In the world of today, where everyone is caught up in the wretched rat-race and only the rats seem to have the time to calmly look around them and admire their surroundings, this book is like a breath of fresh air straight from the Swiss Alps.
This bear of little brain, has been a favorite of mine for quite some time now. Until I came across ‘The Tao of Pooh’ I just thought of Pooh as a cute little bear that said and did funny things. I loved him for his innocence, my bed was flooded with his soft-toys, I only slept when my arms were safely round my “Pooh-bolster”.
I picked up ‘The Tao of Pooh’ because I was intrigued by the prospect of reading that my cute little Pooh bear was actually an epitome of Western Taoism. I was not to be disappointed.
‘The Tao of Pooh’ is about the various reasons why Pooh’s actions are akin to those of the Wise Taoists of China. It praises Pooh’s simplicity and innocence. You must keep in mind that, we are in fact talking about the bear that likens breakfast to the most exciting thing one does in a day.
As the book progresses, we see Taoism explained as accepting the world around us and living harmoniously with it. Then we read about P’u or ‘the uncarved block’ which basically is about simplicity,honesty and other such qualities. We see how approaching things with an open mind could get us far, because sometimes it is not the learned who are the wisest of all. The scholar might have a lot of knowledge that they keep compartmentalized, but it is a simple creature like Pooh that actually applies that which the wise spend there entire life discerning.
The book also reassures us with the Cottlestone Pie poem by Pooh that, it is alright not to be able to do everything, but it is important that we acknowledge our weakness and use it to our benefit. It stresses on relying on one’s inner nature because unlike the brain, it can’t be fooled.
Then, the author speaks about the Pooh Way, or Wu Wei, which is essentially about not meddling and letting things fall together by itself. Later, we see how the people who are constantly jumping around to get things often miss the whole point. That, sometimes, it is the journey that needs to be savoured, the destination is just a direction towards which we are headed. Hoffmann seems appreciative of Pooh when he decides to do nothing because it is such a lovely day and so, Pooh chooses to sit back and relax instead.
In the chapter on ‘That Sort of Bear’ we see that no matter how small or insignificant we think we are, we are all useful in our own way. And, the courage to do great things come from caring. It is only a person with a compassionate heart that can take on courageous adventures in life (Tz’u).
Towards the concluding chapters, we find Hoffmann describing how, in order to truly understand Taoism, we must be able to understand the beauty of going nowhere and doing nothing. It is only then that, as Pooh says, things and ideas find us. Also, it is often important to approach things in life with a child-like mind;clear and empty!
The book is beautifully authored to appeal to vast range of age group. We see a lot of snippets from A.A. Milne’s books and also from teachings of Taoists and various anecdotes from Chinese Philosophy. All in all, at 174 pages, it has been a very interesting read.
You could pick your copy on Pooh’s wisdom from flipkart or amazon, or head to the nearest library, but this one is one of those few books I have no qualms in promoting! 🙂