Monday, December 11, 2006

Happiness comes from harmony

Like a fortune cookie words stare at me stating:

Happiness comes from harmony, not wealth and fame.

Lao Zi

It further explains: In this saying, Lao Zi captures the Taoist attitude toward money and social status. while most people aspire to such goals, imagining them to be a source of happiness, the Taoist masters dismiss them as at best irrelevant and at worst an impediment to well-being.

Yang Zi teaches, "Four desires disturb our peace: The desires for a long life, fame, social prestige, and wealth. Those without these things are given no rest by their dissatisfaction and those with these things live in constant fear of losing them. It is the opposite with those who entrust their lives to destiny."

From the Taoist perspective, the majority of us spend most of our time valuing the wrong things, so it is no surprise that so few people are really happy. Lao Zi teaches, "the wise do not value a huge gemstone as much as a little time. Time is hard to find and easy to lose." If we fail to appreciate fully the gift of life, we are wasting our most precious resource and no amount of fame and gain will ever help us. Yen Zi comments, "If someone neglected his business to wander around aimlessly, people would say he was crazy. Yet those who completely ignore the inevitability of death and obsessively seek wealth and prestige are called sane!"

Happiness is our natural state when we are in harmony with Tao. When we allow our desires for wealth and status to disturb our innate contentedness, they become hindrances to happiness. True happiness lies in changing ourselves on the inside so that we come into harmony with Tao, not accumulating wealth and prestige in the world. Lao Zi explains, "The wise transform the inner to make the outer enjoyable, they don't try to transform the outer to make the inner enjoyable. They experience spontaneous enjoyment within themselves.

The photos above are the closest I got in visually expressing what I just read.

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