Reflections on Chapter 48 of the Tao Te Ching:
By seeking knowledge every day,
something is gained.
By seeking Tao every day,
something is lost.
Less and less until at last
there is no action at all.
Nothing done and nothing left undone.
Through interfering, one loses the world.
Without interfering, one gains the world.
Life is full of more.
Can I have more of this, more of that? I think it is cool to think of it as less. Imagine if everyone in the world was like, “I don’t need anything. I’m good. I have plenty.” The concept is wonderful. Think if everyone was trying to lose things all the time instead of get things. I’ve been fascinated by reading about people who have gone down to 100 possessions, live super simply or live in tiny houses.
You don’t need all the stuff.
I was watching this documentary called Radical Simplicity. It was about this guy who grew his own food, cooked his own food on a solar cooker and rode his bicycle to work 30 miles (round trip?). He does everything that he can to make less of a carbon footprint. It was a beautiful story of how we really just don’t need all these things. It made me look at my own life and just think about how there is so much that I just don’t need.
I am getting a new kitchen right now. Today, as we speak, I have the granite guys coming out to put in the new countertops. I am getting new stuff. I am keeping some of the old stuff, but the countertops I had were from the 1960s or something so it was way overdue. But in making the choices of what I am getting for the kitchen, I tried to choose materials that were very high quality that will last a long time. That is part of the reasons why I kept the cabinets. They were hand built and are very strong. I did not want to spend a huge amount so anything I could buy cheaply would not have been nearly that sturdy as those old hand built cabinets. It will be a bit of work to repaint them, but worth it in quality.
As I am painting each cabinet, as I take things out I am looking at everything and deciding if I need it before putting it back… it’s a deep kitchen cleanse. I have a very small home. I chose this intentionally so that it makes me more aware of my stuff. Living here has taught me to be very efficient and to go through my belongings on a regular basis.
Less is more.
You see this with food too. If you go out to a restaurant, you usually get huge servings of food. It is just too much food. My husband and I have been going to the gym to get in shape, so we cut our dinners in half sometimes. The half is plenty of food! Part of my process in this is becoming aware of my excesses. Where am I needing to simplify? I am continually looking at my processes and what I am working on and what I am doing that is really unnecessary. That is what he is talking about here. You really don’t need so much. When you simplify things down and have less, the things that you do have you are able to really focus on them and appreciate them.
The more you really study your life,
you come to an understanding of what is important.
It is more about learning what to let go of than what to take on. When you are working on your own development, your tendency may be to focus on what you need to DO. There is a big list of what you feel you need to do in order to gain enlightenment, achieve nirvana, feel better about yourself, etc.
The Tao is saying is that nothing needs to be done.
Right now, in this very spot, there is Tao. In every moment. You don’t need to have situations change in order to… You have a practice ground everywhere that you are. Everywhere that you are, you can practice Tao. Since right now, this moment, is all that there ever is, whatever situation you are in, in this moment, is perfect for what it is that you are wanting to do.
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