Friday, May 18, 2012

Stop Thinking

Another great quote on thoughtless awareness:

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!

Other people are excited,
as though they were at a parade.
I alone don't care,
I alone am expressionless,
like an infant before it can smile.

Other people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing.
I alone drift about,
like someone without a home.
I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

Other people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Other people are sharp;
I alone am dull.
Other people have purpose;
I alone don't know.
I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.

I am different from ordinary people.
I drink from the Great Mother's breasts.” 
 Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching


Greenfield said...

I never understood this. For me this a true form of regression and written in a completely different time and mindset! Can't he just accept that live is just not balanced. This form of thoughtless awarness is good when your dead or completely retarded. We have to live are lives choosing, perhaps under the influence of some enlightement, one side. Awarness is one sided.
I don't see how without escapism we can embress this!

jeronimus said...

Hi Greenfield. You are right in that thoughtless awareness does not mean unconsciousness.
Lao Tse was a highly intelligent man employed at a very high administrative position in the Imperial court of China. Though he later abandoned it.
It's possible that this is not a very sympathetic translation but Lao Tse and other Chinese poets deliberately evoke states of mind which seem extremely laxe to the Western mind, in order to create an antidote to the excessively mental and strict executive behaviour of the administrative classes who would have read it (they were the only ones who could read).
Asian philosophy is all about balancing, in order to reach the Self. If Lao Tse had been born into a lazy, regressive environment, he would probably have emphasised rigor and action.
Understand it as poetry, not as a doctrine to follow. Lao Tse was completely anti-doctrinaire. He incarnated as a balance to the strictness of Confucianism. Not to refute it, but to balance it or complement it. Lao Tse's poetry has to be put into context.
Actually ego - which feeds on thought - is the true escapism from the Self.