Knowing what is enough…

I have a copy of the Tao Te Ching in the car that I peruse from time to time. It’s an easy thing to pick up for a nugget or two of wisdom. This morning, before dragging myself into the office, 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 too. We’re all rich! However, I have a sneaking suspicion we don’t believe it. We see it, but there isn’t a knowing; a deeper knowledge this this is enough. There isn’t a contentment, which I commiserate with every day. We are looking for more in our lives but enter dull careers, watch sports, drink alcohol… anything to defeat the gnawing feeling we have deep down in our gut.

I heard a podcast yesterday regarding the topic of masculinity. When men were asked what they wanted most in life, the majority of them would say “freedom”. Freedom. Weird. Admitting this is profoundly telling, in that these men somehow feel to be a prisoner of their lives. What do men need “freedom” from?! I would say that they need freedom from their minds telling them they’re not frigging free!!!

But how? Too many self-help books are on the shelves. I know a guy who’s a life coach and when he tried to explain to his Facebook friends whyhow everyone could use a coach, they balked. “God is my teacher!”. “I learned everything I need to know from my Dad!”, etc.

AND YET! And yet. These men still feel the need to be free.

“A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”

We’re caught in an endless circle of “I don’t have enough of (insert noun here)”. It’s a trap. A flat circle of repeating behaviors.

“The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
the happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
the wealthier he is.”

I see you guys (and gals). I see you in me. I see me in you. Call it Yin and Yang, quantum entanglement, whatever. I am trying… desperately trying… to live my art. But it’s like I’m a dark room with a flashlight that only shines a very narrow beam. I get clues, but the whole picture is not clear.

My intention is to connect. Connect to the knowing that this is enough.

Sincerely,

Kevin