I have a copy of the Tao Te Ching in my car that I peruse from time to time. This morning, before dragging myself into my uninspiring career, I turned to page 34:
Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.
Know what is enough, and you’ll be rich.
Persevere, and you’ll develop a will.
Remain in the center, and you’ll always be home.
Die without dying, and you’ll endure forever.
Knowing what is enough. That one got me. If I truly analyze my life and lifestyle, I’m actually rich. I have a house, insurance, health, food, clean water, friends… Wow! that’s a lot of cool stuff! To boot, all of my friends have these things. We’re all rich! However, I have a sneaking suspicion we don’t believe it. We see it, but there isn’t a knowing. There isn’t a contentment. We are looking for more in our lives.
I heard a great podcast yesterday regarding the topic of masculinity. It was discussed that when men were asked what they wanted most in life, they would say “freedom”. The act of saying this is profoundly telling in that these men somehow feel to be a prisoner. What do men need “freedom” from? I would say that they need freedom from their minds telling them they’re not frigging free!!!
But this is it. We’re caught in an endless circle of “I don’t have enough of (insert noun here).”.
So to twist Lao Tzu a bit: “Know what is enough, and you’ll be free.”