So often, I hear people putting themselves down for their level of education, their intelligence, or their wisdom. The truth is that each of us is much wiser then we give ourselves credit for. One of the questions I ask my students every semester is “how do you know what you know?” They struggle with that question all semester, usually thinking about this question in terms of how do they know what they know in terms of their personality, their likes, dislikes, values, etc. How do they know what they know about world, national, and local news? How do they know what they know about their families? Given the biases in the reporting of the news, textbooks, the media, and just about any other source of information in the world, how do we know what we know?
Some of us think that wisdom comes with going to school, aging, or experience. Some think it comes from reading, conversations with friends, or expanding one’s horizons.
However, the kind of wisdom that I have been thinking about is none of the above. It is not something one acquires. It is one we are born with. Think about this for a moment. Who taught you how to breathe when you were born? Who taught your blood how to flow through the myriad of veins and arteries? Who taught you to cry when you were hungry or wet or just needed some tender loving care? Who taught you how to sleep? Who taught you to suck from a bottle or your mother’s breast? Who taught you to burp when patted on the back? Who taught you how to process the food and beverages that you ate or drank? How many other things were you born just knowing without thinking about how you know it? It is not that kind of knowledge that you can share with others or even talk about over drinks with friends.
This silent wisdom, as Don Miguel Ruiz calls it, just is. This silent wisdom has no preference. It is given to everyone in the world regardless of racial or ethnic identity, class, sexuality, gender, sex, religious or spiritual affiliation, or any other factor. It is not the kind of wisdom you can learn at a school or gain a degree in; it just is. You can’t gain it through experience or inherit it from your family; you are born with it.
It is a form of Divine Wisdom. We come into this world knowing how to do the most important things in life – breathe, sleep, allow blood to circulate through our bodies, for our heart to beat, and love. These are just a few of the divine wisdoms we are born with. We may acquire other forms of wisdom and knowledge in our lives. However, how often do we think about the wisdom that we were born with? The next time you breathe, feel your pulse, go to the bathroom, or close your eyes to go to sleep, or reach out to someone for some love and support, think about how wise you are for knowing how to do these things. Think about where that wisdom came from and how blessed you are to have been born with this Divine Wisdom.