Thursday, April 28, 2011

One step closer to Utopia

My husband and I just made the single largest purchase of our entire lives. We bought our first home together. This immense undertaking has me considering the 80th verse of the Tao Te Ching.

Let your community be small, with only a few people
Keep tools in abundance but do not depend on them.
Appreciate your life and be content with your home
Sail boats and ride horses, but don't go too far.
Keep weapons and armor but do not employ them
Let everyone read and write, eat well and make beautiful things.
Live peacefully and delight in your own society

Dwell within the cock-crow of your neighbors,
But maintain your independence from them.

The electronic version I took this translation from titles this verse: Utopia.

Firstly, letting my community be small should be relatively easy when moving to the thriving metropolis of Fremont, a population of about 700. Also, anyone who knows my Captain, knows that keeping weapons and armor on hand goes without saying. Maintaining independence comes from the fact that we wish to begin producing much more of our own food and our own electricity.

The two lines that really reach me at the moment are:
Appreciate your life and be content with your home & Let everyone read and write, eat well and make beautiful things. ~ That really does describe utopia to me, and I feel closer than ever to reaching it.

Through the chaos of buying a house, moving and the many changes happening in our lives right now, I hope to keep this verse in mind and bring this utopia to fruition.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Weekly Pondering

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.
- Verse 9 of Tao Te Ching

This entire verse speaks to the majority of things which make me unhappy on a daily basis. I recently had a long talk with my mom about cultivating the ability to step away from my work. For me, school work is constantly on my mind, I set myself a schedule, which is good, but then if I don't get things done in the time I had set aside, I am super hard on myself and will be distracted until I am able to catch up.

Caring about people's approval has always been a problem for me, which takes it's form in social anxiety. I have spent much of my adult life battling the fact that I actually get physically ill if faced with unpleasant social situations. Interesting, though, that I never saw this as a part of my spiritual journey. Clearly, in this verse, Lao Tzu has pin pointed how much social anxiety made me a prisoner, and I am so happy to be casting of those shackles more and more each day.

Above all, this verse speaks of moderation to me. Moderation is a matter I feel I need to introduce into every aspect of my life. Diet, clutter, TV, FB, and various unproductive leisure activities are areas where I tend to either be too lenient or to strict. Each of these things has value, from nutrition to destressing, but can also be damaging if allowed to go unchecked. Moderation is the key not depriving, but not overindulging either.

Obviously, this is all easier said than done. But I am perfectly aware that I'm just a work in progress. :D