Monday, August 30, 2010

Crossing the Monkey Bars

The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle:

Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses,
    it swings from one desire to the next,
    one conflict to the next,
    one self-centered idea to the next.
If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life. 

Let this monkey go.
Let the senses go.
Let desires go.
Let conflicts go.
Let ideas go.
Let the fiction of life and death go.
Just remain in the center, watching.

And then forget that you are there.

~Lao Tzu

Photograph by Jeff Barron


  1. I have devoted a lifetime, Teresa, to the search for ultimate wisdom, and this short statement by Lao Tzu contains almost everything I have learned. The challenge, of course, is to bring one's conduct into accordance with these principles. I cannot say that I have succeeded totally, or my life is still a work in progress, but I can say that I have moved much closer to the spirit of the Tao Te Ching, Buddhism, and Zen, and, as a result, my life has found much more peace and contentment.

    Thanks for helping to spread this wisdom. It is needed more than ever in today's materially driven and often insane world.

  2. Correction: I see that I have made a typo. That seventh line should read, "for my life is still a work in progress."

  3. George: Thanks for visiting. I so enjoyed your blog. What a feast for the eyes, images and words. The words of Lao Tzu bring me so much peace, always coming back to our Oneness.

  4. Lovely. A personal goal, to have an empty but observant mind.

  5. I think I should be forced to read this every day.
    Grethe `(

  6. Grethe: It certainly is meeting my immediate need and will be a reminder to me for some time to come, of how to surrender my ego to Love. I hope you're sleeping well, dreaming of butterflies.

  7. The great and beautiful thing about the ancient philosophy is that the words are so vague and you can make them apply to what you want. To achieve "what I think these words are trying say" would be impossible, living in our society as it is today. To my mind, one would have to live in a monastary or in a completely secluded part of the world. I've seen the change of many generations and it's a different world we live in today. I like a simple life but to sit in the center and become a zero and then poof. But I imagine that is what it must take to be sure of never having to return and do it all over again. Disgusting thought. Do you think you would recall any of what you had learned this time?

    No matter where you live in today's world, you have to come in contact with money and/or people. If you own a remote piece of the mountain (as I do) you still have to pay taxes and you never get so far away that some religious group out on their quest, won't come knocking on your door.

    I've been trying to lighten my load. Got ready for a garage sale and then I thought, "I can't do this." A friend told me about a church that was having a garage sale. I called them and they came and got the whole truck load full. Now my living room echos, it's so empty. I remember my early Japanese teacher used say if you have a cluttered house, you have a cluttered mind. Is my mind any less cluttered? We'll see.

    Thank you Teresa. You can see, you made me think. But I feel I'm just going in circles.
    Adios, my friend

  8. I think the ego is a source of a lot of grief for some people. Thanks for posting this poem.

  9. Manzanita: For me, it is a matter of practice, practice, practice. Some days are easier than others. Today, I have gone though the "going in circles," thing myself, feeling as though the hate and fear-mongers of the world will win, history will repeat itself and we're up a creek without a paddle. But, hope springs eternal. I will continue to practice, because I can make choices every day to remain peaceful in my thought, at least. And, we can have fun, like you do with your friend, Marilyn. That is life, and it's real and good, and that's what matters, ultimately.

  10. Paul: The ego comes in many forms. I work, every day to be the best human being I can be, the best spiritual being I can be. What else is there? Some days I do okay. Some days I stink at it. Thank you for your comment.

  11. This is puts the ego in perspective and presents a simple lesson on dealing with our egos. I just love it!

  12. Cheryl: Thank you for your response. I like the way you summarized. Exactly so.

  13. One other thing that I meant to say...that photo is SO pretty! Would love to spend some time there.