Food for the Spirit

There are many ways to feed the spirit. I think of qigong, tea, dancing, music, gardening, books.  Let’s not forget books.  Hopefully, you still read them. I know many people don’t anymore.  But there’s something about a real book, either spanking new and smelling of possibility, or old and redolent with the handling of previous wisdom seekers, that simply cannot be replaced by a Kindle or Droid.

I’m reading one now called “The Unencumbered Spirit,” by Hung Ying-ming, a late Ming dynasty philosopher/sage.  He writes about how to live a simple life; how to drop all the stuff, both material and spiritual, that keeps us tied up in anxiety and worry. Hung wrote at a time when the Chinese were facing a myriad of problems not dissimilar from our own.  His advice is as relevant today as it was in 15th and 16th century China.  To be at peace, no matter how much turmoil is going on around you, you’ve got to deal with your mind, as every good martial artist will tell you.  I found Hung’s little book so refreshing, I thought I’d post a quotation from it now and then. I hope you find some soul food here, and may your spirit be “unencumbered.”

If the spirit is in full bloom,

Though you inhabit a room wearing only rough clothes,

You will obtain the harmonious energy of the universe.

If what you taste is satisfactory,

Though you drink only goosefoot soup,

You will know the true piquancy of human simplicity.”

(from the translation by William Scott Wilson, published by Kodansha International)