Gray hair is often associated with wisdom. Is that fair? Do people automatically gain wisdom as they age? How does wisdom differ from knowledge, smarts, brilliance, or experience.
Wisdom is a quality that is better described than defined. We recognize it in others whose words are worth hearing because they carry real meaning. We see it in people who know who they are and have no airs of pretense. We know wisdom when we see it!
Wisdom is the fruit of reflecting on our experiences, learning our lessons, letting go of that which not important, and identifying that which has lasting meaning. While this is not the exclusive domain of those of us in the Third Chapter, we have had decades of experience upon which we can reflect. If we do not do the reflection, ask questions of meaning, and learn lessons from our sufferings and triumphs, we are at risk of becoming hardened, cynical and bitter. It is possible to be brilliant, knowledgeable and crotchety.
The inward journey which includes such practices as reading, writing, meditating and praying is the path to wisdom, with or without the gray hair.