You may have heard the idea of a true and authentic self. In Buddhism it is called Buddha Nature, in Hinduism it is simply called the Self with a capital ‘S’ to relate its universal nature and in new age terms it could be called the great spirit or ‘Source’. Whatever you call it it’s the subject matter of all great Mystics and Meditation Masters through-out history and here I will describe seven different qualities this true self has in the form of seven types of wisdom. Just as a rainbow has seven colours but they all come from the one source of white light, these seven wisdoms are all emanations of the one source consciousness refracted into seven seeming individual qualities.
These seven types of wisdom are natural and present at all times, but covered or obscured by thoughts, distractions and fears. You can practice them one by one to get a feel for them or just rest as your true self by letting go and just Being – without effort or attempt to change yourself. Ultimately meditation practise uncovers these potentials and helps them flourish and shine into your life and into the world.
1) The Wisdom of Impermanence
This wisdom is the ongoing release of attachment and clinging. The most obvious type of impermanence is the knowledge we are all going to die but there is a more subtle type of impermanence of constant change in every moment, in fact the person who starting reading this blog will not be the same person who finishes the blog. Every moment is changing and fluxing and flowing. Being one with this wisdom is felt as being in the flow. This wisdom is natural like all the others but it gets covered by our insecurities of wanting things to stay the same or fear of losing someone or something. It is sometimes called the wisdom of insecurity and because life is an ongoing dance of movement Alan Watts says the only way to make sense of it is to plunge right in and enjoy the dance.
2) Mirror Like Wisdom
‘Mirror like wisdom’ is the capacity for awareness to reflect things, like a mirror, just as they are. A mirror can reflect any object whether beautiful or ugly with an equal amount of clarity. In Zen, meditation has been described as dusting the mirror to remove all impurities or obstructions to seeing things ‘just as they are’. The mirror is a metaphor for your mind’s ability to know and to reflect things clearly without thoughts or judgements. This wisdom can be accessed by practising zazen or by meditating as an objective observer sometimes called being the ‘witness’. Just watching the breath or any sensation or the present moment without reacting helps access this wisdom.
3) The Wisdom of Equality
This is the capacity for awareness to view all things and people as equal and therefore remain detached open and fully alert. Especially the ability to see all humans as equal expressions of an enlightened consciousness whether they are aware of it or not and all equally worthy. This wisdom is the foundation for true love and compassion. To see all material things as an expression of the same universal conscious energy is this wisdom and it is sometimes called seeing all things with the one taste of emptiness. This means that all things that appear to our senses are empty of any meaning of their own and we give them meaning or preference due to our own relative positions but ultimately all appearances are displays of the one source consciousness and are equal by nature. To enter this wisdom door view all thoughts as “just thoughts’; neither good nor bad, or wanted or unwanted, every thought that arises is viewed as exactly the same in nature.
4) All Knowing Wisdom
This aspect of awareness is its capacity to know everything, not in the sense of knowing what everything is named that’s a superficial level of knowing but the ability to merge with objects and people and to understand them intuitively and directly. Anything awareness is looking at it can come to understand; just by silently observing – a knowing arises about the what you are looking at. This is why if you observe yourself in meditation, like how you react to thoughts or sensations you will come to understand yourself more fully or become ‘self aware’. This is how great Masters and Mystics have found universal truths simply by watching themselves with a clear awareness.
5) All Accepting Wisdom
This is the ability of awareness to hold both good and bad objects in its sphere without reacting. It is an all accepting awareness because it is able to accept and observe whatever may arise without trying to change it due to fear or attachment. Accommodating all experiences in a fearless way by radically accepting the present moment as your own. This wisdom also has the quality of spaciousness, there is enough space to handle and accept any situation. Ultimately you can observe all things without either fearing them or attaching to them, simply by noticing them come and go. This is the essence of mindfulness training. You don’t have to train in mindfulness for many years simply tap into that part of awareness which already allows and accommodates the present moment. No effort to accept is necessary.
6) Indestructible Wisdom
This is the essential nature of awareness. It is indestructible in the same way the sky or space is indestructible. The sky is not affected by either good or bad weather, it simple remains and weather passes through it. Or like a mirror’s ability to reflect beautiful objects or disgusting objects without ever being stained by them. This indestructible essential nature is stable and never changes. It never arises or perishes, it is the core of your being and remains clear, pure and untouched by circumstantial events. Tapping into this wisdom can keep you composed in the most difficult of times and make you steady and a quietly confident. It’s sometimes called indestructible confidence.
7) The Wisdom of Love
Yes love is a type of wisdom. It is the wisdom that can hold relative appearances and ultimate reality at the same time. It is a bridge between Oneness and individuality. It creates symmetry and harmony whenever it is present. Love is like the rays of the sun; it shines on everything equally bringing warmth and light and understanding. Love naturally wants the best for everyone because it deeply realizes we are all one. To access this wisdom you can repeat prayers for others welfare or simply imagine being with someone without any type of judgement whatsoever. Love is as natural as all the other types of wisdom and is the radiance of your true self, as Rumi says you don’t have to cultivate love simply remove all the barriers you have built up against it. This is the same for all the other wisdoms. When you can remove built up resistence to the present moment all the seven wisdoms will shine through naturally.
Written by Chad Foreman
Chad Foreman has been teaching meditation since 2003 and is determined to bring authentic meditation practices into the lives of millions of people. Chad is a former Buddhist monk and spent 6 years living in a retreat hut studying and practising meditation full time. He is now a fully qualified meditation teacher with the Australian Institute of Meditation and has designed a unique 21 day meditation challenge to guide people gradually from the basics of mindfulness and relaxation to profound states of awareness. Click Here to learn more about the 21 Day Meditation Challenge.