I’m not sure whether Klodt’s chapter “The Power of Abundance” owes more to Taoism or to Joseph Campbell’s advice to “Follow Your Bliss,” but it’s hard not to like the advice he offers here. As Dave noted in an earlier comment, though, it might help you more in the pursuit of happiness than in the pursuit of work. Of course, I’ve always resisted others’ suggestion that I try to make money from my hobbies because I’ve always felt that the very nature of “work” detracts from the joy to be found in pursuing hobbies you love.
Still, I would certainly agree that:
We are happy when this Te, or natural ability of ours, is fully exercised, that is, when our nature is fully and freely developed.
If there is one essential principle of the Tao of Abundance, it is this: Follow your nature. Your nature is your strength. To deny it is to rob yourself of your own power, your Te. Many deny their talents, gifts, and abilities, then complain they can’t be happy or successful in this world. This is like placing leg-irons around your ankles and then complaining that you can’t run fast. Following your nature is a simple matter of doing what you are naturally good at. In his commentary on the Chuang Yzu, Kuo Hsiang wrote: “If by nature a man is a strong man, he will carry a heavy burden without feeling the weight. If one is by nature a skillful man, he can manage all sorts of affairs without feeling busy.” Ease, joy, and power are natural by-products of following your nature, and need not be sought for themselves. Denying your gifts and abilities doesn’t just limit your power, strength, and joy; it robs you of the guiding and motivating force that leads you to the life you were born to live. Following your nature puts you in the flow of the Tao. Remember, as Lao Tzu put it, “the Tao’s principle is spontaneity.” If you are suppressing your own nature every day in your work, you can hardly expect yourself to live spontaneously in any aspect of your life. Denying your nature deadens and dulls the senses and switches off your innate intuitive intelligence. It makes you feel heavy and doubt yourself.
This seems like “common sense” advice. Most of us of a certain age have seen people whose lives have been miserable because they denied their own nature and tried to become what someone they loved wanted them to become:
We are seduced away from our spontaneous nature by the promise and illusion of security. The way of nature means embracing creative insecurity, moving with and effectively responding to, continuous and spontaneous change. By following the way of your nature and doing the work to which you are naturally suited, you enter the stream of your destiny. You have simply to flow with it. If, instead of following your nature, you choose your career to please your parents, to make more money, or to win social acceptance your destiny will escape you. Again, people often overlook their innate talents when making career choices, then complain that they don’t know what they are here on this Earth to do. They often become sidetracked by peripheral issues.
I’m not sure I’d call making money a “peripheral issue,” but Klodt’s observations are hard to deny. I know I’ve always hated plants that have been trimmed in ways that deny their natural growth pattern. There are few things uglier than a tree that’s been topped to avoid a power line or a shrub that’s been pruned to fit a particular shape, unless it’s a bonsai, of course 😉
I do know from my experiences producing this web site that Klodt is also right when he says:
On the other hand, as you give your gifts and express your inmost nature in the outer world, you attract to yourself the people, circumstances, and resources you will need to fulfill your destiny. You enter a field of experience that, from a conventional perspective, seems magical, but in fact is only the natural state of your being. Spontaneous, creative action and synchronicity in relationships and events become the order of the day. You find yourself being at the right place at the right time. It is not anything you are consciously doing; you are simply allowing your own nature to move you into the flow of the Tao.
For me, at least, the best reason to spend so much time and money producing a web site is to attract others who share your interests and appreciate your efforts. Such a community has helped me to grow in ways it’s hard to imagine until you’ve actually been part of one. Virtual communities of poets, photographers, philosophers and programmers have enriched my life in ways I would never have imagined before blogging began.