Ancient Chinese philosophy
If we think of the ancient philosophical Chinese what comes to mind? People with long beards and a rather free agenda who tell each other banalities about nature and the quiet life. Maybe we like to read them, a sentence here and a sentence there, because we like nature and this idea of an ancient perfection between man and the cosmos. From a practical point of view, however, we don’t really believe that their ideas can be applied today. We see them as anachronistic. Maybe they could work then but they were other times, other companies. They are not suitable for us today, modern men with other times, other rhythms, other commitments.
What if I told you that these gentlemen instead offer us a thought that is still perfectly current? Ideas that we can use every day to improve our lives? Ideas that are very different from what we would now call mainstream. You will probably like some of these, others will not convince you. Rightly so. If you choose to listen to them, you will be confronted with something different. You will realize that the ideas we have today are not the only valid ones nor the only possible ones. And this will change you, for the better.
How do we define ourselves today and how do we build our life?
I AM nice, or I AM mischievous. I am introverted or I am extroverted. We tend to put labels on it. Habit that begins already in adolescence when the teacher says that we are diligent or that we are distracted.
What do today’s gurus advise us to be happy? Find yourself, find out who you are. And how to do it? Look inside yourself. Meditate, exclude the world and find your true nature. So we look inside and what do we find? Of everything, a crazy jumble. And in the midst of this chaos at some point we choose to identify with something. Maybe on a label.
What are we identifying with? Do we have the right to call it our true nature? According to Chinese tradition, there is a big problem here to solve. In the next episode we will see what the Chinese tradition thinks of what we have inside and how this understanding can help us today.