Knowledge is complicated. It requires searching the world through the senses and using the mind to think things through. One might find what one is looking for. One might not. Knowledge is unsure, unpredictable, uncontrollable. It is searching for what is outside oneself, or outside one’s immediate consciousness.
Wisdom is simple. It doesn’t require searching. Looking is the wrong mode for wisdom. It is defined by remembering. Seeing what one already knows but is constantly liable to forget. It is what is inherent in every breath, every move, every thought. It requires simply being with it. Not finding it, or discovering it, or spreading it with others, like a treasure found in one place but not in another place.
Knowledge is like treasure. Wisdom is like air.
Wisdom is just one thing: being aware, not forgetting, that the universe is much bigger than me, much bigger than my family and friends and community, much bigger than my opponents, much bigger than humans in general and much bigger than life on earth.
This awareness is in us, made evident by our lack of control in the vastness of the world.
But we forget it, through the grips of desire. When I want something, it looms large in my world, as if me and it are the center of the world. Or when I am angry. Or upset. Or hurt. Or happy. Or excited. Basically, when I am moved in my ego world.
Wisdom is seeing past the ego world, mine and others.
It doesn’t require special insight or knowledge of scriptures or whether god exists, or nature of knowledge, or nature of humans or of science or of the world.
It doesn’t require knowledge.
It requires coming back to the obvious, the smallness of our lives in the vastness of the universe.
The wise person is able to come back to this in each moment, even in the midst of their pain, anger, disappointment or joy. The unwise person is unable to do that, caught in their pain, anger, disappointment or joy.
Wisdom is simple. It is clear, ever present.
But it feels hard and evasive and difficult when wisdom is seen as knowledge. As something to grasp, something new to acquire, somewhere far away from where I already am. This is the root illusion.
Wisdom is simple. It doesn’t require knowledge. It only requires not forgetting the obvious.
Embrace in each moment how vast the universe is in relation to you, and wisdom will be your constant companion.