What is Wisdom?

I joined Conscious Café in London recently where the topic of discussion was wisdom.

It was kindly hosted in someone’s home and about 20 of us sat around in a large circle on a mixture of deep cushioned sofa’s and  upright hard chairs. There was a mix of backgrounds in the group. Someone from Italy, someone from Nigeria, a lady who lived 6 months of the year in Egypt and two token gentlemen.

We started by answering the question of what people thought wisdom actually was. It was a polite group, with people taking turns to say what they thought a definition was. Mostly people thought it was something you got from life experience and education. Although there was the recognition that some people simply seem to be wiser than others; they were born wise.

As the discussion progressed it became clear that there were certain members of the group that liked to talk. It was also clear that some members, including myself, did not contribute anything. In fact, it got to a point where one lady was continually commenting on anything anyone contributed and was quite unaware that they were causing some frustration with other group members.

It was because of this lady that what I thought would be an interesting but low key meeting, and one I was happy to be involved in,  suddenly turned out to be quite a drama!

A woman who had been contributing her thoughts quite well, but also engaging with others, suddenly asked the lady who had been non-stop interrupting to maybe give some other people a chance to say something. Most of us had been thinking this but certainly didn’t have the courage to voice it! However, this feedback was not received well, and the accused lady stormed out of the room, despite pleas to return and left us all feeling slightly stunned. I haven’t witnessed behaviour like that in an adult for some time!

So you can imagine how the topic of discussion went off track somewhat, and went onto ‘what on earth happened there’.

Although I felt very uncomfortable in true British style, it was fascinating how different everyone felt after the incident. Some felt uncomfortable like me. Both the Italian and Nigerian lady said that was normal and in their cultures they would have dragged the lady back in the room! Some felt the woman shouldn’t have confronted this lady so directly. But what truly fascinated me was how it allowed the room of people to open up and voice their opinion. No-one was wrong, it was simply a way of approaching and coping with a situation. And isn’t that what wisdom is all about? Sharing and learning from others in an honest, open environment?

I did get my turn to speak in the end, and speak I did. I shared that since my spiritual awakening some 6 years ago now, I have a very different view of wisdom. I feel wisdom comes from within, from your soul, and is a result of your many past lives and experiences. It is the result of much much more than this one life time. I also shared that whilst there are some people in this world that you would agree were wise and inspiring, I truly felt that we are all wise and can learn from anyone we meet. Everyone has a piece of wisdom to offer, you just need to listen. I felt that the meeting had been a true example of that and it had been a privilege to be part of the discussion with so many honest and open people.