Thursday, December 16, 2010


We all have it in us. Our innate wisdom is the invaluable faculty that makes it possible for us to recognize another person’s words or actions as wise (or unwise). How else would we know? 

Because whatever information we receive from the outside enters and is processed by the mind, we have a tendency to think that the mind is the seat of wisdom, and to assume that those who are learned are also wise, but this is not the case.  Wisdom is not in the mind, but in the heart. Not to be confused with logic, wisdom has nothing to do with figuring things out and coming up with the right answer to questions. It's a feeling—a gratifying stillness that tells us when we know the truth, or when we've found the right answer.  This feeling (or lack of it) is how we know that what we're about to do is right (or wrong), or that something is true (or untrue). It's like a "moral compass" that's not based on a set of morals.

While being learned and being wise are not mutually exclusive by any means, they are also not automatically connected. Even the illiterate can be wise, and even the learned can be foolish. It’s a question of trusting the heart to be our guide, and placing personal experience before logic. It’s also a matter of paying attention to what happens in life, and choosing that which consistently serves us well, and fosters the accomplishment of our ultimate goal. 

Often I find that wisdom is associated with the study of philosophy, or assumed to be the natural result of aging, or worse—presumed to be of no practical value in daily affairs. None of this is accurate (or wise), and here’s why:

1.      Studying the supposed wisdom of others in no way guarantees that we will ourselves become wise (any more than reading a story about someone winning the lottery will make you rich).
2.      Age is no ticket to wisdom (there are at least as many old fools as old wise people).
3.      Nothing could be more important in our daily activities than acting wisely (think how screwed up things get when we act unwisely). 

If we hope to be at all successful in life (and I mean the real bottom line, not the financial one), we must become attuned to the inherent wisdom within us. Our wisdom, not merely someone else’s. It’s the only reliable navigational tool we have for finding our way effectively. Without connecting to our own wisdom, we have no guarantee that we’ll find what we came into this world to get—let alone keep it long enough to take it with us when we leave. A "wise person" is simply one who consistently and uncompromisingly follows the heart.

The observations in my new book, Wise Cracks, are the result of one human being’s attempt to live consciously and passionately, to require satisfactory answers, and to accept no compromise. Whether or not any of my remarks contain wisdom is of course for the reader to determine. Only that which resonates with our own experience will be of any lasting value; the rest is mere entertainment. Good entertainment, I hope, but I’m shooting higher than that.

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