Philosophy gives us the opportunity to think more deeply about the subjects that really matter to us eg. What does it all mean? Who am I? What is my part in all this? How can I find meaning and satisfaction in life? Philosophy deals with the big ideas, which govern human life. The world we live in is shaped by philosophy, whether we know it or not. For example, Plato lived over 2000 years ago and what he said about subjects such as truth, beauty and justice have influenced the world to this day. Philosophy can simplify , clarify, enrich and provide direction to our lives, especially when other areas of life fall into a state of uncertainty or doubt. It can give us a greater sense of perspective.
Ultimately philosophy can rise our awareness, to enable us to see things for what they are and bring us closer to our true selves. In this sense, it is the supreme means of self discovery.
- Philo: love of
- Sophia: Wisdom
The dictionary definition of wisdom is ‘experience and knowledge together with the power of applying them practically’ (Oxford English Dictionary) In a sense anyone who has mastered their trade or area of specialism could be called wise in their sphere of knowledge- for example, if we call someone a wise doctor we may mean he or she has knowledge and experience of medicine and is able to apply it practically.
However in our case as philosophers, the idea is not to be a wise doctor, or wise anything else, but to be wise people. We are interested in life itself- therefore the knowledge we seek is that which can enable us to master the art of living.
So when we use wisdom, we can define it to mean that knowledge which will enable a person to live truly happily.
Wisdom is not just about the mind. It is also a question of being: the state of one’s being. Sometimes life can seem shallow, the mind continuously darting around on the surface without much experience of real depth. The experience of depth paves the way for greater wisdom and understanding.
In order to help bring about a greater depth of experience it is necessary to gain the ability to become truly still. This is not just stillness at the physical level but also stillness of the mental and emotional activity. This can be achieved by focussing on the five senses. Pay close attention to what is experienced through them. Allow the attention to drink deeply from what is presented from the exercise.
First, let the mind be free of any concern or occupation.. Be aware of where you are now..Feel the body…Feel the weight of the body on the chair… Feel the gentle pressure of the clothes upon the skin.. Be aware of where you are now…Feel the touch of your feet on the ground… And the play of air on the hands and face.. If they are open let the eyes receive colour and form without any comment..Taste… Smell..Be fully here…Now be aware of hearing…Let sounds be received and let them rise and fall without comment or judgement of any kind…With the body completely relaxed, let the hearing run right out to the furthest and greatest sounds, embracing all and rest in the great awareness for a few moments.
Source: Mindfulness Course, Tunbridge Wells 2013