Last year, my goal was all about doing things that cultivated my happiness. Whilst writing my plan for 2018, which is all about wisdom, I found that my list of goals were entirely different. Instead of lots of tasks relating to going places and exploring new things, my objectives for nurturing wisdom are more low key and hand-in-hand with one another. Essentially, they all point to further developing healthy habits rather than achieving one off thrills. Looking at my listed goals, I can see them categorised into 5 different themes.
1. Honing existing skills
Instead of attempting new things, which is great for discovery of new interests or places, nurturing wisdom means that you need to thoroughly explore the ins and outs of things. You aim to learn the essence of what pulls all of your studies together. For example, one of my objectives is to woodcarve an item. I have dabbled in woodcarving for a couple of years, but I still don’t fully understand which wood might work best for a project or which chisel might do a job better. These are things that a master would instantly know and understand. So if I want to really be wise at woodcarving, I need to understand my craft thoroughly. This means a lot of patience and plenty of anticipated failures which provide new learnings and a deeper understanding. You won’t be a master of anything if you aren’t prepared to fall down many times and pick yourself back up just as many times.
There is so much noise. Everywhere. I even think of objects and mess as ‘visual noise’. Everywhere I look or listen there is some form of clutter. This also includes internal clutter – lots of thoughts and feelings. Great clarity and understanding comes when the noise ceases. It is a reason why I practice mindfulness and meditation. These are both practices that give us the time and space to hear our innermost selves. In doing so, we better understand ourselves and can maintain a balanced life. We also see the interconnection between all things and how they can have positive or negative impacts on one another. It helps aid us to be better to ourselves and others.
3. Taking action
I used to read so many books on how to be a better person / how to have a balanced lifestyle, etc. One day I looked at my bookshelf and realised how many of these books I owned and that pretty much all of them had the same message. The only reason why I was no nearer to having a balanced lifestyle was because I spent all of my time reading about how to be more balanced rather than acting upon it. Taking action is necessary and once we have achieved a sense of equilibrium within ourselves, it’s important to try to help others. So this year, a lot of my actions will involve training others to take control of their lives and find a sense of peace.
4. Self care
Put frankly, to have the conscience to be wise you need to be alive and well in the first place! I put a lot of onus on mental health awareness and care, but not enough on physical care. Both need to be in place however, as both impact one another. If you’re feeling low, you tend to experience this in your body – through gritted teeth / lethargy / over-eating that results in weight gain / under-eating that results in weight loss, etc. If you have some physical pain, this is also experienced mentally – stress due to having to deal with a bad back / sadness due to illness, etc. Both are intertwined, so it’s essential that there are adequate steps in place to ensure that balance is maintained. From my end, this means I really need to exercise and improve my posture!
5. Listen and recognise
You teach by speaking. You learn by listening. I have been listening to the talk Luminous Mind by Catherine Ingram on Insight Timer. Whilst there are many interesting points within Ingram’s talk, one that I found poignant was her view on how people often think that a place of pure freedom/enlightenment is something to be attained. But in reality, it is something to be recognised. Nurturing wisdom is precisely the same – practicing to recognise what is already present.
I’m very excited about 2018, focusing on mastery and doing my part to help spread some good in the world.
Happy New Year everyone!