One of the greatest gifts and hindrances of our minds is to automatize things in life after practicing and repeating them many times. Walking without having to consider every step really makes things a lot easier. However, one of the greatest habits of the mind is to constantly look outside of ourselves for clarity.  There’s a lot we can get from reading blogs, books, interviews and listening to other commentators, but at the end of the day the greatest teacher is ourselves, our own experience.

Confucius said: “I am thinking of giving up speech.” Zigong said: “If you did not speak, what would there be for us, your disciples, to transmit?” The Master said: “What does Heaven ever say? Yet there are the four seasons going round and there are the hundred things coming into being. What does Heaven ever say?” ~ Analects XVII (Confucius from the Heart)

However, how can we ever listen to the clarity and wisdom of our experience if we never stop to do so?

Another habit we get caught up in is putting off the things that are really important in life for another day. We say, “When I finish school, get a partner, get married, have children, or retire then I’ll really start living. Right now there are just too many obstacles.”

At some point we start to realize that those obstacles are our life and are the entry point to living as if it mattered.

Coleman Barks translates Rumi:

“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

Start today, stop for a moment and consider, what is truly important in my life that I have been putting off?

Have you been waiting to contact someone you love because of a past grudge? Have you been putting off eating healthier or exercising even though your doctor said your health is at risk? Have you been continually putting yourself at the bottom of the to-do list while your stress continues to build?

There is nothing more to read, the clarity lies within you in this moment, you just need to take 1 minute, stop and connect with it. Let the beauty you love be what you do.

Please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.



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    Last reviewed: 4 Oct 2010

APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2010). Looking Outside for Answers? Confucius and Rumi Share their Wisdom. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 29, 2015, from


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