Creating lasting value in your life is about developing wisdom. Many believe we find the path to wisdom in understanding the lesson of these experiences.
12 Lessons of Wisdom
Your ability to learn depends upon the level of your awareness. That being the case, some of these strategies or experiences won’t make sense unless you expand your awareness. Only when you expand awareness, will you be able to understand these stepping stones of life? Perhaps the ones that don’t immediately resonate with you are the ones you need the most. You may even realize you’ve missed the opportunity to learn some of these.
Don’t be discouraged. We all start in different places. And, remember, we all make mistakes and miss opportunities to learn and grow. This too is a part of our learning process. Keep doing the right things and you will progress. Help others along the way. Copy the link to this article to your favorites and review it as a reminder.
You’ll see this list contains a range of different things. It involves inner work, the philosophy of life, tools for development, and practical organization. If you apply these to your life, it will make a difference.
1. Learning to Observe your Thoughts
You will spot purple cars everywhere if you are constantly looking for them. Similarly, you will find opportunities if you are thinking of finding new opportunities. So, you will also be angry with life if you are constantly seeking life’s irritations and frustrations.
Therefore, it is so important to learn how to observe and direct your thought life. Above all, this is one of the important life lessons. If you don’t learn how to do this, then you are more likely to involve in harmful thought patterns. As a result, you’ll miss all the beauty and opportunities that exist. If you don’t learn to do this, you’ll have a hard time applying the other lessons of wisdom. Before you can direct your thoughts, you must learn to observe without judgment. It’s a stepping stone of wisdom.
The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.
— Jiddu Krishnamurti
2. Guard Your Health and Wellness
Our ability to experience life lives in our ability to maintain our physical and mental health. We are all in a unique place regarding our health and wellness. Just because you are the perfect picture of health doesn’t mean you aren’t important. So more and more people conclude that durability should be the goal. Our health and wellness affect our path.
One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.
— Stephen Hawking
So, this means, engaging in self-care. Listening to music and spending time in meditation. Do all the things that are good for you without hurting anyone or the environment. This is one of the primary lessons of wisdom.
3. Learn to Walk Your Own Path
This is perhaps the most important decision of your life. Walking your own path is the opposite of following a religion. Religion is dogma concerning a supreme being and what may happen after you die. Some include and rules for governing behavior. It’s within a cloak of fear of eternal punishment for those that disagree and an eternal paradise for those who submit. Whereas, walking your own path is spiritual exploration.
Spiritual technologies are tools for exploring consciousness. They are processes that can change or expand our awareness. Some of them are also doorways to higher states of consciousness. In short, spiritual technologies are methods of change. These processes result from eons of research by cultures around the world. Using these tools is what we call spiritual exploration.
These tools stand up to the test of science. That’s because they are repeatable. Several produce measurable changes in our physiology. It’s important to realize what spiritual exploration is not.
Spiritual exploration does not involve belief in a religion. This means they are available to anyone that can follow a process. It’s like baking a cake. If you use the right ingredients and follow the directions, you get something delicious. The processes are formulas or ingredients for exploring consciousness.
There are many ways to list these methods. One simple way is to divide them into four primary groups. You could list some of these tools in more than one group.
- Analytical Tools
- Awareness Expansion Tools
- Healing Practices
The study of spiritual things seems like an odd place to find analytical tools. However, analytical processes are vital to the spiritual quest. They are a valuable stepping stone of the intellect. This is because their use enhances our reasoning ability. This helps us to think more clearly. This helps us avoid many of the common obstacles. The two tools in this group are Logical Reasoning and The Enneagram of Personality.
The study of logic is the first tool we use in our group practice. It’s especially helpful for those new to the spiritual path. We come back to review them regularly. This keeps them fresh in our minds.
We use a set of three related tools. The first tool is Logical reasoning. This article summarizes logic. It shows how people misuse logic to sell us ideas and beliefs. Next is spotting logical fallacies. This module provides practical examples of the most common logical fallacies. The last module, the logical axioms, ties everything together.
Comparative Analysis is another valuable analytical tool. This is a systematic approach to research based on the scientific model. It is a method that compares ideas and beliefs from different worldviews.
This process introduces the challenge of comparing their beliefs to other worldviews. Here we also learn why it is so important to use emotional checks. It helps us research with the least amount of bias and prejudice.
Above all, the use of logical reasoning and comparative analysis will sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction. So, these aren’t just for research. You’ll find a use for these tools every day. Besides their use in religion, politics, they are also helpful with TV and Radio newscasts.
The Enneagram of Personality
The Enneagram of Personality is a tool that helps us understand the mechanisms of Ego, personality, and instinct. Modern psychology and the Enneagram share many of the same concepts and authors. Borrowing and then building on the work of others was and remains a common practice. For instance, Jungian psychology parallels the structure of the Enneagram. It has nine processes of consciousness.
The core of the Enneagram Personality Profile is a series of questionnaires. If you provide honest answers, you will get an accurate profile of our personality. The scientific method of testing verifies the accuracy of this tool. The system goes beyond identification into deeper thought processes and beliefs. It integrates spiritual and psychological understanding. It will lead you to an understanding of the source of your personal power.
When you say spiritual practice, many people think of meditation. Seated and moving forms of meditation are the centerpiece of spiritual exploration. The practice of meditation is now common knowledge. Both seated and moving meditation bring many health and wellness benefits. Many people believe meditation is the most important stepping stones of spiritual practice.
Seated meditation is the heart of many spiritual practices. Meditation is a range of mental tools for exploring consciousness. It has everything from Mindfulness Meditation through Japa or Transcendental Meditation (TM). And also includes more advanced practices like the Siddhis of Patanjali.
Moving meditation is action together with a heightened level of awareness. So, this includes a range of activities involving the mind-body connection. Using these modalities helps improve our health and wellness. This progression includes energy collection modalities like Qigong and Tai Chi. It also includes Forest Bathing. techniques for grounding, like Tree Grounding and Sun Gazing.
Awareness Expansion Tools
This group is a mix of tools dealing with awareness and perception. This group of processes starts with the Shamanic Journey or Guided Meditation. It also includes lucid dreaming, third-eye awakening exercises, and techniques to improve memory. Another important tool is the spiritual journal or book of shadows. This is your best coach. It also includes exercises like automatic writing. You could list these tools among some groups. However, we like to list separately because of their importance to awareness.
The Shamanic Journey is probably man’s first spiritual technology. This traditional method is at the core of many indigenous cultures. It serves as evidence to the historical importance of the inner quest.
There are many variations on this theme, but all use essentially the same formula. Rhythm is a key element that regulates heart rate and breathing. Then the mind projects an inner world providing the lucid journey. A Shaman is a person who guides people through this journey in the spirit world. However, you can take this inward journey by yourself. This tool for changing awareness uses a range of seated and moving forms.
This is one of the ancient technologies that people have tried to rename or rebrand. They do this to make the Shamanic Journey more marketable. So, some people know it as guided meditation or creative visualization.
The last group is healing practices. This group includes a diverse set of tools such as Pe Jet from Indonesia, or Reiki, and Shiatsu from Japan. Vedic medicine is also available, along with other traditional healing forms. Self-care is a vital part of this group. Our overall health and wellness affect every aspect of life.
Using any healing method is a natural outlet for our positive energy. Many people come to the healing arts as a secondary interest. Then they find it is an enjoyable way of giving back and helping others.
4. Be a Survivor Instead of a Victim
Choosing the role of the survivor is another vital decision. So, you can see life in two ways. Either the Universe is on your side or it is against you. If you think the Universe is against you, then it’s easy to take the role of the victim.
As a victim, you feel entitled to a pity-party. And if others don’t join in your pity-party they are against you too. The victim is always looking for ways to be a victim. As a victim, you’ll never be a survivor and never the champion.
To move from the role of the victim, you must stop placing blame for life’s random acts of chaos. To do this, you must learn to course-correct your thought patterns. You must learn to observe your thoughts and then redirect your thinking.
For example, if you are driving a car and someone pulls out in front of you, don’t automatically think they are out to get you. Instead, think they must be in a hurry. Perhaps they are late for work or an important meeting. Don’t take everything that happens as a personal attack. Don’t automatically place ill intent to the actions of others. If you don’t know the basic mindfulness meditation practice. Learn it and use it. Learning to be a survivor and a champion instead of the victim.
The benefit is that your day easier, less stressful. You’ll enjoy things more. You’ll see opportunities for helping others. Hanlon’s razor is an aphorism which expresses this idea perfectly.
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
— Robert J. Hanlon
5. Learn to Give and Share
If you don’t learn to give and share as a child, the world suffers. We must learn we should not always the main character on the stage of life. This can be a hard lesson, especially if you were the center of attention as a child. Adults with this mindset believe everything and everyone is here to support their leading role.
Eventually, this life lesson will force itself to be learned. They fail at something big. Worse yet, when they lose, they take others down with them. Don’t let this be you. Instead, adopt a beginner’s mindset to promote learning and sharing.
Realize being a good supporting actor is good for you and others in your circle of influence. Let others take the staring role. Allow your role to change with the ebb and flow of circumstances. Share and give others the center stage.
Likewise, learn to give away that which you seek. That’s the way to plant seeds which will lead to a harvest. For example, one of the best ways to deal with loss is to be of service to others. Do what you can in your sphere of influence. Look at it this way. You can be a giver or a taker.
Givers tend to be happier than takers. Ask yourself, do you take more than you give? Guess what? As an overall “giver” you and everyone around you will benefit. As a giver, you’ll begin to enjoy things more. You’ll see opportunities for helping others. Giving is the key to opening your heart to the benefits of vulnerability.
If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have. — John O’Donohue
6. Avoid Tunnel Vision
There are three outlooks on life, pessimistic, optimistic, and realistic. Being locked into any one of these will cause tunnel vision. Or, more precisely, the lack of proper vision.
In the pessimistic outlook, you’ll see everything resulting in its worst possible outcome. It’s not a bad thing to assess the risk of things. However, if you get caught in the pessimistic spiral could lead to depression. So, learn how to observe your thought life. The moment you catch yourself racing after some apocalypse, stop. Take a deep breath. Find the place of equilibrium.
Being an eternal optimist also presents problems. The optimist ignores the problems. Or, tries to drown out problems by pretending. Thinking happy thoughts isn’t always the way out. Sometimes you need to face the music. Realize that things don’t always work out. Look at things realistically. Find the equilibrium of life in its ups and downs.
As a realist, you must find the courage to embrace both the optimistic and pessimistic outlooks. Otherwise, you will miss opportunities contained in both success and failure. Learn to maintain equilibrium. Write a list of things you are grateful for in your life. Put this list somewhere you can see it. This will help you to change the trajectory of your thoughts and emotions. Constantly ask yourself what should I be learning?
And, you guessed it. The benefit is that your day easier, less stressful. You’ll begin to enjoy things more. You’ll see opportunities for helping others. All three outlooks have their place. Don’t get stuck in one. Don’t get stuck in any one perspective. Live life using all three roles.
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. — William Arthur Ward
7. Communicate with Honesty
If honest communication is the root of happiness, then poor communication root of unhappiness. You must cultivate the courage to communicate honestly when it is possible and practical. You must learn to discern when it is both practical and safe to communicate honestly. There are situations where you need to use restraint in communication. However, with your inner circle, you must cultivate the ability to communicate honestly. You cultivate honesty by being honest.
Communication is tricky. Assuming your communication is always understood the way you intended is a mistake. So, always solicit feedback to ensure that the meaning of the message is understood. Remember, most people aren’t listening to hear but to respond to what you are saying. That means most of their computing power isn’t on receiving the intent of your message. People can’t read your mind or your expectations. If your message isn’t understood then you’ll always be disappointed. See the above point about being the victim.
This is one of those realizations that will take the pressure off. It will make you easier to live with. If you learn to communicate realistic expectations, you will be disappointed less often. Don’t confuse simple choices with bias and prejudice. Learn to spot in yourself and others.
8. Overcome Decision Paralysis
The idea that the Universe will send an omen or sign to confirm every decision leads to decision paralysis. Waiting for a divine sign leads to many disappointments. That’s because the Universe doesn’t care whether you buy broccoli or green beans. They either don’t get the omen or interpret it wrong.
To be sure, synchronicities and omens occur. However, more often than not life’s decisions in our hands. How are we to gain lessons of wisdom if we don’t make our own decisions? So, if you don’t get a sign for an important decision. Perhaps it’s a sign the Universe wants you to decide. The more major decisions, the more experience you gain. And, believe it or not, your life less stressful when you take responsibility for your own decisions.
Overcoming “decision paralysis” requires the courage to take calculated risks. However, don’t confuse risky behavior with calculated risks. Learn the difference. We should avoid unnecessary or unreasonable risks. The study of logical reasoning and related tools will help to discern the distinction. The stepping stones of logic will make your decisions more accurate.
At our core, we are essentially choice makers. Making decisions and choices involves a risk assessment. Learn how to estimate probabilities from possibilities. Again, the study of logical reasoning key to this ability. Live boldly but not stupidly. Remember, you are human and you will make mistakes. However, learn from your mistakes. Learn the lesson and choose more wisely. This is one of those experiences of life that repeats infinitely.
The benefit here is twofold. If your risk works out you win. If you lose, you learn a valuable lesson to help you next time.
Analysis paralysis is an epidemic that cripples countless dreams and great ideas. Be swift, decisive, and always move forward! — Matthew Loop
9. Avoid Perfectionism and Comparison
Perfection is the holy grail of any master. The master wants his servants to strive for perfection. They want us to strive for perfection because it is nearly impossible to attain but keeps us focused on the task. The master would have us “believe” we call can attain perfection even though it is unrealistic. So, we compare ourselves to perfection and find we fall short. We are in prison. Comparing our current state to someone or something else is what drives the cultural narrative of consumerism. It places you in a prison of ever-changing and unrealistic values.
For instance, we see an advertisement that shows the benefits a product can bring. It shows a beautiful person having a beautiful life. And, you want this too, but you must buy this product. So, we compare the difference in our situation. And, as a result, are seduced into buying the product. Learn to question the cultural narrative. Learn you already are perfect in your state of imperfection. In our consumer-driven culture, this is one of the things you’ll need to master. Don’t let yourself be seduced by advertising or propaganda. By the way, this tactic isn’t new. It was perfected by Western Organized religion to sell you all sorts of things from an Afterlife to the cleansing of your guilty conscience.
The benefit of this is almost immediate. You’ll find self-acceptance. And, you’ll buy less stuff. Instead, you’ll value people more than things.
You don’t love someone because they’re perfect; you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not. — Jodi Picoult
Comparison is the death of joy. — Mark Twain
10. Learn the Value of Time
Time is our most valuable possession. When you go to work for someone you allowing them to purchase your life’s greatest asset. But most people treat their time as something meaningless. We certainly don’t know exactly how much time we have. So, you need to be aware of its value. Be mindful of how you use it. Treat your time like it is gold. Guard it closely. The biggest time-waster is most of what is on the TV. For example, the news is a thief under the guise of providing useful information. Instead, it’s mostly propaganda keeping you a customer to sell advertising. The biggest time thief is religion. It has perfected groupthink manipulation on a massive scale.
Ask yourself the question, does TV, the News, or Religion make your life better? Or, does it fuel anger? Cut these out and you’ll find immediately that life easier, less stressful. You’ll begin to enjoy things more. You’ll see opportunities for helping others.
11. Learn to Let Go
Time passes. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have regrets. It also means it’s easy not to let go of pain from past trauma. Everyone says all you need to do is to forgive. However, they don’t tell you it’s not a one-time thing. Sure the pain was often caused by one person or one event. But, the act of forgiveness is a continual process to let go of that memory or pain.
There are two great teachers, the world and your heart. And, there are two great lessons, we live and we die. Above all, there are two great experiences, love and loss. — Guru Tua
It’s hard to think of loss as a great experience. But, in a sense, real happiness would not be possible without it. It helps us appreciate and savor the things that really matter. Working through the process of letting things go helps us grow. It’s a perspective you need to learn how to embrace.
They say that the concept of closure is reserved for people who have never really suffered. There’s no such thing as forgetting it. You may always have some regret and doubt about your loss. You may always second guess yourself. If only you had said this, or tried that.
The same applies to the “things” we accumulate. Don’t let the things you own become the things that own you. So, learn to de-clutter your life. Don’t fall into the trap of consumerism. Let go of things that simply take up space. There are several resources on this subject. Find one the resonates. There are always opportunities in our life to practice this, so this must be one of the important things to learn. And, this applies to friends and especially spiritual relationships and teachers.
12. Thrive Where You Are
To live a fulfilled life, one needs three ingredients. These elements are courage, hope, and vulnerability. Add when you add these three together and you get fulfillment. Above all, fill your life with hope and allow yourself to become vulnerable. This will open your eyes to social injustice. As a result, it will give your heart direction. You’ll find a place and space in your sphere of influence to contribute. Learn to live a courageous life.
The more courageous you are, the more you will awaken. Thus, your conscience will also grow. This will show you where you can make a difference.
Stepping Stones of Life
If we are present, we can see these lessons of wisdom. If we are asleep, we will find ourselves repeating the same situation. So, when this happens ask yourself “what’s the lesson”?
We hope you found this article helpful, maybe even thought-provoking. You will find more interesting posts on our blog page. Use the “search” option on the blog page to find articles by key terms, topics, or category.
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Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia