Tao Te Ching – Chapter 79
Resentment always leads
to more resentment.
Only contentment leads
Therefore we do not seek advantage or control.
Our contentment is independent of the actions of others.
Seeking a special position is not the way of life.
There are no “special favorites” along this path.
It unfolds itself before whoever walks along it.
I am conditioned to feel content only when I have my ducks in a row. This, of course, requires constant effort and is ultimately a futile endeavor. Ducks never stay in a row for long. Therefore what culture calls contentment is a fragile demanding thing, never staying long yet insisting that it be pursued.
I will sit in the evening sipping a scotch and give a large sigh of contentment. Terrified, my conditioned mind goes quickly to work lest it lose control. It subtly whispers some common theme, like: “Money’s getting low. What are you going to do? …” The whisper could be about money, health, weather, society – whatever will hook my and drag me away from my natural contentment.
I’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding this hook, but occasionally I’ll bite. Usually I shake loose before too long. I’m no longer trying to be anyone special. I’m not looking for a special position. I am just walking along whatever path opens to me. Next step: Coffee.