One of my guilty pleasures is reading in bed before turning out the lights. Tonight, while re-reading a favourite book of mine – The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff – I came across a section I had entirely forgotten, on the Tao and creativity. I was going to write something insightful about how we might use it to create ideas everyday, but frankly, I couldn’t improve upon Hoff’s eloquence.
I do not have permission to re-print this, but in the spirit of sharing – if not to strongly entice you to run out and buy the book – I’m including a short excerpt below. Perhaps you too might find it a marvellous book to read at the end of your day. Enjoy.
Below, an excerpt from The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff, published by Methuen, 1982, based on the writings from Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928), both by A.A. Milne.
“Let’s say you get an idea – or, as Pooh would more accurately say – it gets you. Where did it come from? From this something, which came from that something? If you are able to trace it all the way back to its source, you will discover that it came from Nothing. And chances are, the greater the idea, the more directly it came from there. “A stroke of genius! Completely unheard of! A revolutionary new approach!” Practically everyone has had some sort of an idea like that sometime, most likely after a sound sleep when everything was so clear and filled with Nothing that an Idea suddenly appeared in it. But we don’t have to fall asleep for a few hours for that to happen. We can be awake, instead – completely awake. The process is very natural.
It starts when we are children, helpless but aware of things, enjoying what is around us. Then we reach adolescence, still helpless but trying to at least appear independent. When we outgrow that stage, we become adults – self-sufficient individuals able and mature enough to help others as we have learned to help ourselves.
But the adult is not the highest stage of development. The end of the cycle is that of the independent, clear-minded, all-seeing Child. That is the level known as wisdom. When the Tao Te Ching and other wise books say things like, “Return to the beginning; become a child again,” that’s what they’re referring to. Why do the enlightened seem filled with light and happiness, like children? Why do they sometimes even look and talk like children? Because they are. The wise are Children Who Know Their Minds have been emptied of the countless minute somethings of small learning, and filled with the wisdom of the Great Nothing, the Way of the Universe.
You might also consider The Creative Tao by Pamela Metz, published by Humanics Trade, 1997. Her book is an interpretation of Lao Tze’s Tao Te Ching, transforming creativity in art into creativity in living.