Thursday, 3 April 2008

Busy doing nothing ...

One of the random books listed in "My Library" in the sidebar is "The Tao of Pooh". The final chapter is about the value of doing nothing, which is a wonderful antidote to the Protestant Work Ethic we labour under, especially in this month of Parochial Church Council Annual Meetings (of which there are 11 in this Benefice!).

"In the forty-eighth chapter of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tse wrote, "To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day." Chuang-tse described the principle in his own humourous way:

"I am learning," Yen Hui said.
"How?" the Master asked.
"I forgot the rules of Righteousness and the levels of Benevolence," he replied.
"Good, but could be better," the Master said.

A few days later, Yen Hui remarked, "I am making progress."
"How?" the Master asked.
"I forgot the Rituals and the Music," he answered.
"Better, but not perfect," the Master said.

Some time later, Yen Hui told the Master, "Now I sit down and forget everything."
The Master looked up, startled. "What do you mean, you forget everything?" he asked.
"I forget my body and senses, and leave all appearance and information behind," answered Yen Hui. "I am in the middle of Nothing, I join the Source of All Things."
The Master bowed. "You have transcended the limitations of time and knowledge. I am far behind you. You have found the Way!"

As the book says, "An Empty sort of mind is valuable for finding 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."

The sun is shining - I've written the Sunday sermon, sorted out the music, and there's a clear page in the Diary (until this evening). It's a beautiful Spring day - time to wander out into the garden and listen to the birdsong ......