A Smaller Country.
I once witnessed an argument between two gentlemen at local shop.
At first, their words words were cordial – yet, direct; each bound by the purpose of ‘defending their view.’ In those few short moments, the willingness to share was greater than their need to be heard.
Though soon, their conversations devolved; words became heated in an effort to further the vanity of their claim.
In exasperation, one turned to me and said, “Can you believe this guy?” Just as the other man sighed.
Though what, if anything, had changed? Was it patience, purpose or intent? Was it a matter of willingness? Or, rather simply – an inability to ‘stay’.
“Only the ego remains,” my guru would have shared. “And the ego can never be wrong,” he’d grin.
It was his way of ‘gently’ reminding that each of us is subject to the boundaries of our ways.
The Tao speaks of our service to the ‘smaller country’; a communion with neighbors both near and far. A ‘far’ not limited to a literal sense.
“Seek the small country
With small population,
Where people are neighbors
And life is in balance:
There people love life
And do not wander far
Despoiling the earth
With their destructive ‘machines’.
Their weapons of war
Never used or displayed,
The people live simply,
Enjoy wholesome food,
And comfortable clothes,
The beauty of nature,
The pleasures of ‘home’;
Another country may be so close
That people can hear
The sounds of life
From a distant valley,
The music of peace.”
Each of us, in our own way, longs for that semblance of smaller country. Yet, when challenged – like a viper, the ego will spit and bite, desperate to defend its territory.
Until the smaller country reveals the wider view. We see her residing within the hope of all living beings; and these seemingly casual encounters are grown to greater things.