Wisdom vs Intelligence

by Judy Joy and Matilda Bathurst.

What is wisdom and what is intelligence… how do we define and refer to these words and what is their relevance for us?

Are we living with a very restricted definition and relationship with the word intelligence? Caught up in the cerebral, educational celebration of mental prowess and factual recall that leaves us bereft of a much richer, fuller experience of life?

We tend to think that our intelligence comes from and resides in our heads, that it is ours and that we own it, and we pride ourselves on it.

But could it be that true intelligence is a whole body experience, not something confined to our brain cells?

If we look at our food choices for example, we often govern our bodies from our brains, at best, conforming to the current accepted intelligence about optimum dietary and nutritional requirements, but more usually just eating what most tantalises our taste buds, rather than giving our bodies a voice and being guided by how they feel after we eat certain types and quantities of foods.

As children, we are more naturally ‘in’ our bodies and are clear about what we do and do not want to eat. However, our food choices are governed by the choices the adults (our care takers) make and it does not take long for us to be caught in the same consciousness about nutritional ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ based on a mental model and/or be tantalised by the same desires.

The thing is that our bodies tell us ever so quickly about the impact of what and how we have eaten. For example, it is hard to deny the slump after a carb rich meal, or the stomach disturbances and mucous that come with a diet that includes a lot of dairy, but deny we do because the world, nutritional experts and/or our desires speak otherwise.

And what about those moments when our bladders call us to the toilet and we ignore and dismiss the call until the emergency bell is pulled and there is no further resisting?!

Or when we stop for long enough to realise that our mouths feel like sand dunes, having overridden earlier signs of thirst, even though we know the importance of staying hydrated.

And then of course there is feeling tired… a bit of TV and a hot chocolate for example, keeping us going much later into the evening than truly serves, allowing us to override our body and leaving us less vital and alert the next day.

Our wise bodies absolutely know their limits and what truly serves.

There are plenty of scientific studies that are revealing the fact that our bodies work very differently to the way we have been historically taught; that parts of our body (most specifically heart and stomach) respond to our surroundings before our brains; that we have an innate intelligence in our bodies that is more responsive and fine-tuned than our brains in isolation. This is not to discount the extraordinary organ that the brain is, but it is very limited when we let it ‘go alone’… certainly not the central office and ‘mastermind’ that we have believed it to be.

To simply start a dialogue with our bodies, letting the voice of this whole body intelligence be heard, is the start of something very huge, an intimate relationship that simplifies life beyond belief. It develops a deeper understanding of ourselves, each other and the magic in life that makes decision making the clearest and simplest thing in the world… tortured ‘should I?’ or ‘shouldn’t I?’ increasingly becomes a thing of the past, as we build unwavering sureness in relationship with the wisest ally we have (and we all have)… our bodies’ wisdom.

Read more:

  1. Our body’s intolerance to alcohol and other toxins.
  2. Intelligence: is it embodied or embrained?
  3. The body is intelligent. 

299 thoughts on “Wisdom vs Intelligence

  1. For me intelligence when it comes from our minds is cold and heartless, intelligence when it come from our bodies is warm and the sense is that what the body is telling us or showing us is the truth. This is my experience.

  2. ‘Our wise bodies absolutely know their limits and what truly serves.’ So true. As babies and young children we sleep when we need to and stop eating when full, regardless of how often well meaning adults want us to finish what’s on our plate. The adults in their turn were treated similarly. Putting how we feel to the forefront is a game-changer and not always welcomed by society. The wisdom of our body is paramount…. ‘ to thine own self be true….’ Shakespeare. Hamlet.

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