Ms Karen Au

The Path of Least Resistence

Posted on: March 24, 2014

Image

Had an interesting conversation with my buddy Jord yesterday about why a lot of Chinese people take the path of least social resistance. Now, we both understand that the majority of the world’s population is this way; but this is an especially strong cultural phenomena within countries that honour family and social cohesion in higher regard than a person’s self-actualization. We wondered if it had anything to do with Buddhist teachings; teachings that taught us to go with the flow, and to avoid obstacles as a way of minimizing suffering.. including doing what is true to the self, though it may be contrary to traditional social constructs.

But I’m not sure if that was the essence and purpose of these teachings.

Raised Roman Catholic, I am by no means an expert on Buddhist teachings (how many of us are?). My speculations are based on what I know from my grade 11 World Religions course, and enlightening conversation with Westerners who have converted to Buddhism. But I do feel that this is worth talking through. Feel free to comment after you’ve heard me out. I’d love to know what you think.

Bruce Lee once said, “Be water, my friend.” I believe Buddhist teachings meant for us to flow as Water does: to ride the waves of conflict, flow around and over obstacles and barriers with ease, swell through with the understanding that this, too, shall pass. It is impossible to remove the conflicts inflicted upon us by this world; what is most meditative and effective is to simply flow through them with the strength of Water.

In this, I picture myself as water, flowing down my path as I do, not knowing what each fork in the river will bring. While as a human, I can make educated predictions about which path will bring the most rapids; but I will never know which obstacles will strike me the sharpest, which rapids will be the easier rides, which rivers will be the most polluted. All I can do, as Water, is flow down the path that is most true, the path that makes my heart sing, and hope to endure the rapids and sharp boulders as they come with strength and fluidity; flow, knowing that in the end, I will have the strength to smooth over the rocky paths, and I will be wondrously at peace.

While I see value in minimizing suffering and removing barriers, I also see value in embracing the barriers and learning by flowing over and around them with wonderment and an open mind. Buddhism teaches detachment from desire to achieve happiness, but I don’t think it’s as simple as removing things that can bring us pain. Doing so means you don’t achieve much, nor experience much of this beautiful thing called Life. Doing so is the easy way out, but ultimately not the most fulfilling. Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile, and eliminating the desire to do something worthwhile is a cop-out.

I don’t think Buddhism is teaching us to take the easy way out. I think Buddhism is teaching us to develop the strength to flow as Water, so that we can do the extraordinary.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Creating a philanthropic life through education, the arts, social media, and love.
FeedBurner me
Email me
Facebook me
Tweet me
LinkedIn me
Ask me

My Little Bank of Top Posts

My Little Calendar of Posts

March 2014
S M T W T F S
« Oct   Jul »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

My Little List of Categories

%d bloggers like this: