USEFUL BUT NOT REALLY SO WISE
"My inner wisdom tells me to do this.
It magically knows what is right for me."
WHAT IS IT, REALLY?
"Inner wisdom" is a magical name for bits of data stored in the primitive mind that contain accurate information that is useful in life and for making decisions.
Yes, it is "inner", as our brain is inside us. But there is no "inner wisdom" fellow behind the curtain (as in The Wizard Of Oz). There is no mysterious entity, as if an inner god, that we can find and then press the dispenser button to get a dose of wisdom.
And, no, the information in the primitive mind is fairly frequently not accurate (or wise). In that brain, there is alot of unexamined and uncorrected garbage beliefs (bits of data woven together about how things work). The information should not be used until we have "vetted it" (screened it for truth). (Duh!)
Yes, we prefer that sort of magical thinking, but it is not true. It is another "mental shortcut" that we take as part of our energy conservation and evolution - it is alot less effort to jump to conclusions - and that has served us well in evolution, when things were simpler. But shortcuts are "bypasses" of all the steps in a sequence of coming to a valid conclusion. If it is a minor thing, then so be it. But if it is important, then it should not be left up to the chance and poor odds of the primitive brain having accurate information.
What is true is that there are some accurate packages of workable data and there are alot of inaccurate data in the primitive mind that represents the very efficient tendency to jump to conclusions without thinking (when we actually "think", we are checking out the facts and using logic to come to accurate conclusions).
I say this not to destroy this comforting myth, but to clear it up so that we can get better results in life, by considering what comes up from the data stored in the brain but applying the higher brain to "vet it". To be truly wise, we need to clear out that which is not actually true for that is part of clearing the road to wisdom and its application to produce true happiness.
(Remember, it's all mechanical and therefore subject to the laws of the physical world, with no magical, mysterious entities! See What Is Reality?.)
Returning to the original discussion, which repeats some of the above pieces that I added later...
NOT RELIABLE, NOT COMPLETE, NOT SCIENTIFIC
Don't rely on inner wisdom. (To a large extent it is not there and often what appears to be a message from our higher selves is not at all correct. Yikes!)
Yes, there are a few things that our primitive mind has figured out and where we do not know where it came from. But the danger here is that we generalize this into some "mystical" source of wisdom.
And, yes, it can be useful to check with our "feelings" about something, as it may indicate that there is something awry or that something really is impactful. For instance, a sudden surge of good feeling when a person makes the choice to be free and to give up some trap of some sort.
A wise person will definitely "look within", but he will know that the primitive mind has limited "wisdom". He/she will pay attention to it and include it as a potential factor, but examine it in light of the facts and reasoning.
It is not smart, despite its appeal, to look at inner wisdom as being smart and accurate. The brain is a machine and it cannot contain information that has not been input in some way - it is impossible. (Yes, it could have some inputs it was not aware of, but that is not magic.)
Sure, consider "inner wisdom", as occasionally there is something stored there that will be coughed up as information from the primitive mind's stored patterns.
And do use the "inner guidance system" like you'd use an instrument to fly a plane, but use it smartly and appropriately. The inner guidance system (a glamorous name for it) is simply noticing that something "feels" good or bad. If it feels bad, then it is likely to have some false belief in there that is causing the pain/discomfort, so you'd look deeper to see what is going on - but you'd use the higher brain to do that, as the primitive brain or non-thinking will not come up with the right answers reliably.
THERE IS LITTLE NATURAL WISDOM, IT MUST BE LEARNED
And if you spend your life meditating and getting in touch with your inner wisdom, you will not be wise. You'll be looking in a very limited supply area. There will be very little, compared to all that you can learn (and directly input into your brain so that it will actually contain alot of wisdom - as it won't magically be there otherwise!u/).
Wisdom is learned, mostly through conscious reasoning and discriminating as to what is actual fact. Lack of wisdom is based on not examining beliefs to see which are true and workable and which are not.
Somehow people create this primitive, grandiose explanation for how our inner self has super, perhaps God-given, wisdom.
Misunderstanding this will cause you to misattribute wisdom that is simply not there.
The mind is strictly a machine that has evolved. It stores "patterns" and brings them up when something associated somehow with a pattern it coughs up the pattern, along with what to do (often supplementary more general patters chip in here). When we are born, there is no special wisdom in our body, though there is a very special high functioning programming that has us do things that promoted survival via Evolution.
Our cells (or organs, though there are one step up) do not have memories of events, though they do have some patterns and adaptability. They have mechanical actions and reactions, but not reasoning in a higher mind sense. We can "hold" our body in tension, but that is from the primitive mind reinstuting a pattern of danger, for which it continues to hold, especially the event was traumatic.
USEFUL BUT LIMITED
So, when people say go inside and look for your inner wisdom, that may be a problem. There may be known to find.
Except it does store alot of useful associations. We did "learn" (modify our DNA) over time as we developed the limbic brain to sense whether a person is safe or will attack us. So, in a sense, then there is wisdom there.
WHAT IS WISDOM - BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS
Wisdom is defined as
Accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : knowledge
Ability to discern inner qualities and how things relatie logically: insight
Good sense : judgment
So the simple pattern in the lower brains have some discernment and does "judge" the threat of a person, so they have some wisdom, but not great wisdom on how to live life and be effective in life. The latter is learned. Natural inner wisdom is very, very limited and can lead to big mistakes (and lots of little ones).
Do not rely on inner wisdom which is an "impression" that you don't know the logic of or whether it is based on facts. Take whatever comes up as an association that may be accurate and useful, but which you must examine as to whether you should take heed of it or not. It is the cousin of Intuition. Read Intuition - Useful But Not Accurate.
THE "FEELING' OF RIGHT AND WRONG
Probably where "inner wisdom" is most useful is in consulting it for the "feeling" of what is the right or wrong thing to do. Of course, that is something we are taught and that we learn over time, with a big dose of it learned in childhood, thank goodness!
This wisdom comes up as a learned thought (not really a "feeling", though we use that language) that generates a "feeling" that we have learned means the thought is a good one to have and to follow.
That's all fine - AND we still need to engage our higher mind to make sure that what is being done is not delerious or useless.
A LOGICAL CONCLUSION SOMETIMES SEEN AS INNER WISDOM
If one stretches it, one could say that there is inner wisdom in that the body tries to compel us toward that which will have us survive, including avoiding threats. However, though that is a good idea, it often does it wrongly. This very mechanism can cause some unwiseness.
Logically, though, we can use the "feeling" indicators as a sign of something being wrong - at least the primitive mind thinks it is. If there are "bad" chemicals emitted and we consequently "feel bad", then that is a definite sign that the body associates what is going on with something that lowers our survivability, as far as it can tell with its limited knowledge. Many of the spiritual advisors and therapists suggest that "bad feelings" are an indication of an erroneous belief involving a not so good action or thought. Other than for a very few actual threats, most of our bad feelings are just signs of erroneous beliefs.
So, the process is:
1. I note I feel "bad".
2. I recall that this means something is to be done to feel better.
3. I look for what I am doing wrong and a thought (belief) that is wrong.
4. I discern what is right and do it.
So, "feelings" are a great indicator, but not really "inner wisdom", just reactions.
People make up alot about "inner wisdom", even creating an inner spirit that provides it. But, as is very human, they are creating explanations where things are not knowable and where it contradicts scientific fact. (Of course, the believing human may, irrationally, try to prove that scientific fact could be wrong and that the myserious forces can come up with better wisdom and things that are not known to the limited human senses, etc. and etc. This is pure superstition. Read the summary, and then perhaps read more deeply, of The Believing Brain - Know This! Or Be The Victim Of It, For Life.)
Definitely, you would best dilligently pursue the learning, as quickly as feasible, so that you can live a wise and very good life!!!!!!