Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success or failure: which is more destructive?
If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 44, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Does What Tomorrow Will Bring Really Matter?
(I am writing this on the eve of the election. But, I know it isn’t going to post until after the election is over. I suppose I could make some predictions about the election, and see how I do. But, the problem with that idea is I don’t have any real expectations going into the election. Oh, I once thought Gary Johnson might actually win in his own home state of New Mexico. Maybe win one or two other small states. Deny both Hillary and Trump the 270 electoral college votes needed to win outright. Send it to the House to decide who will be the next President. My, wouldn’t that be hilarious? But, tonight, as I am writing this, I don’t have that expectation. Really, all that I expect to come out of the election is that we all will lose. The whole world will lose.)
But, since I am not going to make any serious predictions about the election, I will, instead, consider today’s chapter.
The questions Lao Tzu asks in the beginning – fame or integrity, money or happiness, success or failure – they are all, of course, rhetorical. And, you might even call them “trick” questions. What Lao Tzu is actually doing, in asking these questions, is probing deeper. Am I looking outside myself, to others, for fulfillment? Does my happiness somehow depend on money? Can I be content with what I already have? Can I rejoice in the way things are?
Take all the time you need to consider these questions. They are that important. So, don’t treat them lightly.
I believe, on this eve before the election, that if we could somehow realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world would belong to us. And then, does what tomorrow will bring really matter?