A Simple Life

A Simple Life

To live content with small means. To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion. To be worthy not respectable, and wealthy not rich. To listen to stars and birds and babes and sages with an open heart. To study hard, think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions. Never hurry. In a word, to let the spiritual, the unbidden and the unconscious rise up through the common. This is my symphony. –William Henry Channing (1810-1884)

This is such a wise saying. I couldn’t resist writing something about it. If we were to heed the greedy, avaricious, consumer-driven voices of our culture, we would think these words to have been written by an insane man. Thank the gods we don’t listen to them. This is basically the same simple life of Taoism. Chuang Tzu says

Do not seek fame. Do not make plans. Do not be absorbed by activities. Do not think that you know. Be aware of all that is and dwell in the infinite. Wander where there is no path. Be all that Heaven gave you, but act as though you have received nothing. Be empty, that is all. The mind of a perfect man is like a mirror. It grasps nothing. It expects nothing. It reflects but does not hold. Therefore the perfect man can act without effort. (From a translation of The Sage King, Inner Chapters by Chang Tsu)

How such a philosophy, if implemented, would turn our world completely upside down!

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