Step 6 – Wisdom
May I Become Wise Through My Meditation”
Before heaven and earth
There was something nebulous
unchanging and alone
the Mother of All Things
I do not know its name
I call it Tao.
(Tao Te Ching)
Now in Step Six, we focus on the cultivation of wisdom through meditation. Here we are referring to a Wisdom “that surpasses all understanding,” a Wisdom that surpasses conceptualization, a Wisdom that emerges from meditation leavened by the sum total of our own life experience.
Among the world’s contemplative traditions, there are varieties of practices that have been designed for many types of spiritual styles and levels of meditative experience. The wisdom that emerges with each of us will arise from various influences including the teachings, teachers and traditions we are drawn to, our own life’s deep experiences, and the non-conceptual transcendent experience that can emerge from deep meditation. With sincere respect and appreciation for the wisdom of others and dedication to our own practice, we silently engage in our own meditation. Alone or in community we deepen of our own wisdom as we are enlivened by InterSpiritual communion with others whose diverse experiences of the “sacred” expand and deepen our own wisdom experience and understanding.
(1) Video Intro:
(2) Readings: ISM Part II, Step Six, Pages 131-141, 177-202 (Thomas Keating, Yogi Nataraja Kallio, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Rabbi Jeff Roth, Kenneth Cohen.)
Our readings this week will also include articles and guided meditations from Father Thomas Keating (Christianity), Yogi Nataraja Kallio (Hinduism), Pir Zia Inayat-Khan (Sufism), Rabbi Jeff Roth (Judaism), and Kenneth Cohen (Taoism).
(3) Resources: Take a look at the additional resources I have provided for this topic and do some of your own research. Gather together and reflect on your own resources, life experiences and the wisdom of a teacher of tradition that most resonates with you.
(4) Journaling: Contemplate the meaning of wisdom or insight based on a teacher(s) or tradition(s) that resonates with you, and write about this as the inspiration for your meditation. Clearly, there are both shared and diverse formulations of wisdom among traditions. Therefore, it is up to you to discern whether or not the wisdom formulations all spiritual traditions point to the same or diverse perspectives on ultimate truth. And, whether modern science can be interpreted to support these perspectives. As you’ll find, there are various learned opinions that support either hypothesis.
Our job here, however, is to focus on the “processes” through which non-conceptual wisdom can arise. As we do, it is helpful to be intimately familiar with the following attributes. In your journal, you might use the the following attributes as a possible outline for your writing.
- The importance for tranquil focus as articulated in Step 5 “May I become Mindful through my Breathing.”
- The transcendent insight espoused by teachers and traditions you respect that might emerge through your meditation.
- The wisdom insight that can emerge from both a via positica and via negativa approach to meditation.
- The bliss that might arise from mindfulness and wisdom meditation and then become a distraction.
- The equanimity and absorption that might arise from Mindful focus along with transcendent insight.
- The experience of oneness, unity that might be experienced amidst the marvelous interdependent diversity of existence.
(5) Meditation: Practice the seven steps with special emphasis on Step Six.
(6) Weekly Class Audio-Video Recordings
If you weren’t able to attend the live online class, or would like to watch/listen again, please click the following link.
Inner wisdom has a chance to emerge when the mind is calm, focussed and the obstacles of wisdom have been quelled. Our wisdom can also co-emerge from our preferred spiritual traditions, scientific truths, or the sum total of our life experiences. Please reflect on how wisdom is emerging for you at this stage of your contemplative development.