Friday, April 1, 2011

Chaos, Beginnings, and Energy

Lately, I've been facing  a lot of changes.  A new job at work, new interests.  When I was in college, there was a poster in a coffee shop that had a Chinese pictogram on it.  It said:

Chaos.  In the beginning of something new, there is chaos.  Before a wise person becomes great, they must first look foolish to the crowd.

I have found this to be true.  Often, the spiritual life is about cultivating sattvic qualities: a clear, undisturbed mind.  This is fine for the monk or the swami, but not for those of us making our way in the world.  For us, we need to learn to pay attention during intense times of activity, or rajas.

For me, these new beginnings have brought a lot of energy.  It is good, in that this energy has spurred a lot of creative activity.  But it has also made my mind-body restless.  This is not a bad thing, for it allows me to remember what it's like to have such a mind-body.  And it also remind me that the elements of experience are still the same.  It doesn't matter whether you are calm or agitated, all things are empty.


  1. "From the day Zenon became Crates’s pupil, he showed a strong bent for philosophy, though with too much native modesty to assimilate Cynic shamelessness. Hence Crates, desirous of curing this defect in him, gave him a potful of lentil-soup to carry through the Ceramicus; and when he saw that Zeno was ashamed and tried to keep it out of sight, with a blow of his staff, Crates broke the pot. As Zeno began to run off in embarrassment with the lentil-soup flowing down his legs, Crates chided “Why run away, my little Phoenician?”, “nothing terrible has befallen you.”