I cherish the wisdom that those who came before me have passed down from generation to generation. What I have been thinking about lately is the importance of incorporating into our daily lives a belief system that respects all forms of life and strives for peaceful coexistence.
Besides the Tai Chi movements we have learned, I’m hoping that you will incorporate the wisdom of the Tao into all aspects of your lives. I hope that you will gain insight to help you better face the conflicts, difficulties and the joy that life sends your way. Like water in a slow moving stream that encounters an immovable object, it seeks the path of least resistance.
A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in the world. - Joseph Addison, English essayist, poet and politician .
This saying reminds me of the story of a one hundred year old Taoist who lives in a cave. I don’t know how old he is exactly, but I'm told that he is very old and happy!
Three months ago, two friends and I were exploring the traces of Taoism at one of its sacred places in China known as Wu Dang Mountain. A bus driver told us that if we take a long walk, then we may have a chance to find a very old Taoist who lives in a cave which is close to a trail. We decided to visit him and bring some food that we bought for him, since we were told that this man known as Taoist Jia won’t accept money from any one. When we arrived, he gently insisted that he couldn't accept our gifts. He smiled at me and placed the food into my bag and said "Let it go".
He went back to the cave and returned with some fruit for all of us and placed some in my bag and once again repeated, "Let it go". Looking at this old sage, I thought that he was trying to inspire us. I was going to ask him a lot of questions about his life of solitude, but at that moment I felt it was better not to ask him anything. I glanced at the cave where he lives, It is just about 150 square feet. The cave contains everything he needs, a bed, a bowl, some utensils, and a statue of a Toaist deity. He really has "let it go" and come to this cave to have his own simple and happy life.
Surely, most poeple will feel it is more comfortable to live in a normal home or house. The reason why I mention about this Toaist is not that we should live in a cave. Rather, happiness is the key to wellness and no matter what it is we seek or what the challenges are, we can find happiness in simplifying.
A long time ago, Lao-tzu, an extraordinary Chinese philosopher and thinker who lived during the sixth century B.C wrote about happiness in his book Tao Te Ching: “happiness lies in contentment ”. However, this meaning is more profound than we think. In Chapter 46 of his book "Tao Te Ching", I think that this statement refers to excess. When we have excess desires, it increases the burdens we place on ourselves and others. Excess causes sicknesses both in individuals and society, and can even create conflict and war. Desire creates conflict and longing. Lao-tzu did not state that we should abandon what we seek but reminds us that in happiness is contentment. We will experience happiness if we have the wisdom of knowing when enough is enough.
That day, when I was standing in front of the cave where the Taoist Jia lives, understanding his contentment in his simple lifestyle, I understood that we can find happiness within ourselves in simplicity. After sayiing farewell to the Taoist Jia, I stood in front of the sacred Taoist palace for quite a while.
In the end, I hoped to achieve this mans tranquility, and a harmonious relationship with my friends and acquaintances.
March 9, 2016 at 5:15 PM