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10 Questions to Reflect on Wisdom

Excerpt from Life is Spiritual Practice by Jean Smith.

A Practice and Reflection on Wisdom

1. A derogatory way of referring to someone who is ignorant is “That person only has one oar in the water.” How do you think that mental acumen that isn’t accompanied by compassion is like having one oar in the water?

2. Compare two truisms in terms of the perfection of wisdom: “Happiness is wanting what you have” and artist Jenny Holzer’s “Protect me from what I want.”

3. Do you believe that it is possible to pursue enduring happiness for both oneself and others at the same time? Why or why not? How or how not?

4. Does your source of livelihood—including investments and retirement funds—harm anyone? If you discovered they do, would you change these sources to ones that are nonharming? Why or why not?

5. Do you ever take what is not freely given from your workplace? Things? Money? Credit? Power? Does one kind of taking feel more acceptable than another? Why or why not?

6. Have you had a flirtation or illicit sexual relationship in your workplace? How did it feel at the time? How did it feel afterward?

7. Do you get pulled into office gossip? If so, how do you feel during and afterward? If not, do others treat you differently (with mistrust or respect) as a result? What is the most difficult speech concern for you in the workplace?

8. Have you ever been intoxicated in a work situation? If so, did you feel regret afterward? Have you ever lost a job or promotion because of substance abuse? Have you ever broken one of the other precepts while intoxicated?

9. Have you ever changed jobs or careers as the result of coming to understand wise livelihood?

10. Sit quietly for ten minutes and do a meditation practice using the repetition of these phrases as the object of your concentration/mindfulness. As you silently repeat the phrases, do so slowly enough to feel what each one would be like in your life:

May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I live in safety.
May my choices be wise and compassionate.

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