Wisdom is very much about being able to see the sacred in the very ordinary and how what appears to be completely separate or disparate is in fact in unity. There is a sense in which as we meditate and use contemplative prayer it is easier to be and feel connected – not least with all the others who were sitting in silence throughout the world, whatever their faith or tradition. For surely in silence we understand that we are all one it’s only as we begin to talk and discuss and express our views and try to dominate one another with them that things begin to fall apart and become stressed.
For those who are based in Christian faith the Christian contemplative tradition serves as a point of contact and dialogue with the great traditions of the East, and that in itself is unifying. If we stop analysing and quantifying and explaining then there is a freedom to open up to other life forces and forms in other words sacramental view of creation. This connection with Wisdom is sometimes called sapiential or sophianic consciousness – Sophia – and I think it does offer or start to offer a deeper and wider consciousness. Clearly contemplative wisdom is opposite to acquiring knowledge, facts, qualifications and skills it is rather an opening up of awareness. It’s a bit like discovering the unconscious and that moment of breakthrough of realising the transference and how much projection takes place. Thomas Merton thought that this wisdom represented the deepest and most authentic fruit of religion itself and in terms of Christianity he saw it as living contact with the infinite source of all Being. He thought it present in all authentic spiritual paths where there is awakening in the very ground of one’s being. Whilst there are clear differences in the experience and the way experiences are talked about between Christians and non-Christians there is the experience that creation itself as a manifestation of divine Wisdom. For many who explore this very existence, order, life, and beauty of the universe and of every creature within it, reflects the image of divine Wisdom. Thomas Merton wrote ‘…the forms and individual characters of living and growing things, of inanimate beings, of animals and flowers and all nature, constitute their holiness in the sight of God.’ He gives us this wonderful phrase – ‘their inscape is their sanctity.’ He sees it is the imprint of God’s Wisdom and God’s reality in them. This of course makes it all the more painful as we watch the environment and many of the wonderful creatures who inhabit our world being destroyed – crucified for our greed and thoughtlessness.