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Bend it Like Bamboo

Bamboo I have learned is a very sturdy plant. It doesn’t break under pressure, but it bends very easily. In fact, I would say that, that bending is what gives the bamboo is staying power. Trees are rigid and so when a powerful natural storm hits, we find them uprooted or broken in the aftermath.  

I’m reminded of Tao te Ching versette 26:

The heavy is the root of the light.
The unmoved is the source of all movement.

Thus the Master travels all day
without leaving home.
However splendid the views,
she stays serenely in herself.

Why should the lord of the country
flit about like a fool?
If you let yourself be blown to and fro,
you lose touch with your root.
If you let restlessness move you,
you lose touch with who you are.

Diet and exercise are one way we mark our discipline. I can’t/won’t eat this, or I must be able to do this because I want to be able to do this. I suppose that’s fine, but it’s rather unintuitive. That is to say, it isn’t done with the body in mind. True discipline in this case, which I submit to you is merely learning, is understanding what certain things do to your body, what they do to your emotions. Then it is a simple matter of “I like what this does” or “I do not like what this does”. We also have to be honest about why we pick up diet and or exercise. We may be setting for ourselves unrealistic standards of beauty and or health. Just know that it is likely we will never look like the man or women on the magazine. We can’t “beat” our body into submission by eating a bowl of kale and running two miles. We have to love ourselves and let our love for ourselves dictate how we handle our temple. We would best not be so rigid we forget that things are on this earth for our pleasure. Even the occasional slice of cake, or I guess Big Mac. Bend, but then be straightened.

Time management is another way we mark discipline. Someone once told me a story of a man who would plan his day by the second to maximize all the time. Even the potty breaks. This, to some, demonstrates a remarkable discipline if we believe that discipline is the ability to adhere to a regimented schedule. What of his life was he missing though? He was making the assumption that each day would be as the last! Is that really living? That is life without mystery! That is mere existence! Discipline is understanding priorities without becoming a slave to them. Bend, but then be straightened.

I say all this to say that we ought to take advantage of each opportunity that arises. When the wind blows to the left, then the bamboo thus leans. It doesn’t fly off with the wind. At the moment the wind stops blowing, the bamboo assumes its natural position. That is the mark of true discipline

Audio Component: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN2mTySL3s8