Day 417: What Difference Between Yes and No?

What I like about children is that they do not define themselves according to the past, neither do they define themselves according to the future, neither do they define themselves according to what they do. For example, if you ask a child what he or she is doing, he will answer that is doing whatever he is involved with in that moment. He will not explain what kind of career he aspires to have, what future he hopes for, what kind of hobbies he is involved with. He will share himself – and as a child his attention is completely HERE.

I miss that ability to be completely engulfed in living as it takes place HERE – with such an intense presence that the past and the future dissolves. Because as an adult, I have become so used to pursuing plans, goals, careers, ideas, various abstract structures, that are helpful and do have a natural place in life, but that can block my life force when allowed to be in the foreground. Plans, goals, the past, and the future, that is not life – these are tools to live LIFE – and as tools – I decide when to use them. If my plans and my goals constantly arise within my inner mind throughout my day, and take focus from my present moment, then I am not in control, and then I have lost my childish innocence and ability to be present here.

There is a really good quote from Lao Tzu on this point:

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!

Other people are excited,
as though they were at a parade.
I alone don’t care,
I alone am expressionless,
like an infant before it can smile.

Other people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing.
I alone drift about,
like someone without a home.
I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

Other people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Other people are sharp;
I alone am dull.
Other people have purpose;
I alone don’t know.
I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.

I am different from ordinary people.
I drink from the Great Mother’s breasts.”

What I take from this quote is that there is great peace, joy and calm in living completely HERE and not defining oneself according to the changes that is a constant in reality. And it makes sense – that if I do not define my reality as positive or negative – and I do not define the changes that occur as good or bad – I will simply deal with whatever comes my way without any particular instability. When there are no expectations, no fears, no hopes, no desires – I will be able to live without constantly looking for something more and reacting to what comes about.

When it comes to purpose, I also enjoy this quote. Some days ago I heard a philosopher that talked about purpose. He said that if you lock yourself into a room for a month, then after a while, you will get an urge to do something, and that which you want to do, that is your purpose. What I saw however was that such an approach to purpose is limiting. Purpose is not something that is supposed to control us – and purpose will change from moment to moment. It does not make sense that we have one interest, hobby or passion that is to be our guiding beacon in life – and that we are supposed to arrange everything according to this experience. Because if that is the case, we will miss everything else! There is so much to life and to ourselves, and each moment holds a gift – a present to be unwrapped.

I do not want to have one purpose – I want to be purposeful – and repurposed for each and every moment to be the best that I can be. If my daughter needs some from me – my purpose is to be there for her. If I require to do something at work – my purpose is to get it done. If I am by myself with nothing in particular to do – my purpose can be whatever I wish – I can give myself the purpose to utterly relax and let go – and for a moment – allow my body to regain its energy. And living like this can probably be seen as an aimless drift – however there is a structure and a direction – it is in every moment – it is flexible and embracing – the same as water – and shifting with whatever is required. Water can crash, it can pour gently, it can find its way through small cracks or move around objects – it always works in symmetry with its environment.

I will be like water and practice living in every moment come what may – and stop valuing what others value, or make differences between yes and no, success and failure – all of it is still only different nuances of the present moment.


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