The Right Thing

I enjoyed Boldt’s chapter entitled “The Ease of Abundance” as much as I’ve enjoyed the rest of his work so far. Simply stated, he makes the argument that most of us have everything we need to be happy; all we need to do is to accept that and to overcome the ego’s constant worries.

This passage seems to echo Dave’s comments in the last few days:

There is a Chinese proverb that goes, “If l keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.” The simple message: Be happy and you attract good fortune. Life is much easier, must less of a struggle when we meet it with a smile. Prepare yourself for success. If you ask for success but prepare for failure, you will get failure. You will get the situation you expect, the one you have prepared yourself for. Expect to receive what you require, even when there’s not the slightest sign of it in sight, and act on that expectation. The universe is an abundant place. It’s natural for you to have plenty. Don’t make a virtue out of poverty or struggle. The Taoists reject the belief that poverty is a sign of holiness. They tell us life is to be enjoyed.

{The man of Tao] does not struggle to make money
And does not make a virtue of poverty.

-CHUANG Tzu

This chapter reminded me of a Roethke poem that I’ve cited earlier in a different context:

THE RIGHT THING

Let others probe the mystery if they can.
Time-harried prisoners of Shall and Will-
The right thing happens to the happy man.

The bird flies out, the bird flies back again;
The hill becomes the valley, and is still;
Let others delve that mystery if they can.

God bless the roots! -Body and soul are one
The small become the great, the great the small;
The right thing happens to the happy man.

Child of the dark, he can out leap the sun,
His being single, and that being all:
The right thing happens to the happy man.

Or he sits still, a solid figure when
The self-destructive shake the common wall;
Takes to himself what mystery he can,

And, praising change as the slow night comes on,
Wills what he would, surrendering his will
Till mystery is no more: No more he can.
The right thing happens to the happy man.

As I noted in my original discussion, I happened to reread this poem right after my divorce from my first wife and a turbulent time in my life. In the midst of all that anger, this poem helped me to regain my natural tendency to find joy in my everyday life, for I realized the truth of it immediately.

3 thoughts on “The Right Thing

  1. Hi Loren,

    The spontaneous connections my brain seems to make linked your current post and your “Without going out the door” post. I immediately thought about the following short piece by Franz Kafka (thanks to Barrett Dorko for bringing it my attention)

    “You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen.
    Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary.
    The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice,
    it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
    – Franz Kafka”

What do you think?