Professional Applications

Health and Well-Being

“I have participated in many programs of many descriptions, and the Five Wisdoms rests comfortably at the top of the pyramid as one of richest and most useful both clinically and evocatively.”
— Charles W. Styron,
Psy. D., Clinical Psychologist

I feel a deep gratitude for our work together, touching deeply into learning and exploring my own experience and looking into the Five Wisdoms: the buttons that push me to my core (where I ‘’grind my teeth’’), my habitual patterns/propensities so I can understand my actions/reactions and causes/effects, to help me liberate myself. — Psychotherapy client 

“The Five Wisdoms training has helped me learn how to be the best I can be so that I can better be of service.”
— Training participant

As health caregivers, the more we take time to understand ourselves, the more we can be of benefit to others. The Five Wisdoms provides a language for interpersonal engagement. The goal is not to change people, but to see others more clearly and develop a heart-felt appreciation for where people shine and where they get stuck.  

For mental health caregivers, success in working with others depends on how deeply we know ourselves. With the Five Wisdoms, we explore the depths of our own psychology through direct experience. It takes fearlessness to look at ourselves without moving towards self-protection. We integrate our personal practices with the interpersonal practices of psychotherapy, counseling, and coaching.

Training Objectives

  • View personal work with the Five Wisdoms as ground for working with others
  • Cultivate the warmth of an open heart to fully appreciate another human being
  • Enter another person’s world as a first step to helping them
  • Facility in giving case presentations
  • Align yourself with the basic goodness and sanity in everyone
  • Take action based on clarity and benevolence

Training Methods

Personal Contemplative Practices

  • Meditation practice
  • Tonglen

Experiential Learning

  • Relational Dynamics exercise
  • Case Presentations
  • Process groups

Our training methods include meditation practice, which integrates body and mind, deepens the ability to be attentive moment to moment, and creates a more open mind that is fresh and spontaneous. The practice naturally develops insight.

 Energetic exchange and unbiased perception practices open the emotions and heart to cultivate a compassionate attitude and see others clearly. The practice breaks down the barriers between self and other (dissolving defensive barriers), allowing moments for heartfelt, unbiased ‘exchange,’ or communication.  

The Five Wisdoms posture practice allows us to embrace who we are and appreciate others more fully. We use the practice to align our elemental energies


"This work is a vehicle for building something more profound in education, a fundamental approach. Learning is only possible in an open and free, 'here and now' environment."

— Johan Hamstra

National Institute for School Improvement

"The paradigm of integrative education through Five Wisdoms is powerful and effective. It helps ground the education process in a meditative model that brings out the whole person. The Five Wisdoms encourage us to see that meditative intelligence is not an 'add on' to the education process, but its very core."

— Ashok Gangadean,

Haverford College philosophy professor, co-founder of Global Dialogue Inst.

Teachers, students and administrators use the Five Wisdoms to create a learning environment that celebrates the full human being. Our system sparks curiosity and respect for each person’s unique energetic make-up. It balances mastering specific disciplines with personal growth, allowing students to unfold their full array of colors!

authentic leadership model

Learning styles

  • Vajra—intellectual; using analysis, abstractions, and general principles
  • Ratna—amassing information, doing research
  • Padma—intuitive, creative, and empathetic
  • Karma—by doing, trial and error
  • Buddha—repetition using simple, basic concepts; sleeping on it; osmosis

Benefits Include

Teachers recognize and appreciate student energy styles, seeing how they manifest and relate with other styles. They learn about their own style and develop ways to work with colleagues, students and situations. Teachers are fundamentally able to guide and evaluate each student’s educational journey.

Students recognize the energy styles of each other and their teachers and learn to relate with each style. They gain an understanding of how each energy quality deepens the learning process. They see the Five Wisdoms as a foundation for ongoing learning, understanding and creativity throughout life.

Administrators understand the energetic makeup of students, teachers, staff and the board. They learn how to work with and encourage the energies to create a harmonious and well-functioning educational environment.

The Five Qualities of a Fully Educated Person


Openness and respect for immediate experience: we acknowledge our direct perception of the present moment, including ambiguity and uncertainty, chaos and confusion – in ourselves and the environment. Openness involves developing a clear, accurate and open-ended relationship to experience. In order to act with intelligence and confidence, we must proceed from this foundation of awareness and curiosity.


Intellect and insight: we hold passion and curiosity for learning, including critical thinking, analysis and insight. We facilitate an understanding of the world and ourselves, enabling us to articulate our experience in precise, creative ways. This quality involves proficiency in understanding principles, structures, logic and relationships. It is the willingness to maintain a larger view regarding situations, beyond self-interest, and taking on different perspectives.


Resourcefulness and appreciation of the richness of the world: we use creativity to increase knowledge and appreciate the world. This quality taps the resources we have and cultivates hidden, inner talents —intellectual, emotional and pragmatic. It involves developing our ability to respect many modes of human expression, experiences, creativity and cultural background.


Interpersonal and communication skills: we relate with and communicate effectively with others. We value the experiences of others and use these experiences to learn about self and others. This quality focuses on the various modes of interpersonal communication: reading, writing, speaking and listening, including communication through non-verbal artistic media like music, movement and visual arts. We connects with others empathetically, with interest and curiosity about other people’s lives. We give and receive feedback skillfully.


Effective action: we apply learning and insight to the world, placing openness, insight, knowledge and effective communication into action. This quality involves becoming organized, responding effectively to demands, sustaining interest and carrying projects through to completion.

Learn More

Critical Thinking Rubric, David Marshall in consultation with Irini Rockwell, 2004. The five wisdom energies can be used to structure, guide and assess student work.

Five Wisdoms: A Contemplative Approach to Integrative Learning, Going Public with Spirituality, Peter Lang Press, Studies in Spirituality Series, 2003. The five qualities of a fully educated person provide an integral understanding to education.

Authentic Leadership

“In the two retreats Ms. Rockwell led for us, we learned a great deal about our organization’s group dynamics. The insights gained gave us more understanding of how we structure work for a key team member and how she communicates with our colleagues. These retreats were a key reason why she stayed with the firm. That alone has made the training exceptionally valuable.”

— Julian Nadel, President and Founder, Beezwax Datatools

"It's very, very valuable what you are doing…business is about relationships-it's a very difficult thing to remember."

— Cynthia Kneen, Leadership and Organizational Consultant

"The Five Energies work creates a practical approach to optimizing workplace relationships.”

— Workshop participant.

"My intelligence has never been so acknowledged and utilized in a work situation… I truly believe you are making the world a better place by teaching this model."

— Andrew Reicart, Project Manager, Beezwax Datatools

"The program material continues to reveal itself to me… it directly relates to my interest in conflict resolution."

— Trime Persinger, Conflict-resolution Specialist

We become leaders when we take the initiative to respond to different energy styles, rather than react.

 The Five Wisdoms Institute is interested in helping professionals from all sectors realize their full creative potential to cultivate higher standards of performance in their organizations.  

Through our training, we encourage leaders and organizations to improve the work environment and work life using the Five Wisdoms. Training workshops and coaching can be adapted to meet the specific needs of leaders and their organizations. The following table lists the areas to which trainings may be adapted.

Personal Disciplines

  • Establishing self-awareness disciplines
  • Cultivating relaxation and kindness towards self and others
  • Engendering creative approaches to dissolve barriers with others and ‘solidify territory’

Team Building and Leadership

  • Understanding how different styles are needed to build an effective team
  • Influence people to see the big picture.
  • Seeing how people ‘get stuck’ and helping them to move through challenges
  • Understanding how people shine and aligning with their sanity
  • Encouraging team cohesion based on mutual respect


  • Developing awareness of differences in leadership styles
  • Relating consciously and communicating effectively
  • Letting go of the need for self-referencing, or only seeing one’s perspective on people and situations

Energy Dynamics and Flow

  • Seeing the energetic dynamics of a situation
  • Looking for energy that is blocked and energy that is flowing
  • Working with ‘stuck energy
  • Acknowledging and supporting success

Management and Problem Solving

  • Encouraging diverse perspectives within a shared vision
  • Sensing the skills (energies) needed for different aspects et a project
  • Influencing different energies to work together to accomplish specific tasks

Arts and Creativity

“My drawings are a form of meditation: the line draws itself; it flows with little preconception. That was a big breakthrough for me in my art, which was previously always very conceptual.”

— Brian Schorn, Training participant  

“I learned how valuable meditation and space are for working with our creative energies.”

— Training participant

"Personally, it was a profound experience. The isolation of each color led to the saturation of each energy. I found this so exhilarating and so freeing. It was everything and much more than I expected.”

— Dagmar Nickerson, Visual Artist

When we are being fully who we are—sensual, emotional, insightful—we respond with a creative gesture. Whether we are writing poetry, designing a house, planning an event or choreographing a dance, the Five Wisdoms provide a rich source of expression.

Being creative is simply letting our energy flow through us as best we can. As is said in Bali, “We have no art; we do everything as well as possible.”

The Five Wisdoms pervade all aspects of existence: the inner world of thoughts and emotions and the outer world of phenomena. They connect us to the world at an elemental level, opening our sense perceptions—seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching—and inviting us to the present moment.

Creativity is not reserved for artists. Whether we are preparing meals for our family or presenting a business report, our creativity is an expression of our perspective. When we inspire creativity, we bring out the best in others. Our training and workshops for the arts and creativity involve sitting meditation practice and posture practice, as well as energy exploration and creative expression. Often, our training includes performances and presentation of creative projects.

Creative Cycle

  • Allow a space of mind for inspiration and insight to arise
  • Cultivate clarity, a general vision or outline
  • Be resourceful; delve into rich possibilities
  • Engage deeply and passionately, then express it
  • Act, make it happen

Training Objectives

  • Connect simply and directly with the basic elements of experience: body, emotions and the environment
  • Open to sense perceptions, creating an enlivened relationship with the world
  • Train in spontaneous expression arising from genuine presence
  •  Explore expressive media: visual art, poetry/prose, music/singing, movement and acting

Curious about your personality from a spiritual perspective?

Discover where you shine and where you get stuck with our FREE Five Wisdoms Quiz. The results will offer you a guide or roadmap for self-discovery & being in the world.

Take the quiz & subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates & tips.  (We take your privacy seriously, refer to our privacy policy).

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The Five Wisdoms Institute offers trainings internationally.
Inspired by Naropa University, Contemplative Psychotherapy, and Authentic Leadership,
our trainings are proven to enhance self-awareness, communication, and effectiveness.