“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”― Kahlil Gibran
A couple of weeks ago I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law in New Hampshire and looking for some reading material while sipping my morning coffee. My daughter-in-law thought I would be interested in reading some articles from a neuroscience journal she receives. While much of the research writing was way over my head, I was immediately struck by an article that examined the elements of wisdom as it applies to aging and loneliness. It was timely considering the isolation we have all been experiencing since the beginning of the pandemic.
As I read the article, absorbing its content, I began to think about wisdom in a broader sense. It occurred to me that perhaps what has been most absent in our country is our understanding and cultivation of wisdom. I would go even further as to propose that this lack of true wisdom in much of our citizenship has contributed to many of our deep-seated divisions and wide-spread intolerance. As I watched the inauguration of our 46th president this past week, I heard the word “wisdom” mentioned over and over.
It’s time for all of us to consciously recognize and nurture our path towards wisdom. Reviewing the aspects of wisdom put forth in this article, I’ve made a commitment to examine my own performance on the “wisdom” scale, identify my strengths and weaknesses with respect to each element and strive to improve each day – even just a little bit. I believe it is what we all must do as a nation and a world.
Wisdom has been defined in many ways for centuries. All of the following aspects can be found in various discussions on wisdom: the ability to express empathy and compassion, the use of emotional intelligence strategies in everyday life, the engagement of self-reflection, a willingness to be attentive and listen to other points of view, the capacity to give and receive advice, the ability to be decisive and the concern for and embrace of spirituality. We may never completely attain wisdom but I believe the importance is in the honest individual effort to try.
Part of my routine for nourishing my spiritual health includes my daily walks and photographic meditations along the way. Over the next few weeks, my challenge is to compose photos with an eye towards processing them in black and white.