“Wisdom is a living stream, not an icon preserved in a museum. Only when we find the spring of wisdom in our own life can it flow to future generations.”

-Thich Nhat Hhan

Wisdom is understood as that which gives us insight into our experiences, whether we are practicing right judgement, and are grounded in a deeper kind of understanding that thus informs our actions and choices in the world.

I am finding that wisdom only works when we can hold it up against the light of our lives, reading it through the lens of our intuition. Wisdom cannot be received as simply other pieces of information. Otherwise, wisdom is degraded to a basic kind of knowledge accumulation. Too often have we witnessed religious practitioners who had lots of this kind of information, but for whom their lives have not been impacted. Wisdom must be eaten – taken into the body, chewed on; its nutrients integrated into the body. The practice of learning, receiving, and integrating wisdom is a lifetime’s endeavor.

In my own discernment practice, as I contemplate a piece of wisdom, it should intuitively feel within my body. And, it should remain with me after a period of time, moving from a simple transmission to a deepening hold within me. I don’t need to fully understand this process right away. I can simply rest in the faith that I am being taught many things that I am not aware of, and that much of this teaching is not knowledge for the intellect.

Questions to contemplate:

  • Have you received advice or teaching that perhaps was cloaked in the guise of “wisdom” but was in fact just another kind of information?
  • How do you discern the difference?
  • How might you understand wisdom to be like a “living stream”?

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