I realized that I'd started a lot of books lately but hadn't finished any of them. My appetite for new worlds was defeating my patience for the journey, an interesting reverse of my yachting preference. It didn't feel right. So I decided to tackle the shortest one as a catalyst for the rest.
In progress are these:
- One, Two, Three... Infinity
- The God of Small Things
- Don Quixote
- The Catcher in the Rye
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
And the one I just finished is The Tao of Pooh . It takes on a crazy task: To explain Taoism in 150 pages, with Winnie the Pooh as a case study.
I love Winnie the Pooh. He has this blissfully nonchalant approach to life that lets him flow unlike anyone else. This book extracts some of the bigger principles; it gives those seeking to be like Pooh some direction by using characters and anecdotes from A. A. Milne back to ancient Chinese Taoists.
It's a short read. But to go through it quickly would have robbed me of the contemplation that makes a book meaningful. It's full of paradoxes, and the only way to make sense of them is to live them.
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 Done.
You know those people for whom everything just works out? I think it's a matter of worldview rather than consistent luck.
It seems fairly obvious to some of us that a lot of scholars need to go outside and sniff around - walk through the grass, talk to the animals. That sort of thing.
Some of my nicest moments this week were just going from one place to another, not thinking about anything. Listening to music without words, embracing the character of a familiar walk, getting soaked by the impartial rain. Feeling, but not thinking. Letting out my inner Pooh.