In my teenage years, I tried to understand different religions, from Taoism to Buddhism to Christianity. I realized early on that I would never become an expert on any of them. I only ever scratched the surface. Instead I tried to learn from each and create my own set of doctrines. During this time, I discovered Tao Teh Ching, by Lao Tzu. I found it to be vague, but fascinating. The true meaning lying just outside my grasp. In all honesty it was often miles from my grasp. I want to share one of my favourite sections with you:
“Thirty spokes converge upon a single hub;
It is on the hole in the centre that its use hinges.
We make a vessel from a lump of clay;
It is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful.
We make doors and windows for a room;
But it is these empty spaces that make the room liveable.
Thus, while the tangible has its advantages,
It is the intangible that makes it useful.”
When I applied this idea to myself, I made some realizations. We have arms and legs, we have eyes and ears, we have lungs and a heart. While these tangible aspects are what makes us live, the space between them is what makes us alive. On most days I don’t care if my hair is pretty or if my clothes are trendy. On most days I care about being true to myself, on loving and respecting those around me. What about you? Do you care more about the vessel or the space inside?