What’s the most important thing to remember?

If someone asks what is the mark of enlightenment or illusion,
I cannot say – wealth and honour are nothing but dust.

Set store by your riches and honour,
And you will only reap a crop of calamities.
Lao Tzu*

What’s the most important thing to remember?

Wealth and honour, recognition and reputation, are nothing but dust. Too much doing will lead to my undoing, as there is really nothing to be done. Nothing to be done but to live happily in the present moment, and to remember this again, and again, and again.

What does today have to offer? A sunny autumn day. A blue sky. People walking in the park. The smiles of my family. There is nothing so important as being in touch with all these wonders. Anything I hope to achieve… dust in comparison to living in touch with what is in front of me in the here and now.

May I remember this every day of my life.

(*1 – Ryokan, from ‘One Robe, One Bowl’, translated by John Stevens.
*2 – Chap. 9, Tao Teh Ching, Lao Tzu, Shambala Dragon Editions.)



6 thoughts on “What’s the most important thing to remember?

  1. I struggled for so long as well but finally realised that ‘struggling’ to do things better or enjoy life did not help me out. Just like it doesn’t work struggling with falling to sleep. I couldn’t force myself taking more time for my family or enjoying the day. Instead I realised that most of the stress was produced by myself and that nobody forces me to hurry like that. I slowed down some things and found out that there was more time for enjoyment and spending time with my family. That lead to a more relaxed and better organised way to do the things that have to be done as well as the things I like to do.
    All the best from Germany!
    P.S.: Ben, encouraged from one of your posts I reflected about the extraordinary boring things in my life (or were they boringly extraordinary? ;-). Simply knowing that others feel the same in their individual situation turned the sky from grey to blue…
    Thank you!


    1. Hi Dirk, thanks for your comment. I think I realised too that most of the stress was produced by myself, it’s nice to hear that from you too – it’s not just me! I’m glad to have helped with the boringly extraordinary too 🙂


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