Chapter 3 opens with a story Derek Lin relates about the Empress of China feeling her palace building and into the countryside. There she is hungry, tired and frustrated. She comes to a farm and demands food at once. They are poor people, so the best they can do is give her some porridge and preserved snails. She loved it. She ate more and more courses of it. She asked the farmer what this was… and to make it sound more appealing he called it “Pearl Soup and Pheonix Eyes.” The Empress went back to her palace when the fighting subsided and she asked her chef’s to make this dish. She never got the dish she desired.
The moral of this story was that the secret ingredient that created the amazing dish, was her hunger.
The Tao Te Ching is quoted here, “The five colors make one blind in the eyes, the five sounds make one deaf in the ears, the five flavors make one tasteless in the mouth.” These senses are not negative in themselves, but when they are over indulged they create numbness. We loose the path of moderation – the principle p’u (simplicity.)
Derek Lin explains the life lesson and gives this advice on including this aspect of the Tao into our daily activities…
We need to let go of the interference. There are so many distractions… TV, Movies, Music, Computer Games, Plays, Concerts… we can distract our entire lives away. But if we embrace p’u (simplicity) and look at the sunset, embrace the laugh of a child, take a walk and commune with nature – we find relaxation and joy. We begin to touch the simple things in life that are the most amazing of all.
Derek Lin suggests that if we are angry to go for a walk. As we start the walk, open and close our hands. As we continue through the walk – trying to get in touch with nature – we can do the open/close hand check again. When we return home we can try the open/close hand technique. Our hands should be more relaxed. We should be more relaxed, then when we started.