Many people are afraid of Emptiness, however, because it reminds them of Loneliness. Everything has to be filled in, it seems-appointment books, hillsides, vacant lots-but when all the spaces are filled, the Loneliness really begins. Then the Groups are joined, the Classes are signed up for, and the Gift-to-Yourself items are bought. When the Loneliness starts creeping in the door, the Television Set is turned on to make it go away. But it doesn't go away. So some of us do instead, and after discarding the emptiness of the Big Congested Mess, we discover the fullness of Nothing.
By the time it came to the edge of the Forest, the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
The major lesson Tiggers need to learn is that if they don't control their impulses, their impulses will control them. No matter how much they do, Tiggers are never satisfied because they don't know the feeling of accomplishment that eventually comes when one persistently applies one's will to the attaining of non-immediately-reachable goals.
Inner Nature, when relied on, cannot be fooled. But many people do not look at it or listen to it, and consequently do not understand themselves very much. Having little understanding of themselves, they have little respect for themselves, and are therefore easily influenced by others.
The Christmas presents once opened are Not So Much Fun as they were while we were in the process of examining, lifting, shaking, thinking about, and opening them. Three hundred sixty-five days later, we try again and find that the same thing has happened. Each time the goal is reached, it becomes Not So Much Fun, and we're off to reach the next one, then the next one, then the next.
The Eeyore Educational System sees childhood as a waste of time, a luxury that society cannot afford . . . Put children in school at the earliest age possible; load them down with homework; take away their time, their creativity, their play, their power; then plug them into machines.
Eeyore religion says that the earth isn't worth saving, anyway, and that when it comes to an end, the Faithful will be transported instantly to heaven. No problem. We'd like to see them explain things to Saint Peter at the Gate, when he asks them what they did with the world that God entrusted to them. That might get a bit sticky.
But down through the centuries, man has developed a mind that separates him from the world of reality, the world of natural laws. This mind tries too hard, wears itself out, and ends up weak and sloppy. Such a mind, even if of high intelligence, is inefficient. It drives down the street in a fast-moving car and thinks its at the store, going over a grocery list. Then it wonders why accidents occur.
Carefully observe the natural laws in operation in the world around you, and live by them. From following them, you will learn the morality of modesty, moderation, compassion, and consideration (not just one society's rules and regulations), the wisdom of seeing things as they are (not of merely collecting "facts" about them), and the happiness of being in harmony with the Way (which has nothing to do with self-righteous "spiritual" obsessions and fanaticism). And you will live lightly, spontaneously, and effortlessly.
It's not surprising, therefore, that the [Bisy] Backson thinks of progress in terms of fighting and overcoming. One of his little idiosyncrasies, you might say. Of course, real progress involves growing and developing, which involves changing inside, but that's something the inflexible Backson is unwilling to do.
How can you get very far, If you don't know who you are? How can you do what you ought, If you don't know what you've got? And if you don't know which to do Of all the things in front of you, Then what you'll have when you are through Is just a mess without a clue Of all the best that can come true If you know What and Which and Who.
To know the way, we go the way, we do the way. The way we do, the things we do, it's all there in front of you. But if you try too hard to see it, you'll only become confused. I am me and you are you. As you can see; but when you do the things that you can do, you will find the way. The way will follow you.
Thousands of years ago, man lived in harmony with the rest of the natural world. Through what we would today call Telepathy, he communicated with animals, plants, and other forms of life-none of which he considered "beneath" himself, only different, with different jobs to perform. He worked side by side with earth angels and nature spirits, with whom he shared responsibility for taking care of the world.
Within each of us there is an Owl, a Rabbit, and Eeyore, and a Pooh. For too long, we have chosen the way of Owl and Rabbit. Now, like Eeyore, we complain about the results. But that accomplishes nothing. If we are smart, we will choose the way of Pooh. As if from far away, it calls us with the voice of a child's mind. It may be hard to hear at times, but it is important just the same, because without it, we will never find our way through the forest.
And when you try too hard, it doesn't work. Try grabbing something quickly and precisely with a tensed-up arm; then relax and try it again. Try doing something with a tense mind. The surest way to become Tense, Awkward, and Confused is to develop a mind that tries too hard-one that thinks too much.
The urge to grow and develop, present in all forms of life, becomes perverted in the Bisy Backson's mind into a constant struggle to change everything (the Bulldozer Backson) and everyone (the Bigoted Backson) else but himself, and interfere with things he has no business interfering with, including practically every form of life on earth.
A saying from the area of Chinese medicine would be appropriate to mention here: "One disease, long life; no disease, short life." In other words, those who know what's wrong with them and take care of themselves accordingly will tend to live a lot longer than those who consider themselves perfectly happy and neglect their weakness. So, in that sense at least, a Weakness of some sort can do you a big favor, if you acknowledge that it's there.
In the Age of Perfect Virtue, men lived among the animals and birds as members of one large family. There were no distinctions between superior and inferior to separate one man or species from another. All retained their natural Virtue and lived in a state of pure simplicity.
There are things about ourselves that we need to get rid of; there are things we need to change. But at the same time, we do not need to be too desperate, too ruthless, too combative. Along the way to usefulness and happiness, many of those things will change themselves, and the others can be worked on as we go. The first thing we need to do is recognize and trust our own Inner Nature, and not lose sight of it.