Did you know one of the greatest Taoist of modern times is none other than Pooh Bear?
“While Eeyore frets
and Piglet hesitates
and Rabbit calculates
and Owl pontificates,
Pooh just is.”
~ Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh.
My first reading of the Tao Te Ching (pronounced, Dow Deh Jing), as translated by Stephen Mitchell, was almost 25 years ago. I put it down after the first few pages. It made no sense to me. Clearly, I wasn’t ready for the profound teachings of such ancient wisdom, but a seed had been planted.
My spiritual journey started in earnest some years later. I studied the major religions and eastern traditions and read the works of contemporary spiritual teachers. Slowly my eyes began to open.
When I revisited the Tao Te Ching after my studies, I read the book with new eyes and was mesmerized! It was so simple and yet ungraspable. I bought the audio version and meditated to the words of the Tao for several years. This is one of my favorite passages.
Every being in the universe
is an expression of the Tao.
it springs into existence,
unconscious, perfect, free,
takes on a physical body,
lets circumstances complete it.
That is why every being
spontaneously honors the Tao.
The Tao gives birth to all beings,
nourishes them, maintains them,
cares for them, comforts them, protects them,
takes them back to itself,
creating without possessing,
acting without expecting,
guiding without interfering.
That is why love of the Tao
is in the very nature of things.
~Passage 51, Tao Te Ching
The Tao Te Ching or, “Book of the Way” is comprised of 81 passages, written by Lao Tzu, of whom little is known, other than he lived in China around 551 B.C.E. His legacy is the Tao, the art of living. Stephen Mitchell describes it as, “One of the wonders of the world,” and I agree. But when asked to explain the meaning of the Tao, words fail me – until I found Pooh. The Tao of Pooh is a present-day gateway into the wisdom of the Tao. Author, Benjamin Hoff describes it this way:
“Within each of us there is an Owl, a Rabbit, an Eeyore, and a Pooh. For too long, we have chosen the way of Owl and Rabbit. Now, like Eeyore, we complain about the results. But that accomplishes nothing. If we are smart, we will choose the way of Pooh. As if from far away, it calls to us with the voice of a child’s mind. It may be hard to hear at times, but it is important just the same, because without it, we will never find our way through the forest.”
~Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
And so my fellow travelers, if you find yourself fretting, hesitating, calculating or pontificating, may I suggest you allow Pooh to guide you through the forest and the wisdom of the Tao. Happy trails!