As a diversion from current events, I’ve been rereading The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (c 1982). I think we could all use a dose of Pooh these days. As well as a spoonful of honey. And a Daoist perspective on living in the present – especially these present times. This book is all that. A good, simple, and delightful reminder of so many things.
Today, one allegory, in particular, strikes me: the story of Piglet, Pooh, and Rabbit being lost in the woods and trying to find the way home. Round and round they go, always returning to the same place: a pit. Rabbit won’t stop talking and finally, Pooh says, well, read for yourself:
“Well,” said Pooh, “we keep looking for Home and not finding it, so I thought that if we looked for this Pit, we’d be sure not to find it, which would be a Good Thing, because then we might find something that we weren’t looking for, which might be just what we were looking for, really.”
“I don’t see much sense in that,” said Rabbit. . . “If I walked away from this Pit, and then walked back to it, of course I should find it.”
“Well, I thought perhaps you wouldn’t,” said Pooh. “I just thought.”
“Try,” said Piglet suddenly. “We’ll wait here for you.”
Rabbit gave a laugh to show how silly Piglet was, and walked into the mist. After he had gone a hundred yards, he turned and walked back again . . . and after Pooh and Piglet had waited twenty minutes for him, Pooh got up.
“I just thought,” said Pooh. “Now then, Piglet, let’s go home.”
“But, Pooh,” cried Piglet, all excited, “do you know the way?”
“No,” said Pooh. “But there are twelve pots of honey in my cupboard, and they’ve been calling to me for hours. I couldn’t hear them properly before, because Rabbit would talk, but if nobody says anything except those twelve pots, I think, Piglet, I shall know where they’re calling from. Come on.”
They walked off together; and for a long time Piglet said nothing, so as not to interrupt the pots; and then suddenly he made a squeaky noise . . . and an oo-noise . . . because now he began to know where he was; but he still didn’t dare to say so out loud, in case he wasn’t. And just when he was getting so sure of himself that it didn’t matter whether the posts went on calling or not, there was a shout in front of them, and out of the mist came Christopher Robin. (p. 14 (original story from The House at Pooh Corner)
Home is always calling us. When we are still, when we stop talking, stop filling the air with distractions, we can hear it. The trick is to be quiet and keep moving. Ever so slowly. Feeling our way through the fog. Relying on deeper senses to guide us. Move gently. Embody stillness in action. Breathe. Breathe deeply. Listen. The cupboard is full.
Home emerges out of the mist when we are able to do this. Slowly and simultaneously quite suddenly. We find ourselves exactly where we want to be.
And therein lies the honey.