About Seeking Other People’s Attention

Happy day to you, friends.

Today I have a poem from you from our buddy Chuang Tzu, the ancient Taoist master.

The poem is somewhat about the conditioned tendency we have (in my language) to seek acknowledgement and validation from others in the absence of our own loving attention. As you no doubt have noticed, we live in a world in which everyone is seeking everyone else’s attention all the time. Nearly everyone, it seems, wants to be seen as talented, or beautiful, or rich, or intelligent, or sexy, or together, or hip, or any of a host of other things, and they want to know that other people are thinking these things about them. What true value could there be in that?

What would our world be like if we could all give ourselves our own attention? Wouldn’t that be something? This of course is something that very few people can do, and that nobody can do without dedicated training. Imagine living in the world with a mind oriented according to this teaching of Chuang Tzu:


The spirit has an impregnable tower
Which no danger can disturb–
As long as the tower is guarded
By an invisible Protector
Who acts unselfconsciously.
Our actions go astray
When they become deliberate, reflexive, and intentional.

The unselfconsciousness and entire sincerity of Tao
Are disturbed by any effort at self-conscious demonstration.
All such demonstrations are false.

When one displays himself in this ambiguous way
The world outside storms in and puts him in prison.
He is no longer protected by the sincerity of Tao.
Each new act is a new failure.
If his acts are done in public, in broad daylight,
He will be punished by men.
If they are done in private and in secret,
He will be punished by the impact on his own consciousness.

Let each one understand the meaning of sincerity
And guard against display!
Such a one who understands
Will be at peace with people,
Will live with an untroubled mind,
And will act rightly, unseen,
In his own solitude,
In the tower of his spirit.

Words to live by, don’t you think? Be well, friends, and have a beautiful day.

In peace,