One of the poignant things about moving is letting go of things we once held dear. I’ve been abandoning books right and left (to the bins managed by Better World Books, but still…). Rich has abandoned his garden, once a crowning achievement which fed our family for weeks in the summer. Gazing out on the garden this morning while meditating, I savored its lovely untidiness, which brought up the connection to one of my favorite quotes of all time, by the French Renaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne.
Thought of the day: Letting go is healthy and delightful (even if it feels wrenching at times).
“I want death to find me in the garden planting cabbages, but not afraid of her, and even less of my imperfect garden.”
“Je veux que la mort me trouve plantant mes choux, mais nonchalant d’elle, et encore plus de mon jardin imparfait.”
Michel de Montaigne, Essais, 1580
Imperfection and letting go are key concepts in Zen philosophy as they are in T’ai chi. As Bob Klein writes, “Many people are drawn to T’ai-chi-Ch’uan because it enables them to let go of their tensions permanently. Without tension, anxiety and worry, life is a lot more enjoyable. … to release this tension, you must go through the nervous system, for it is a nerve, constantly sending its signal to a muscle, which causes that muscle to tense. You are making yourself tense. Tension, therefore, is not released by doing something extra, but by letting go of something you are already doing.” (Movements of Magic, 16)
Did Montaigne know of Zen philosophy?! Or perhaps the Stoics before him? sure seems like there is a connection between East and West deep down …
At any rate, Bon dimanche!