Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 21, Part 8

Trey Smith

Confucius said, "I would like to hear by what means this may be accomplished."

"Beasts that feed on grass do not fret over a change of pasture; creatures that live in water do not fret over a change of stream. They accept the minor shift as long as the all-important constant is not lost. [Be like them] and joy, anger, grief, and happiness can never enter your breast. In this world, the ten thousand things come together in One, and if you can find that One and become identical with it, then your four limbs and hundred joints will become dust and sweepings; life and death, beginning and end will be mere day and night, and nothing whatever can confound you - certainly not the trifles of gain or loss, good or bad fortune!

"A man will discard the servants who wait upon him as though they were so much earth or mud, for he knows that his own person is of more worth than the servants who tend it. Worth lies within yourself and no external shift will cause it to be lost. And since the ten thousand transformations continue without even the beginning of an end, how could they be enough to bring anxiety to your mind? He who practices the Way understands all this."

~ Burton Watson translation ~
It is not uncommon to say, "She makes me so unhappy" or "What could I do, he made me so mad." We like to project our own decisions unto others. It is our way of absolving ourselves from responsibility.

But we each choose how we react to external stimuli. When we are unhappy or angry, it is because we have chosen to be so...which suggests that we easily can decide NOT to be so.

To view the Index page for this series, go here.

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