Mindfulness and Practical Wisdom [chapter]

Diane Tasker, Joy Higgs
2019 Practice Wisdom  
can be considered as both an attitude and a practice, linking thoughts and feeling with practical action. As a primary example, the concept of mindfulness as it developed within Buddhism occurred through the practical experiences of Buddha himself as he sat beneath a tree contemplating life and how to best address its vicissitudes. Wisdom is not just a way of thinking about things; it is a way of doing things. If people wish to be wise, they have to act wisely, not just think wisely. We all can
more » ... do this. Whether we do is our choice. (Sternberg, 2003, p. 188) The art of binding together what we think and how we carry out activities within our lives presents opportunities for a high level of achievement for people, with radiating effects for families, communities and society. Success in this process can be considered practical wisdom, a highly prized state of being that not everyone achieves. Wise people often become revered, listened to, learned from and remembered long after they have left us. What is practical wisdom and how did these people become wise? How can we as individuals become practically wise in our living and in our work, to better take care of our society and its people? In this chapter, we explore how mindfulness of individuals but also between people can contribute to gaining practical wisdom. We argue that such "mindful wisdom" is practised through the timely and careful use of dialogue and narrative within reflection and interaction to better manage the human spheres of thought and action, bridging the different perceptions of time. Such processes are becoming increasingly important because modern society places increased demands on individuals to manage higher expectations of responsibility and performance in communication and human interaction in work and personal life -all within the constraints that time imposes. PERCEPTIONS OF TIME AND ITS MANAGEMENT Great expectations are laid upon the shoulders of a wide variety of practitioners to make ethically good, sound and wise decisions for individual clients as well as for institutions and communities -making the right decision at the right time (Schwartz & Sharpe, 2010) . Time has become a difficult and rare commodity. Everywhere we go, we feel pressured not to waste time, especially that of the busy people we interact with -our doctors, professionals and educators plus community and family members. Increasingly, people and the organisations that govern our society seek
doi:10.1163/9789004410497_004 fatcat:wcnfmalul5ckna7o4l5afxk43a