“With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow – I have still joy in the midst of these things. Riches and honors acquired by unrighteousness are to me as a floating cloud.” Confucius
Before we began our Asian tandem bicycle adventure, I read Confucian quotes and often couldn’t relate. This I chalked up to lack of depth on my part, and perhaps the enigmatic (to us) nature of Eastern thought.
Muddling my way through jet lag on our return, and as one friend opined, postpartum depression at the end of another adventure, I pondered the above Confucianism anew, and discovered I suddenly understood. Oh, I had known the surface meaning, from earlier adventures involving discomfort, danger, but not the full depth of his thought. I suddenly noticed that he says, “…have still joy…” not “…still have joy…” as I had first read it. His meaning was hidden from me until I had eaten enough coarse rice, drank enough wood smoke infused water and slept sufficient times with my bended arm for a pillow.
To have a still joy, a quiet joy, a joy devoid of external condition, of riches or renown, is to have a profound joy, a lasting joy. I will look back on the past four months for as many years as I have left. I will remember the struggles, the discomforts, the challenge of the unknown, even the moments of near panic, and I will smile. Confucius traveled China, seeking knowledge, seeking deep understanding. And Claire and I did also.
On this blog we have shared the light moments as well as the challenges and discomforts. I hope in coming months, as we integrate the lessons learned and share them, that you will be enriched through our seeking. And then I hope some of you will open a new path for learning, and seek out the adventure that fits your nature and capabilities. We all have the desire to continue to grow, to explore the previously unknown, no matter our age or condition in life. To suppress that desire is to suffer loss.
Here’s to your adventurous 2010, and beyond.
Happy New Year