The spiritual authority to relax
Got a funny little book from my daughter for Christmas: The Tao of Pooh. It's definitely amusing along with being thought-provoking, and I think on some level I learned something about the Tao, a bit about Confucianism and even a smidge about Buddha. Although without re-reading my Winnie-the-Pooh as well, I can't quite be sure.
Anyway, here's a comforting excerpt:
[Q]uite often, the easiest way to get rid of a Minus is to change it to a Plus. Sometimes you will find that characteristics you try hard to eliminate eventually come back, anyway. But if you do the right things, they will come back in the right ways. And sometimes those very tendencies that you dislike the most can show up in the right way at the right time to save your life, somehow. … 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, to 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.
I liked that. It kind of told me to relax a bit. I perhaps didn't read this little philosophical book with entirely the right spirit—I argued mentally with most of it as I read—but one overall impression I did get was that we have the spiritual authority to relax.
For after all, we have all eternity. I believe that existence is a constant state of progression. We're never "done," so there's no need to "push." How much good can we do right now, with what we have? It seems to me that the Divine works within us to make it clear when we need to take out the tools and get the job done.
There's a balance between wanting to grow as rapidly as possible and loving ourselves enough to take it as it comes. This point of balance I think is where happiness is. Consciously dwelling at that point brings a serenity—or that's what I'm conjecturing, since I'm not there all that often! But when I am there, there's a fulfilled peace that seems more real than all the rushing around I do normally.
What I liked about the above quoted passage is that it's saying that goodness comes forth naturally. Growth happens despite our best efforts to rush it or thwart it. This coincides with my belief that being the image and likeness of God is irresistible. It's our very nature, so can't be hidden forever, but will burst forth like apple blossoms in the spring.
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