There are several children’s classic books like Cinderalla, 3 Billy Goats Gruff, Winnie the Pooh, Ugly Duckling etc., that teach us about human nature, the struggles of life, and how one can rise through murky waters.
Another inspiring book that can help us navigate the path of life is the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. It provides a simple introduction to Taoism and how the teachings can be applied to life.
Here are some of the quotes from the Tao of Pooh to assist life’s flow ~
1) “There are things about ourselves that we need to get rid of; there are things we need to change. But at the same time, we do not need to be too desperate, too ruthless, too combative. Along the way to usefulness and happiness, many of those things will change themselves, and the others can be worked on as we go. The first thing we need to do is recognize and trust our own Inner Nature, and not lose sight of it.”
As Bruce Lee says, be like water, water doesn’t stop when you block its path with a rock it goes around it. Similarly no matter what life throws at us, while we’re alive we may take a day, a month or even a year to figure out how to overcome our obstacles but we learn a vital lesson from the experience.
So instead of driving yourself crazy trying to bring about change, just getting through the day at times is an act that requires evolution.
Brooke Hampton, puts this in perspective with this quote, “Drop the endless guilt trip bullshit. Instead of focusing so much on the things you want to eliminate, focus on the things you want to add to your life. Stop beating yourself up. Just keep adding the good shit and the bad shit will eliminate itself.”
Call draw on the fight with yourself and take a moment to relax, by keeping calm and doing what your soul desires is the path. You already know this, perhaps just skipped a beat with the pace of routine.
2) “Sooner or later, we are bound to discover some things about ourselves that we don’t like. But once we see they’re there, we can decide what we want to do with them. Do we want to get rid of them completely, change them into other things, or use them in beneficial ways? The last two approaches are often especially Useful, since they avoid head on conflict, and therefore minimize struggle. Also, they allow those transformed characteristics to be added to the list of things we have that help us out.
In a similar manner, instead of struggling to erase what we refer to as negative emotions, we can learn to use them in positive ways.
“We could describe the principle like this: while pounding on the piano keys may produce noise, removing them doesn’t exactly further the creation of music.”
Finding ourselves is an endless process and we are bound to meet several ugly versions on our path. On my journey there is one monster that keeps raising its ugly head repeatedly, my anger.
I have lost my cool on multiple occasions, especially with my mother, and the whole situation leaves me feeling distressed, frustrated and helpless.
There is an urgent need for transformation, I am aware about that. I have to learn to channelise it in the right direction, and get to the heart of the matter.
It’s always a work in-progress. If we overpower the demons in the forest of our mind, we begin to see life, donning a positive hat.
Like Kahlil Gibran said, “March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path.”
3) “In order to take control of our lives and accomplish something of lasting value, sooner or later we need to learn to believe. We don’t need to shift our responsibilities onto the shoulders of some deified Spiritual Superman, or sit around and wait for Fate to come knocking at the door. We simply need to believe in the power that’s within us, and use it. When we do that, and stop imitating others and competing against them, things begin to work for us.”
It is so easy to doubt ourselves and our capabilities, and believe what others say about us. Self doubt is like walking on a tightrope, we can reach our destination if we stay focused, but if we begin to fear, we will get trapped in an endless loop of misery and low self esteem.
It’s a matter of choice one has to make: to either believe in yourself or get sucked into self-pity and feelings of self-doubt.
“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” ~ Honore de Balzac
4) “Many people are afraid of Emptiness, however, because it reminds them of Loneliness. Everything has to be filled in, it seems – appointments books, hillsides, vacant lots – but when all the spaces are filled, the Loneliness really begins. Then the Groups are joined, the Classes are signed up for, and the Gift-to-Yourself items are bought. When the Loneliness starts creeping in the door, the Television Set is turned on to make it go away. But it doesn’t go away. So some of us do instead, and after discarding the emptiness of the Big Congested Mess, we discover the fullness of Nothing.”
So many feel proud that their day is planned with endless activities, meetings, shopping etc etc. Running the rat race, trying to keep up with deadlines, attending meetings, working on week ends, social media late in to the night, perhaps we’ve forgotten what its like to sit idle doing absolutely nothing.
Busyness is an addiction and you might not know what to do in its absence, because silence is something most people can’t handle. The say and idle mind is a devils workshop.
The truth is we all need to confront the devil in the workshop and take over his business. Use this time to connect with yourself, face your fears and turn this loneliness into solitude.
5) “…the adult is not the highest stage of development. The end of the cycle is that of the independent, clear-minded, all-seeing Child. That is the level known as wisdom. When the Tao te Ching and other wise books say things like, “Return to the beginning; become a child again” that’s what they are referring to. Why do the enlightened seem filled with light and happiness like children? Why do they sometimes even look and talk like children? Because they are. The wise are Children Who Know. Their minds have been emptied of the countless minute somethings of small learning and filled with the great wisdom of the Great Nothing, the Way of the Universe.”
I have met few people in my life who have been an inspiration on my journey and the common thing that they all share is the lightness in their heart, sparkle in their eyes and pureness in their soul – just like a child.
Children are wonderful teachers who remind us how to live our life and derive happiness and joy from the most mundane and little things in life.
Empty your mind of prejudices, desires, redundant thoughts and the daily knick knacks; when you pour out all the garbage, is when you connect with your authentic self.
“Everything is emptiness. Everything else, accidental. Emptiness brings peace to your loving. Everything else, disease. In this world of trickery, emptiness is what your soul wants.” ~ Rumi
6) “Things just happen in the right way, at the right time. At least when you let them, when you work with circumstances instead of saying, ‘This isn’t supposed to be happening this way,’ and trying harder to make it happen some other way.”
Failure is your friend, it may not look like it when its happening. It can be extremely frustrating while you’re continuously trying to make it but when you get through it and look back you would realize you wouldn’t be where you’re today without the pains of yesterday.
One of my favourite quotes that inspired me and edged me on comes from a speech by Steve Jobs,”The dots will connect.” You may end up doing odd jobs that are completely different, you may not have a clue where its taking you but ten one day it will all make sense.
So don’t push too hard. Have you ever tried to open a flower bud before its time. It just doesn’t work that way, everything has its time, be patient good things are on their way!
7) “Cleverness, after all, has its limitations. Its mechanical judgments and clever remarks tend to prove inaccurate with passing time, because it doesn’t look very deeply into things to begin with.”
Everybody is growing and learning. Clever is good, but never put down a person for their lack of knowing. As Buddha said a single candle can light up so many more candles and still it does not shine any lesser.
Be an enabler in a system of disablers, be someone who spreads the love when everyone seems to be out spreading hate. Be the good if you cannot find any.
8) “A way of life that keeps saying, “Around the next corner, above the next step,” works against the natural order of things and makes it so difficult to be happy and good that only a few get to where they would naturally have been in the first place-happy and good- and the rest give up and fall by the side of the road, cursing the world, which is not to blame but which is there to help show the way.”
No longer are the donkeys walking towards the dangling carrots, its us who have taken their place walking with our smartphones looking at what we should buy next to fill this void created by a society that sells us stuff saying we aren’t complete.
I like people, monk or anyone who can live a life of simplicity. Knowing for a fact we come here with nothing and we will leave with nothing.
But what about all the love you give, all the stuff you share, all the people you make happy by buying a meal, a smile, an open door. This is what we carry in our hearts that builds up and creates a lasting happiness.
As they say when you have more than you need, instead of building a wall, build a larger table. If you don’t have enough, life can be really simple, it’s us who makes existing difficult.
9) “An Empty sort of mind is valuable for finding pearls and tails and things because it can see what’s in front of it. An Overstuffed mind is unable to. While the Clear mind listens to a bird singing, the Stuffed-Full-of-Knowledge-and-Cleverness mind wonders what kind of bird is singing. The more Stuffed Up it is, the less it can hear through its own ears and see through its own eyes. Knowledge and Cleverness tend to concern themselves with the wrong sort of things, and a mind confused by Knowledge, Cleverness, and Abstract Ideas tends to go chasing off after things that don’t matter, or that don’t even exist, instead of seeing, appreciating, and making use of what is right in front of it.”
I don’t consider myself awakened, but someone who’s on the journey and I used to be full of knowledge. Used to love keeping track of everything around the world and then have conversations about it.
Technology, science, politics, automobiles, ask me anything and I could tell you what the leading tech is, whats happening around the world and hold debates with this bullshit never ending cycle of knowledge that just feeds the ego.
Although I honestly haven’t managed to give up all of this I do not engage in conversations with the idea to outsmart someone but to learn something new which completely changes the dynamics of acquiring knowledge and if you’re lucky wisdom too.