Irini Rockwell is a senior teacher in the Buddhist lineage of Tibetan master Chogyam Trungpa. She is director of the Five Wisdoms Institute, an organization offering training programs to enhance self-awareness, communication, and effectiveness. For more information, visit

Rockwell is convinced that our educational system is built not on wisdom but on the accumulation of knowledge. It values facts and other information whereas wisdom is a state of being. "We become wise; we don't acquire wisdom," the author writes. In this engaging paperback, Rockwell leads us on a contemplative inner journey to connect with our inherent wisdom. She quotes her teacher Chogyam Trungpa: "We all have our own style and our own particular nature. We can't avoid it. The enlightened expression of yourself is in accord with your inherent nature."

The foundation of understanding and appreciating the human adventure are the Five Wisdoms — qualities or energies within people, places, and situations:

• spaciousness
• clarity
• richness
• passion
• activity

Each of these teachings has an enlightened and a confused aspect. For example, passion at its best can be empathetic, compassionate, caring, and thriving in relationship. Passion at its worst can be obsessively wanting to possess someone or something — a significant other, a job, a dress; the result is a needy and clinging behavior. Even in our confusion, there are spiritual lessons to be learned. Rockwell presents exercises and thought-piece lists on these energies, coming into balance, the triggers and catalysts of situational energies, and more.

In the last section, Rockwell examines the application of the Five Wisdoms to intimate relationships, work life, leadership, education, and the serving professions, and the arts. The author concludes with "A Summary of the Five Wisdoms in Three Slogans:

"1. Be who you are: enjoy your energies and they will dawn as wisdoms.
2. Ride the coincident of the moment.
3. Align the best of who you are with whatever is needed."