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Embracing difference through reshaping our wisdom

Lifestyle By Mar 19, 2024 No Comments

The fact that something exists is the evidence for its wisdom. Those that were not successful at “manifesting an existence” were not “wise enough”, and neither were those that “fell out of existence”. Wisdom seems to be one of the ingredients that make existence possible. And for each instance of existence, the nature of the wisdom that supports it to exist is unique to it. This means that everything and every one is wise in their own way to the degree that they exist and can maintain a place in existence. That wisdom falls into the background of their ways of being and influences their “sense of right”. This “sense of right” makes up their “language of experience”.

In a recent Lived Quality Conversation, Dr. Faith Elizabeth Nanyonga shared an example of communication with her one-year-old daughter, who engages in meaningful interactions with her mother despite her inability to speak. This kind of communication shows the depth of language and how it extends beyond speech and text to encompass the broader context. There’s a non-verbal understanding that flows between beings, and when tapped into, the deeper intended meaning can be revealed. It’s as if through “holding a space” for her daughter, it allowed Faith to see and hear the meaning in her daughter’s communication, and that allowed her to see the wisdom of her daughter and learn the character of that person even before they had developed all the other abilities that would enable them to present themselves in a more clear way. Holding space for those we are communicating with allows us to perceive and appreciate the wisdom they convey in their unique modes of expression.

To achieve this capability that enables us to adapt to new situations, we are required to reshape our wisdom. It’s an effortful process where we learn to “read the context” to sense the “right meaning” in the communication. When we do this, we unlock new insights that would not have been possible previously. This is similar to how stone masons exhibit a good understanding of the wisdom of rocks, enabling them to reshape them into forms of beauty and useful tools. We have to be able to see the sculpture in marble, as Michaelangelo would say. Similarly, when we approach differences and enigmas as opportunities for learning, we expand our understanding and learn to see the wisdom that we could not see before.

Difference is a feature that reflects our unique wisdom sets. This means that there’s value in appreciating difference without dismissing it. We easily get tempted to use a moral filter to assess whether something is good or bad for us; however, in so doing, we lose the opportunity to appreciate the value in the difference. Our wisdom, intentions, and history always delimit what we “see” in a situation. Being aware of this allows us to appreciate that we might not see clearly what is unfolding right before us; therefore, we have to “sense check” what we think we are seeing and understanding. Most of the time, when we think someone is wrong, it’s most likely because we cannot make sense of what they are expressing and where they are coming from. But this doesn’t mean they are wrong. It means we have to work to unpack that meaning.

The experience of immigration is a good example of dealing with differences. When you immigrate to a different country or city, you quickly discover that it’s a very different place in many ways. In the beginning, you might consider all the ways in which the new place is “better” than where you came from; however, over time, this changes. You start to notice that it is “different” and offers “different opportunities” and that the place you moved from was also different and offered different opportunities. And now, you are in a situation where you have to decide how to work with this difference. The challenges presented are different, too.

Working with differences enhances our self-awareness and boosts our confidence, allowing us to leave a unique imprint on the activities we’re involved in. However, this process requires us to actively employ and further develop our understanding while facing the associated consequences. Without “reality-testing” one’s wisdom, it always remains just an idea. As Yoda, the wise Jedi master, might say, “Do or do not, there is no try.” By actively applying our knowledge, we refine our understanding and learn to mould it in ways that help us grasp the essence of the situations we encounter. Thus, everyone possesses their own form of wisdom, which is distinct and valuable in its right.

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