How a Stuffed Bear Can Give You Tranquility

Stuffed bears and other beloved toys certainly gave us tranquility when we were children, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about philosophy. I’m talking about Taoism. I’m talking, of course, about Winnie-the-Pooh.

Jacket.aspxNow what, I can hear you asking, does Winnie-the-Pooh have to do with tranquility, philosophy, and Taoism? The answers are revealed in Benjamin Hoff‘s The Tao of Pooh, a book of 158 pages that deftly explains the principles of Taoism and applies them to modern life using the seemingly-odd, but, ultimately, not-so-odd example of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Using excerpts from the Pooh books by A.A. Milne, Hoff makes Taoism approachable and easy to understand. It’s not just a deep Eastern philosophy for hermits and mystics!  The tenets of Taoism can be incorporated into everyday life as Hoff illustrates via Pooh, a bear who exists very much in the now.

Using Pooh as his Taoist master, Hoff explores  “the ability to enjoy the simple and the quiet, the natural and the plain” along with “the ability to do things spontaneously and have them work”.  He uses the examples of Rabbit (Knowledge for the Sake of Being Clever), Owl (Knowledge for the Sake of Appearing Wise), and Eeyore (Knowledge for the Sake of Complaining About Something) to illustrate non-Taoist aspects of life, things that get in the way of happiness.

“When you discard arrogance, complexity, and a few other things that get in the way, sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret…: Life is Fun.”

And what are the lessons of Taoism?

Things Are As They Are.
Everything has its own Inner Nature.
Enjoy the Process.
Things just happen in the right way, at the right time. At least they do when you let them.

And so much more. This is a perfect  read when you need some tranquility, perfect for Jacket.aspx2those desiring some calmness, slowness, some quiet. And the book is fun. It reads easily, quickly, with humor, wit, and quotes from Milne’s beloved stories. It can’t miss and it doesn’t miss.

By the way, Pooh Day is January 18th (also the birthday of A.A. Milne). What better way to celebrate than by reading the Tao of Pooh and it’s companion book, The Te Of Piglet.

Find the Good

rosesI’m the first to admit that I am a skeptic. I’m always the one saying, “Yeah, but…” in any conversation. However, I have discovered skepticism is not synonymous with pessimism.

This was brought home to me when an acquaintance recently toured my gardens and did nothing but point out the weeds.

“Oh, look,” she exclaimed, her finger quivering as she pointed. “There’s a weed underneath that bush.”

I squinted. Sure enough, a weed was sprawling at the feet of a beautiful pink Knock-Out Rose.

She did this three more time during the tour. She never once mentioned the flowers.

After she left, I wondered what her life must be like since she seemed incapable of seeing anything but weeds. Skeptic though I am, I go through life looking at the roses.

Jacket.aspxIf you like the philosophy of looking at the flowers and not the weeds, I highly recommend the book Find the Good by Heather Lende. The book description says it all:

As the obituary writer in a spectacularly beautiful but often dangerous spit of land in Alaska, Heather Lende knows something about last words and lives well lived. Now she’s distilled what she’s learned about how to live a more exhilarating and meaningful life into three words: find the good. It’s that simple–and that hard.