What is Wisdom?

A wise woman I know who is 90 has said to me that she does not know what wisdom is even though people tell her she is wise.  Been thinking of this question as I prepare some talks for upcoming events.  I do find it is hard to define wisdom.  However it is not hard to say that “you know it when you see it. ”

Here are some earmarks of wisdom that we can use when looking at our own experience or listening to others.  The voice of wisdom is compassionate toward both ourselves and others.  It is spacious; when practiced, our heart relaxes.  When we are listening to the voice of wisdom, we have a gentle good humor about ourselves or the situation.  There is a generosity of spirit, a kind open-hearted view of people and situations.  And finally there is a sense that all is well in the big picture.  This is, of course, the opposite of being uptight, defensive, humorless and fearful of impending doom.  (These ideas are adapted from Maria Nemeth’s excellent book, “Mastering Life’s Energies.”)

As I review this and think about my own reaction to world affairs, I see that I am not so wise.  I have been quite uptight and fearful when I watch the news.  I don’t think listening to the voice of  wisdom means that I should not stand up for what I believe but I do think it means that I must take the long view.  Trusting the forces of good more than the forces of evil may be the wise thing to do at this time.

What do you think??