Monday, 27 March 2017

Having, yet not possessing



Can you love your people and
govern them without self-importance?

Having, yet not possessing
Working, yet not taking credit
Leading without controlling or dominating
This is true virtue

Some very intriguing wisdom written more than 2500 years ago by Lao Tzu
Governing without self-importance, do we have any politician like that?

What does it mean by having and yet not possessing?

While having yet not possessing seems an obvious paradox when we talk about our children, I think it is very well possible that we apply similar wisdom to some of our other possessions. So many people possess big pieces of land and build big walls around it. That sounds like possessing. If we build just a low fence to keep goats from eating our flowers and have gates that are never locked, we can allow still the children of the neighborhood to play on our land, in our garden. I remember when I first moved to Bachok, and some people walked through my garden without even me knowing them or them asking me, I felt like going to talk them and telling them 'this is private property'. Yet my soul, or perhaps my heart provided at the moment enough wisdom, not to do that. I gave it some thought on how to approach the situation if it recurs and now if children or even young adults walk through my garden I do not feel any negativity. Just a few weeks ago there were two school boys who were sitting on my garden chairs. I happened to be outside and had a small chat with them. The issue of possession did not come up at all. Having a land, having a garden, and yet not wanting to possess it completely :). It gives us a good feeling, a source of virtue. In our time we have become so afraid to be taken advantage of, that we tend not to share readily the things we have. We have them and possess them, we tend to sit on them, defend them and sometimes instead of an asset, the defense becomes a bit of a burden.

Working, yet not taking credit?

Just let the others take credit for our work? Yes that is what it means. Again we feel taken advantage of. And yet if we do not bother too much about getting credit for what we do, the potential of our own achievement for the betterment of this world is truly amazing. Throughout my career as a pediatrician, I had quite a number of ideas to help our local community in certain ways. Many times I was aware that I could not take on everything at a time. To lead a project for community, get the funding and coordinate all efforts takes a lot of time and my job as a specialist for newborns is often, already more than a full time thing. I think somehow the divine brought me in contact with wonderful people who were willing to take up some of the ideas and take full charge of these projects. I did not want credit for the projects since I know the ones making it happen were deserving much more credit than the one having simply the idea. But somehow if we do not seem to care too much about taking credit, it tends to bounce back and these wonderful people doing the projects, tend to be so respectful and never leave out my name in any of their achievements. I do not ask for it, sometimes even do not fully expect it, but it just comes and the community around is served in a big way. It is amazing what we can achieve if we do not care too much about who gets the credits.

Leading without dominating, without controlling.

Another apparent paradox but giant virtue. If we can inspire rather than force, the work done becomes so much more beautiful. I think it is somehow connected to the “do not care who gets credit” thing. A good leader makes people feel they did it all by themselves.


I truly think that the world needs the wisdom of the old ages
Sometimes we forget.
We elect narcissists into power and that is not what brings prosperity to a nation
Let us be more aware of the wisdom. Paradoxical at times, but oh so true!

1 comment:

  1. Even if a person can store a million gallons of water in his house,
    at most he can only drink a few glasses of water a day;

    Even if a person has ten thousand hectares of farm,
    at most he can only take a few meals a day;

    even if a person owns thousands of hundred-story-buildings,
    he can only take several square meters to lie on at night

    :)

    ReplyDelete

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