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Simplicity, Patience, Compassion

Simplicity, Patience, Compassion.

The link is to a short poem written by Lao Tzu. The world is a complex place, but nature operates in simple ways. Because of this, the phenomena we experience and how we experience their essence is not easily revealed.

Being mindful requires patience. It takes time to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. It is there and it speaks to us when we stop and listen with our heart. When we are patient, we can show our gratitude for those things that slip by unnoticed in life’s busyness.

Being patient, begins with showing compassion for ourselves. Without this compassion, we can hardly expect to care for the world, sentient and non-sentient, we continuously encounter. Being patient and compassionate, allows us to be grateful for what we experience, our living.

The Wisdom of Peace

Lao Tzu wrote this poem as part of his work many centuries ago. The hard work of transforming life begins internally and closest to home. Sabbath practice and the mindfulness that comes with it are essential ingredients to living life in a fuller, honest, and moment-to-moment way.

We only bring peace to the world when there is peace in our hearts. From there, we gradually move outwards and the ripple effects are felt gradually first in our home, then our communities, cities, in our nations, and finally in the world. It is not the work of one person and one life time, but the work of many and many life times.

In this rippling, leading is not leading others as much as it is leading my self in the world and touching others with new-found peace.

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

Tolerance and Flexibility

Despite the weather, we had a great day. Many students do not attend Fridays. In past years, we attended every second Monday. Our administration changed that this year without consulting parents or me. I struggled with it for several months and made a dramatic shift a couple of months ago. I decided to devote Fridays to art i.e. drawing, painting, and building. I am not an artist in that sense, but was able to get access to resources from a friend who is an artist and an excellent teacher. The students enjoy the change. We built kites today and I felt a positive and life-giving energy in the room. I thought of this poem by Lao Tzu.

Living humans are soft and limber.

Dead they are hard and rigid.

Living, the 10, 000 grasses and wood species are soft and crisp.

So “hard” and “rigid” accompany death.

“Soft” and “limber” accompany life.

So if armies are coercive, they do not triumph.

When wood is strong, the axe comes out.

Strength and dominance reside below.

The soft and limber belong higher.

The Uses of Not

I wrote about paradox in Warrior’s Quest and part of the motivating force was this poem. It takes real courage to accept paradox and hold the tension. The hole in the whole completes the whole.

Thirty spokes

meet in the hub.

Where the wheel isn’t

is where it’s useful.

Hollowed out,

clay makes the pot.

Where the pot’s not

is where it’s useful.

Cut doors and windows

to make a room.

Where the room isn’t

there’s room for you.

So the profit in what is

is in the use of what isn’t.

Lao Tzu

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