Oh, to be Simple

"If you don't walk around with the weight of the world on your back, people think you're simple."

These are my mother mother's words of wisdom. She cast these pearls before me a long time ago when we were having a conversation about the pop psychology mathematics on the airwaves that equated being miserable with being in some way wise.

This tendency of the talk shows and the so-called reality shows to focus on the deviant and dysfunctional in every level of society finds its way into everyday thinking so that having "issues" is the same as being "interesting." We become noble and victorious when we overcome obstacles, even if its the small matter of coming to terms with the bad day we had 25 years ago. We congratulate ourselves for not drinking, not taking drugs, not leaving our spouses, not committing suicide. Deep darkness is the stuff of, well, the stuff of life.

Last night during Brian Vaugh's meditation group, we considered the words of the Tao, "Those who know don't speak; those who speak don't know." I wondered then if all the psychobabble and morose self-absorption that passes for art and entertainment these days is the speaking born of not knowing, which I take to be the speaking born of seeking.

If, as the Tao also says, "Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty, only because there is ugliness. All can know good as good only because there is evil," then this ugliness may well yield something magnificently beautiful. In recognizing ugliness--which includes adversity, mean-spiritedness, and sorrow--we might also recognize opportunities to create that beauty.

Ugliness is thus a teacher. For me, it points the way to the simple road.

Hail, Wisdom Queen, may the Lord protect thee,
With thy sister, pure and holy Simplicity.
(attributed to St. Francis of Assissi)


  1. Anonymous10:53 AM

    This is an interesting way of looking at things and certainly a good model for a change in perspective!

  2. Anonymous2:29 PM

    happy WW!

  3. I am not a religious man, but your way of putting this really hit home to me and I enjoyed and felt every word
    Thank you.

  4. Anonymous7:55 PM

    Well said...but sometimes it takes a long time to get past the ugliness and see the beauty, which is almost always elsewhere.

  5. I agree that a lot of speaking goes on without any knowledge. Interesting post.


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