During a full moon, with garden lanterns, on a cool night, I’m sitting with a cup of hot chocolate, while watching the bamboo in the backyard dancing like long slithering serpents for my pleasure. The twenty foot plus yellow bamboo culms are like an elegant ballet, performing in unison with each other, as if they rehearsed this performance thousands of times before to entertain me.
The bamboo sways back and forth with the wind. It has no purpose, no master, and not a care in the world, as the branches move randomly and effortlessly creating a cracking sound while rubbing against each other. The bamboo never has to worry about time, deadlines, or commitments. Oh how wonderful to be completely free.
I take another sip of hot chocolate and close my eyes and relax completely listening to the sound of the culms clanking against each other. I take a moment and then another moment, which in turn becomes a minute and another minute, until I have completely lost track of the time. All the tightness in my body and the multitude of thoughts in my mind start to fade away. Nothing else matters accept the peacefulness of the night and the movement of the bamboo.
After several minutes of pure bliss, I slowly open my eyes and feel totally at ease and begin to think about what the bamboo can teach me. Looking back up to the sky, I begin to understand another secret of nature. Avoid being tight and stiff. Flow with whatever problems come my way. Do not try to swim against a riptide, but instead flow with the current and go around confrontational people and situations that upset the harmony of my existence. Do not be a wimp, but do not spend the time fighting, arguing, or confronting a problem or adversary that is not that meaningful to the overall well being of life. Sometimes it is just better to walk away and let the other side win and only go to battle to fight the most important issues. In other words, like the bamboo, sway and bend to external forces and rise above the petty issues in day to day life.
The bamboo projects the Taoist philosophy of overcoming thru avoidance and yet also displays strength in its straight towering projected manner as if it is standing militarily at attention ready to do battle with the wind and everything mother nature can throw its way. Moreover, it bends effortlessly yielding to the everyday wind currents while saving its strength to fight another more important day. I learn from the whimsical wise bamboo.
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The Hermit Poet