I derive great pleasure from the English language. I especially enjoy discovering new words – or rediscovering words that had slipped out of my vocabulary.
My word of the day is sapient. It’s another way of saying wise, having good taste, or good judgment. It comes from sapience – meaning wisdom. Related to this is the Latin word sapere, meaning “to taste, to be wise, to know”.
The present participle of sapere forms part of Homo sapiens, the Latin name for the human species. According to Wikipedia, the 18th-century physician and zoologist Carl Linnaeus, who came up with the name, had originally given humans the species name of diurnus, meaning man of the day.
But he later decided that the dominating feature of humans was wisdom, hence the application of the name sapiens. This was intended to emphasise Man’s uniqueness and separation from the rest of the animal kingdom.
I wonder if Linnaeus, had he been around today, would still consider the human race to be wise? If wisdom is the right use of knowledge, have we used it wisely? Looking at the state of the world today, it would be hard to describe mankind as sapient.
As nature is out of balance, so are we. And surely the return to wisdom starts with us, deep in our own inner space.
Most of my clients instinctively know what I mean when I talk about inner wisdom – what I call The Pearl Within. But then most of them consistently fail to listen to that inner wisdom. Why is this, given that it always guides them to the right course of action?
Because their minds are buzzing with random thoughts, other people’s voices (often their parents’), limiting self-beliefs and all manner of other inner space detritus.
The voice of your inner wisdom does not shout. In fact, it often whispers. So if you have a cacophony of noise in your head, you will not hear it. I repeat, YOU WILL NOT HEAR IT.
So what’s the best way of turning down the noise and tuning into the whispers? There are many ways, but the simplest one I know is to drop your awareness out of your head and into your heart.
Do it now – close your eyes, take a deep breath, and focus your attention on your chest. Imagine your awareness is dropping down, out of your mind and into your heart. Say quietly to yourself: “I am heart.”
Allow thoughts to come and go, without holding on to any of them. When you feel still and centred, ask to speak to your inner wisdom. Ask it anything, but remember it is softly spoken.
You might not get the answer straight away, or in the form of a thought. The message could come in a variety of ways – something you read or watch, something that a friend says, an image on a poster, anything.
So it’s important that you are open and receptive or you might miss the message altogether. You’ll know it when it arrives, though – because you’ll have a gut feeling.
If Homo has any chance of living up to its sapiens, then we could all do with getting in touch with our wisdom. You know it makes felt-sense…