Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Facebook posts - Thoreau and "letting go!"

Machen MacDonald "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone." - Henry David Thoreau

49 minutes ago · Comment · 
Marcelle Allen at 10:43am March 31
I like this... My mind is wondering to fully understand it. What does it mean to you?
 Jim Coughlin at 10:46am March 31
Thoreau is the best!
 Jim Coughlin at 10:52am March 31
Machen - tell Marcelle that Thoreau - being part of the "Enlightenment" crowd of the late 1800's- was truly a "yogi" of the times - much like Gandhi in the 20th century. In fact much of Gandhi's non-violence work was inspired by Thoreau's essay on Civil Disobedience. 

This particular quote -from his book "Walden" - talks about how man's desire is his downfall. Much like the message in the Bhagavad-Gita - the lesson is to "Renounce and enjoy" - 

In a materialistic world, things tend to own us (not the other way around as we hope or believe). Thoreau teaches that "richness" is the ability to not want -to leave it alone - to be fine without it but to not feel lack because you don't have it. 

You could have it if you want, but you don't NEED to have it. The overwhelming desire to "grasp at stuff" isn't there. Thus, ultimate freedom and "richness!"
Marcelle Allen at 11:03am March 31
Jim thanks for the insight. I now remember reading Walden in college... I like how you describe the ultimate freedom is not having to 'grasp at stuff'... I was recently bummed to not get something of importance to me, this post is helping me be thankful for not having it & to remain abundant anyways. Extremely grateful Jim!
 Jim Coughlin at 11:11am March 31
Cool - yeah - it's a hard concept to get - even harder lifestyle to practice - this thought that desire is truly our enemy. Completely contradictory to most mind-sets.

In yoga we call it the "Klesas" -The "afflictions". There are 5 - they are: Mis-perception (i.e., Illusion), Ego, Desire, Aversion and clinging to life. If you can handle those - you got a good chance to have a pretty peaceful and serene life - regardless of any circumstances.

Good luck!

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