Monday, September 03, 2012

The Tao of Pooh: Quotes from the Book

I said I'd give you some quotes and here they are:

"According to Lao-tse, the more man interfered
with the natural balance produced and governed by
the universal laws, the further away the harmony
retreated into the distance. The more forcing, the
more trouble. Whether heavy or light, wet or dry,
fast or slow, everything had its own nature already
within it, which could not be violated without
causing difficulties. When abstract and arbitrary
rules were imposed from the outside, struggle was
inevitable. Only then did life become sour."

"Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply:
"Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie."

Let's start with the first part: "A fly can't bird,
but a bird can fly." Very simple. It's obvious, isn't
it? And yet, you'd be surprised how many people
violate this simple principle every day of their lives
and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring
the clear reality that Things Are As They Are"

That doesn't mean that we need to stop
changing and improving. It just means that we need
to recognize What's There. If you face the fact that
you have weak muscles, say, then you can do the
right things and eventually become strong. But if
you ignore What's There and try to lift someone's
car out of a ditch, what sort of condition will you be
in after a while? And even if you have more muscle
than anyone alive, you still can't push over a freight
train. The wise know their limitations; the foolish
do not.

When you work with Wu Wei, you put the
round peg in the round hole and the square peg in
the square hole. No stress, no struggle. Egotistical
Desire tries to force the round peg into the square
hole and the square peg into the round hole. Clev-
erness tries to devise craftier ways of making peg;
fit where they don't belong. Knowledge tries to fig-
ure out why round pegs fit round holes, but not
square holes. Wu Wei doesn't try. It doesn't think
about it. It just does it. And when it does, it doesn't
appear to do much of anything. But Things Get

Using Wu Wei, you go by circumstances and
listen to your own intuition. "This isn't the best
time to do this. I'd better go that way." Like that.
When you do that sort of thing, people may say you
have a Sixth Sense or something. All it really is,
though, is being Sensitive to Circumstances. That's
just natural. It's only strange when you don't listen.
One of the most convenient things about this
Sensitivity to Circumstances is that you don't have
to make so many difficult decisions. Instead, you
can let them make themselves.

The Athletic sort of Backson—one of the many
common varieties—is concerned with physical fit-
ness, he says. But for some reason, he sees it as
something that has to be pounded in from the out-
side, rather than built up from the inside. There-
fore, he confuses exercise with work. He works
when he works, works when he exercises, and, more
often than not, works when he plays. Work, work,

Our Bisy Backson religions, sciences, and business
ethics have tried their hardest to convince us that
there is a Great Reward waiting for us somewhere,
and that what we have to do is spend our lives
working like lunatics to catch up with it.

"I was having an awful dream," he said.
"Yes. I'd found a jar of honey. . . .," he said,
rubbing his eyes.
"What's awful about that?" I asked.
"It kept moving," said Pooh. "They're not
supposed to do that. They're supposed to sit still."
"Yes, I know."
"But whenever I reached for it, this jar of
honey would sort of go someplace else."
"A nightmare," I said.
"Lots of people have dreams like that," I
added reassuringly.
"Oh," said Pooh. "About Unreachable jars of
"About the same sort of thing," I said. "That's
not unusual. The odd thing, though, is that some
people live like that."

"Why?" asked Pooh
"I don't know," I said. "I suppose because it
gives them Something to Do."
"It doesn't sound like much fun to me," said

"Say, Pooh, why aren't you busy?" I said.
"Because it's a nice day," said Pooh.
"Yes, but-----"
"Why ruin it?" he said.
"But you could be doing something Impor-
tant," I said.
"I am," said Pooh.
"Oh? Doing what?"
"Listening," he said.
"Listening to what?"
"To the birds. And that squirrel over there."
"What are they saying?" I asked.
"That it's a nice day," said Pooh.
"But you know that already," I said
"Yes, but it's always good to hear that some-
body else thinks so, too," he replied.

The main problem with this great obsession for
Saving Time is very simple: you can't save time.
You can only spend it. But you can spend it wisely
or foolishly. The Bisy Backson has practically no
time at all, because he's too busy wasting it by try-
ing to save it. And by trying to save every bit of it,
he ends up wasting the whole thing.

In the middle of a particularly busy day, the
emperor was driven to a meeting hall for an ap-
pointment of some kind. But when he arrived, there
was no one there. The emperor walked into the
middle of the great hall, stood silently for a mo-
ment, then bowed to the empty space. He turned to
his assistants, a large smile on his face. "We must
schedule more appointments like this," he told
them. "I haven't enjoyed myself so much in a long

An Empty sort of mind is valuable for finding
pearls and tails and 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 wise are Children Who
Know. Their minds have been emptied of the
countless minute somethings of small learning, and
filled with the wisdom of the Great Nothing, the
Way of the Universe.

...We can
go there at any time. It's not far away; it's not hard
to find. Just take the path to Nothing, and go No-
where until you reach it. Because the Enchanted
Place is right where you are, and if you're Friendly
With Bears, you can find it

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