Doug Bruns

Toward Wisdom #3

In Covid on May 23, 2020 at 6:28 am

Photo by Mattia Faloretti on Unsplash

Toward Wisdom is a series of thoughts in the age of Covid-19

* * *

The last words of the Buddha were recorded to be:

“Things fall apart; tread the path with care.”

Siddhartha Gautama was born around 480 BCE. He wasn’t called the Buddha until a couple centuries later. It means The Awakened One. He lived in ancient India and taught for about 45 years, dying around age 80.

Of course right now these words seem especially potent. General life, schedules, commitments, normalcy, all seem to be falling apart. We are indeed treading with care, washing our hands, keeping a social distance, and exercising other measures to stay safe. Much of what we are doing might be interpreted as a means of self preservation. Of course this is true also. But I also like to think about treading the path with care as an act of compassion, a way of protecting the community at large. Marcus Aurelius said, “That which is not good for the bee hive, cannot be good for the bee.” Treading the path with care is one way of taking care of ourselves. But I like to remind myself that it is also an act of compassion in that it likewise protects my neighbors, my community, and the world. My mother used to ask, What is your motivation? It’s a great question and a challenge that is always foremost in my mind. If your motivation is to stay healthy, perhaps expand that a bit. For instance, we naturally also want to keep our family healthy. How about including your neighbors in that thought? Then expand it to include wider circles of people you know, even expand it to include nationwide populations and so on. (If you really want to challenge yourself, include people you dislike or disdain!)

Stay well. Be safe. Protect the hive.

  1. D, thanks for your thoughtful words. It’s a good time to be kind. I hope you are doing OK in your western adventure, and I look forward to the next time we can all get together.

    • It is always a delight to find you on the other side of these musings, Henri. Thanks for your kind words. Hope we can be together soon enough.
      D

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

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