Of course, Winnie the Pooh never went anywhere. He was always with me; I just forgot.
Have you read the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff? I do not claim to be a Taoist or any sort of authority on Taoism, but I find a lot in this little book that gives me pause and lifts me up. Shall I share some of it with you?
Winnie the Pooh is a bear of very little Brain, and that serves him well. “Simple-minded does not necessarily mean stupid.” (p.12) He does not have any angst about where should he go or what should he do. Where he is is where he is supposed to be and whatever he is doing is what he is supposed to do. I am writing this passage instead of doing a million other things on my list, but it may turn out to be the most significant thing I do all day. You are now reading said passage which may turn out to be the most significant thing you do all day, particularly if it inspires you to go out and do something else which seems more important. How about that?
Another idea that convicts me, even as I sit here writing about this, is that scholarly academics, like Owl, or know-it-all’s, like Rabbit, tend to muddle things up. That’s me, I’m afraid. Not in my acquisition of knowledge, which is great fun, but in my ridiculous efforts to look smart by sharing that knowledge whether the share-ee wants it or not. That is actually stupider rather than smarter, because my victim is likely to close his/her mind to more natural lessons that may come their way.
“…while Rabbit’s little routine is that of knowledge for the sake of being Clever, and while Owl’s is that of Knowledge for the sake of Appearing Wise, Eeyore’s is Knowledge for the Sake of Complaining About Something.” (p. 15) Sound familiar?
Knowledge is best acquired by doing, as in I should do it for myself and respect that others will do it for themselves.
So why am I writing instead of doing? I AM doing, because writing is what I do. It flows for me as naturally as breathing, and I am most happy and content when I am doing it. That is how I know it is the right thing for me to do. It may not be the right thing for you. “When you know and respect your own Inner Nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong.”
Another point that Pooh makes is that we tend to forget is that “Weakness of some sort can do you a big favor, if you acknowledge that it’s there.” (p. 48) Piglet is a very small animal which often works against him. But when Owl’s House is crushed by a big tree with Owl, Pooh, and Piglet inside, Piglet is the only one who fits through the letter basket to go for help. Here he thought all this time he was inferior to the others because he was so small, but eventually, and he had to give it time, he discovered that he was exactly what he needed to be. “No matter how Useful we may be, sometimes it takes us a while to recognize our own value.” (p. 117)
My favorite chapter is “Bisy Backson.” This can be translated out of Pooh-ese to “Busy Back Soon.” The Bisy Backson is always on the run, always trying to go anywhere but where he is, always looking to do something he is not doing. He is driven by the belief that “there is a Great Reward waiting for us somewhere, and that what we have to do is spend our lives working like lunatics to catch up with it.” (p. 97) He is always trying to change things or people, but never considers that “real progress…involves changing inside.” (p. 104) Compare Pooh, loping around just seeing what’s what and doing what comes up, with Rabbit, who is always dashing around trying to fix or improve things.
From this chapter comes my favorite line, and one of my new Sayings to Live By: “You can’t save time. You can only spend it.” (p.108) All of our time-saving devices, and we still “burn the toast.” Trying to do too many things at once because “you can” fills your time with doing everything but the things you were trying to save time for. It also requires a law to make you put down your phone while you are driving.
I’m going to close with a quote from the new Disney movie Christopher Robin. Pooh says, “People say Nothing is impossible, but I do Nothing every day.”
Spend some time doing nothing, and you can do something impossible too.