Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Tao of E

Sitting at the dining room table, listening to P as he shares excerpts from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. Unable to hear Hoff's ideas without connecting them to E.

In the opening chapters of his book, Hoff explains the notion of the Uncarved Block as central to Taoist beliefs. The Uncarved Block, he says, represents a thing in its natural state. And it is this state to which the true Taoist aspires.

A tree, for example, would be considered an uncarved block. It exists in nature and with it. It bends with the wind, rather than resists it. It does not aspire to be a brook or a rock or something other than what it was born to be. It simply is...a tree.

Winnie-the-Pooh approached life like a Taoist, says Hoff. The Taoist ideal, he writes, "is that of the still, calm, reflecting 'mirror-mind' of the Uncarved Block, and it's rather significant that Pooh, rather than the thinkers rabbit, owl, or Eeyore, is the true hero of Winnie-the-Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner."

Hmmm. I've been a Pooh in years past, but not lately. Not since we first learned of E's new aneurysm in August, and especially not since the surgery to clip the bugger was canceled last minute. I've been more like a fretting Eeyore, thinking man's Rabbit, or busy Tigger.

E, on the other hand, was born a Pooh and remains a Pooh. Even after her aneurysm rupture in July 2001 took away most of her friends, her ability to walk unassisted, and her independence on so many different levels. Even after physicians canceled Wednesday's surgery with less than 24-hours notice.

Rather than resist the latest news--that surgery had been canceled--E bent with it. Sleeping in until 11:30 the next morning was her only concession. She has always practiced what Hoff describes as the "simple, childlike and mysterious secret known to those of the Uncarved Block: Life is Fun."

I must read Hoff's book.

Edited to add:
I must think more about how Pooh's philosophy relates to writing, especially during times when life conspires.

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