In the Hebrew Scriptures, human wisdom is assessed in Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. Wisdom is seen as an attribute of God and as one of the fundamental virtues of a meaningful life. In the Judaic and Christian context, wisdom reminds us of the limits of life and the importance of putting our trust in God. Of course, there are many other paths to wisdom in Greek and Roman philosophy, other religions, and the insights of indigenous peoples. In the 21st century, we have a treasure trove of wisdom to study and integrate into our daily lives.
Margaret Silf is popular English writer, retreat leader, and author of many books including Wayfaring and At Sea with God. In this wonderful eclectic gathering of timeless wisdom from many different religious and spiritual traditions, she sets before us a path to help us on our journey toward transformation. In the introduction, Silf writes:
"The way of wisdom is for roaming and browsing. It can never be fenced in, nor will it ever be fully known, mapped, and defined, and this is the joy of it. There is always more and more to discover and to share, because every new day opens up new pathways to explore. And this 'more' is for sharing, and for living. When we live from the centre of wisdom in our hearts, we can no longer live only for ourselves, for wisdom is the golden thread that binds heart to heart, and reminds us moment by moment that in the heart of God we are all one, and each one is uniquely cherished."
Silf has collected a mix of quotations from science and cosmology, folk stories, natural history, poetry, Scripture, and major religious and spiritual writers. She's arranged the quotes under seven categories: Original Wisdom, Natural Wisdom, Indigenous Wisdom, Life Wisdom, Desert Wisdom, Guiding Wisdom, and Unfolding Wisdom. Here is a sampler:
• "Wisdom is encoded in the very stuff on which it must act, the blueprint and the builder all in one."
— Gerald Schroeder
• "Wisdom includes the universe and wisdom passes through the heart."
— Matthew Fox
• "Wisdom, after all, is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling."
— Sue Monk Kidd
• "To become a great, cracked, wide-open door into nowhere is Wisdom."
— May Sarton
• "Wisdom does not grow old; it is always one day old. Wisdom is old as creation and as young as a newborn babe."
— John Martin Sahajananda