My Wise Self seemed to be out to lunch. I walked my dog, hunting for a new point of view. With no idea of my angst, he was ecstatic. As he frolicked. I stewed. Irritated with the way I handled a difficult client communication, I wanted to clean up the relationship mess I’d made, but I couldn’t stop thinking how I was right and she was wrong.
My Reactive Self ruled for a few more minutes until I asked “what else is true?”
I had to admit my client was speaking from her truth. I just didn’t like it.
I asked again, “What else is true?” A new feeling rose in me, I felt afraid for her employee who suffered under her biting sarcasm. Again. “What else is true?” Her observation about a problem that stemmed from another team member seemed right on and included a really useful insight.
Beginning to value her wisdom, I saw her in a different light. If wisdom is an expression of our inherent wholeness, I could let her be all of who she is – wise and unwise, insightful and challenging. Now that I see the best of who she is, with my focus on her Wise Self, I knew we could speak honestly and that I could share how much I care. Now I would ask if she would be willing to hear some feedback about her communication style and why it causes the problems that result.
Wherever we direct attention, those thoughts or feelings grow in size and weight until they become the biggest, most tangible, seemingly real point of view. I faced a choice to put my focus on “I was right” or on “she delivered her point in an unkind way.” The first, rather unwise possibility, led to all kinds of potentially nasty consequences. The second wiser option opened the door to new levels of working together.
It’s up to us to Value wisdom when we see it, feel it, and say it. These 3 steps put us on the path to respecting and intensifying wisdom:
Reflect on the Ripples. Pay attention to what happens – what results from wise choices vs unwise choices? Assess objectively the impact of unwise actions. Leave the judgment out. Simply look. Why does it matter if we act out of a small fearful unwise reactionary self? What ripples out?
Assess the value to you when a friend, spouse, or neighbor acts wisely. Why does it matter when they speak from their broader clear-seeing Wise Self? What results?
Embody wise vs unwise. Use all your senses to evaluate what changes – why was that unwise? How does it look, feel, or sound when you are wise? Bringing your reflections into body sensations encourages less habitual and more generative choices in the future.
Acknowledge wise actions. When you are blessed to work with a wise leader, colleague, or staff tell them how they make a different kind of difference. Be specific. Identify the behaviors and ways of thinking that make up wise actions from your point of view.
Wisdom matters. Invite your Wise Self to lunch. Appreciate the treasures revealed by wisdom – the nuggets of golden compassion, crystalline insight, or vast perspective that can sometimes change a life. It’s available to all of us. Now.
“Wisdom is available to us all. Knowing this helps to cut through our habitual negative opinions about our selves as being somehow imperfect, or not of the same quality, capacity or potential as some great sage. We tend to feel that somehow their minds are intrinsically different, more powerful, more pure, more capable than our own.” Ajahn Amaro, Buddhist Monk
To learn more about ways to develop your wisdom take a look at my blog titled 6 Ways to Develop Your Wisdom. I’d love to hear what works for you.
What is possible?
Check out the rest of the website to learn more about my consulting work and how we can partner with you to bring more wisdom into your leadership or company.