What is wisdom? This is one of the world’s timeless Big Questions.
Wisdom is an endangered natural resource today, in our agitated and benighted world. We overlook and ignore it at our peril. Wisdom is as wisdom does. One would be foolish if enlightened only from the eyebrows up. Wisdom is the panacean pearl of great price, and priceless too. Wisdom can be developed, and it can also be awakened within us. Working from both ends or sides—from outside in, or from top down as well as from bottom up, swooping while climbing—we can gradually explore, develop and attain discerning wisdom through information and learning, first; then investigation and inquiry, analysis, reflection and contemplation; leading progressively to greater conceptual understanding, self-awareness and application (in daily life); integration, realization, illumination, gnosis, and ultimately “the wisdom which surpasses understanding”.
Meanwhile, we can attend mindfully to things and relations, causes and effects in such a way as to awaken our direct intuition and an instantaneous, unmediated (by thought and concept) holistic grasp of the entire situation. As the ancient Chinese saying goes: She who knows the world has knowledge, she who knows herself is wise.