The Zen of Elle

Quote of the Day:     Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind.”     —Buddha

Some things we can learn from a two year old:

  • Do everything with gusto. Eat, play, run, laugh, cry. At the end of the day, you will rest well, and tomorrow you can attack life afresh. Oliver Wendell Holmes said “life is action and passion.” A two year old lives this way.
  • No matter how angry you become with someone, you can always forgive them. And the sooner the better. A two year old is constantly forgiving and quickly forgetting the innumerable daily trespasses upon her dignity and freedom. 
  • There is no purpose in, nor time for regret. The poet John Greenleaf Whittier wrote “of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, “It might have been.”  This phrase is unknown to the toddler.
  • You should be wary of strangers, yet still have a pleasant greeting for them. 
  • Very few two year olds have exposure to Thoreau, yet they know that joy is not attained through accumulation of material goods. A twenty dollar toy or a plastic spoon–they are equals to the two year old. She will have fun with either.
  • Materialistic she may not be, but she knows to protect her stuff. Woe be to the one who tries to take her bear or blanket or plastic spoon.
  • We should be happy with our appearance. A two year old’s self image is unaffected whether buck naked or in her best dress, freshly brushed hair or applesauce filled, protruding gut or dirty face.
  • Worry should not be part of your life. Things will either work out or they won’t. Depending on how they go, you will laugh or you will cry. Then something new will happen. There are no gray haired two year olds. Ironically, a two year old can cause the appearance of gray hairs to accelerate on a 38 year old man.
  • You can learn all manner of great things if you listen carefully and watch intently those around you. At two, the growth of vocabulary, physical ability and general sophistication is staggering. This all comes from observing their world and the people who inhabit it. Sadly, they gradually learn to neither listen well nor watch closely thereby simultaneously dooming their state of zen as they use it to grow.
  • And finally, we should live in the present. The (original) Buddha counseled “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate on the present moment.” In this, a two year old is as a monk. There is no solace in going outside in five minutes. It must be now or the moment is lost forever. And who knows what may happen in five minutes. The time to act on an idea is immediately. 

TB has learned a lot from a two year old, and so can you. I think I might even put some of this newfound knowledge to work. Starting tomorrow.

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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11 Responses to The Zen of Elle

  1. Madd Dawg says:

    Well done TB.

    I invite you to compare (contrast?) the wisdom of the original Buddha (above) with the, er, wisdom, of our own present-day Buddha recently on another thread on this site:

    “Bring on the depression BABY!! It can’t hurt me, I say let’s all start from scratch on a level playing field.
    Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!!!”

  2. The irony of my subject matter and identity of certain readers did not escape my attention.

    You make a good suggestion. The present day Buddha has some definite and singular outlooks on life. Zeek, send me some bulletpoints on your life philosophy and I’ll measure it against the original of your namesakes.

  3. Jessie Lou says:

    I’ve noticed several folks out at the Islands that are absolutely happy and confident with their appearance, almost buck nekkid. Sometimes it breaks my zen-like state on the beach when they come into my zone of vision.

    Otherwise, I totally agree with your list and look forward to the Buddha comparisons – son to father.

  4. smilyj says:

    All beach goers should be nekkid.:-Smilyj’s philosophy. As well as any other time they can get away with it. NEKKID!

  5. quail09 says:

    MD……brilliant insight….our present day buddha is very childlike in many of his assertions….his attitude and mood can explore the heights of hysteria and plumb the depths of rage and dispair….all on a single thread….he even has to be told to quit whining

  6. Jessie Lou says:

    I guess if everyone is nekkid it levels the playing field so to speak and there are absolutely no secrets. Having been to the nude beach in Jamaica I can tell you that those who were without clothing would require the most clothing in other circumstances.

  7. Madd Dawg says:

    I don’t think that either of us is capable of comprehending the complex value and belief system that makes up the philosophy of either Buddha.

  8. Zeek says:

    Madd Dawg, that might be the smartest words ever uttered from your lips. I have said for years that one cannot truly find wisdom and knowledge until he admits that he really knows nothing. A protege’ of mine named Samuel Clemens(nice lad) was once quoted as saying-“When I was a young man I thought my father a buffoon, however, years later when I returned home with a son of my own, I could not believe how wise he had become!!” I deny any and all charges from above concerning any and all matters and find it funny that JLou thinks the “original” Buddha is my dad, but then again, I guess he was. Here are just a few tasty morsels off the top of my head:

    Go with what brung ya.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

    A fool and his money soon part.

    Never chase a man who is scared and running from you, if you catch him you might not like what his fear produces when cornered.

    They F**K you at the drive-thru!!

    Nobody Listens.

    Weed should be legal.

    Every woman, and I mean EVERY woman, changes once the vows are exchanged.

    You don’t mess with a streak.

    It’s all pink on the inside.

    Man is like water, in the respect that they both tend to follow the path of least resistance, hence they both usually end up crooked.

    The War Between the States in the mid-19th century should not be called the Civil War, but should own the moniker “The War of Northern Aggression.”

    Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

    Sometimes nuthin’ is a real cool hand.

    Let me know, and I can meditate and get some fresh ideas flowing.

  9. Jessie Lou says:

    I was thinking only of the Buddhas I actually know.

  10. smilyj says:

    One who tries to sound smart, usually aint.

  11. Jessie Lou says:

    “When in doubt don’t” is one I am surprised you did not put don’t Zeek – my personal fave is “A fool and his money soon parted” – I heard both of those alot when I was growing up.

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