The wisdom of Pooh comes to me in small drips every so often. “Would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?” he humbly asked when he was stuck in Rabbit’s rabbit hole. And, the way I see it, he summarised the plight of mankind.
My little friend at Starbucks felt like Pooh this morning when he tried to add all my purchases for breakfast and promised me a discount that he wasn’t able to punch into the computer. It took me 20 minutes and many encouraging nods before I finally had my coffee, yoghurt and musli. In the end, the coffee wasn’t so good and I burned my tongue.
I too feel wedged in great tightness these days. It is like wherever I turn, there is no way out. I listened to the stories of the Rohingya for a week, and there were not one tiny scrap of good news for them. And, while I tried being good and kind and loving, one cannot change a political system with a smile. I felt at the end of the week that I had only questions and no answers. Stuck. In great tightness.
I arrived in Malaysia and here the needs continue. Exploitations, land grabs, lack of food, climate destruction, and, as I walked down a dirty street today, a crazy lady was sitting right in front of me peeing. No, this is not even slightly exaggerated. She did, and I saw it. And I thought: Has it come to this?
Pooh was mostly upset about all the meals he would be missing while stuck there in the hole. Just like me sometimes when I am stuck the way I feel right now. I listen to sad stories all day and watch people go to the bathroom on the street, and then I go to bed thinking about an outfit I really wish for. Or, like now, I think about cheese.
Pooh was desperate, as am I, and when meals were out, there was another option for him: The Sustaining book. Ah, the sustaining book! That is what I need too. And, if I am not totally mistaken, it is what the world needs. In the Sustaining book we will find the wisdom to live and to love. In the Sustaining book I will find the comfort I need in this time of great tightness. Such as this:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I can’t remember what good the Sustaining book did Pooh, if anything. But I know that for me, I need the book and I need the friends around me who help me get out of the hole I feel stuck in. If I all I see is the dirt below me and the the muck mixed with it I think I will remain as useless as a wedged bear. One cannot focus on the great tightness, but on the way out of it. That is why I was happy talking to my good friends today. Not only have they dedicated their lives to helping the poor and the oppressed. They are constantly thinking up new ways to get better at what they are doing. In their footsteps are rescued women, saved children and dignified men. Then, busy as they are doing good things, they took the time to talk to me and helped pull me out of the tightness I felt.
Such fruit will come from the ones reading the Sustaining book and following the advice given therein.