true wisdom. Even though these three traits seem to be easily obtainable most people will never truly experience wisdom.
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