The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.


on February 17, 2012


I am insatiably curious.  If something with which I am not familiar comes to mind I do a little digging to find out more.  I don’t delve deeply – just  enough to have some sense of what that thing or that idea is. Not long ago I came across a reference to Taoism In a book I was reading.  I knew nothing about Taoism so I searched for more information.. There is much to learn but one particular precept intrigued me.

Taoism says the end of the cycle of development is that of the independent, clear-minded, all-seeing child.  This is the level known as wisdom.  The wise are children who know. Their minds have been emptied of the countless minute somethings of small learning and filled with the great wisdom of the great nothing.

Is that the purpose of life: to return to being a child  – no agendas, no prejudices, no preconceived ideas?   If I observe several young children at a playground what do I see?  I see joy on their faces: I see curiosity as they pause for a moment to watch a spider constructing a web. I see imagination in castles being built in the sandbox.  I may hear one kid yell “that’s mine” as he grabs a toy but others will contradict him and say “no fair, we share.”  I do not see them sitting quietly and doing nothing.  They have no empty cups. Their minds may be emptied of ‘somethings’ but I don’t see them as being wise about the value of nothing – of emptiness.

It is true we live our lives following agendas and many of those agendas are composed of minute, inconsequential things. What if we dispensed with the agendas? If we rose each morning, with no place to go, nothing to do?  Are we then wise children? Is one of the components of wisdom to empty one’s mind of insignificant somethings?  I wonder if anyone can do that. It strikes me as being a desirable but impossible goal.

If you could, what then?  Do you sit in a comfortable chair most of the day and mull over the ills of the world, your regrets, your dreams?  Do you fold your hands and wait for inspiration to strike you. Do you go for long walks – visit the beach or the forest preserve?  It seems to me that almost the minute you reach that state of emptiness, you begin to construct other agendas.  Maybe you make an effort to develop agendas more meaningful. You visit the old lady across the street and take her a bouquet of flowers.  You go the pet supply store, stock up on sunflower seeds and feed the birds. You call your child for the express purpose of saying ‘I love you.’

I admit I would be lost without agendas. I also admit to the fact that they contain a lot of meaningless somethings.  I don’t admit to wanting to be a child again nor do I admit to wanting my mind to be filled with the great nothing.

Still, it’s an intriguing concept worth consideration.

Julie Rose



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