Wisdom is not knowing more, but knowing with more of you, knowing deeper.
I came across this quote from Cynthia Bourgeault in one of Fr. Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations some weeks ago. I love this idea of knowing deeper.
So much knowing today feels shallow; a mere endless collecting of more information. Many of us are getting smarter, but are we getting wiser?
Wisdom does not stem from the accumulation of ever more intellectual knowledge. But knowing what wisdom isn’t doesn’t mean we know what it is.
Our secular society has come to see intellectual knowledge as the only valuable source of knowledge. It is a vital source. But one of the earliest stages of wisdom is recognising there are other sources too.
We need to stop thinking that science, reason, and logic are our only teachers. We don't abandon their input. Of course not! But we recognise that wisdom isn’t found from a blinkered pursuit of intellectual knowledge.
Wisdom recognises that there are other, deeper sources of insight. Our body. Our emotions. Our senses. All these can be our teachers. And these other teachers can be what move us from knowing more to knowing deeper.
How can our emotions teach us? This is what Fr. Richard says:
Great emotions are especially powerful teachers. Love, ecstasy, hatred, jealousy, fear, despair, anguish: each have their lessons. Even anger and rage are great teachers, if we listen to them. They have so much power to reveal our deepest self to ourselves and to others, yet we tend to consider them negatively.
And on our senses:
Bodily or sensory knowing comes through the senses, by touching, moving, smelling, seeing, hearing, breathing, tasting—and especially at a deep or unconscious level. Becoming aware of our senses in a centered way allows us to awaken, to listen, to connect. It allows us to know reality more deeply, on our body’s terms instead of our brain’s terms.
There are other types of knowing Fr. Richard explores in a later post too. But these two examples make the point clearly. To become wise, and more than mere talking heads, we need to recognise that there is more to knowledge than intellectual knowledge.
Thankfully, we don’t have to choose one type of knowing instead of another. Let's embrace them all!