It’s cold, quiet, dark and primal this early January morning in Nebraska. Silencing my mind, I find the conditions very conducive to pondering simplicity.
Even with such favorable outer conditions, it takes some time to center my mind to let go of all the very seductive fantasy and make-believe thoughts in my head. But I make some good progress during the morning meditation.
Nudging but not forcing, I find the primeval silence and simple being that has always been. It’s like walking a tightrope. Becoming aware of the silence, I automatically label it. Then, I notice that I am naming that primal place. I notice that I am noticing.
I notice, too, that I’m categorizing the naming of what is going on. A smile creeps over me as I remember to simply breathe in and out.
I count each out-breath from one to ten, then start over, then let that go, then just be. Then my monkey mind starts in with the enticing thoughts of my self-importance until I remember to count the breaths again.
Although that primal place is a state of mind that ultimately has no name, there are efforts to give it a name anyway. The philosophy commonly known as Taoism has a simple name for the state of mind that is devoid of the chit chat of our self-invented concepts and b.s. It’s simply, P’u.
P’u is a symbol that represents the simple, unpretentious, original nature of a human being. You might think of a rough, uncarved, block of wood. P’u translates to English approximately as “unhewn timber”. In the context of a mind-state, it can be thought of as innocence, simplicity, and plainness.
“Display plainness, embrace simplicity Reduce selfishness and decrease desires. Forswear learning And vexation will vanish.” The Tao
This should not be interpreted as an endorsement of ignorance. Rather P’u advocates letting go of spiritual embellishment. Thinking that you are a member or leader of some sort of chosen institution is a trap that will hinder your freedom.
The desires for pleasures, wealth, and fame have been shown to give rise to envy, hatred, competition, selfishness and harm to others and oneself. According to the Tao, the person of inner simplicity gains power over his whole world.
“The Tao is forever undefined.
Small though it is in the unformed state,
it cannot be grasped.
If kings and lords could harness it,
The ten-thousand things would naturally obey.
Men would need no more instruction
and all things would take their course.”
Hence, the simplicity of P’u can be approached by letting go of our desires and attachments.
Good luck with that.
The Blue Jay of Happiness is simply perched on a branch.