Happiness Fu. Happiness. The left side means a revelation from heaven and is used in all words with abstract meanings. The right side shows the word for “beans” on the top and “fields” on the bottom; when the beans are harvested, people are happy. All abundance is provided by Tao. If we appreciate that, we will see that we are surrounded by happiness. Like everything else in Tao, happiness comes from within. What minimal support we need from the outside—a bit of food, some shelter—can actually be very simple and plain and is readily available. Nevertheless, people are unhappy because they do not know moderation. “All I need to be happy is to be rich,” many say. But the newspapers are filled with stories of wealthy people who live in deep despair. In fact, the simple phrase, “All I need to be happy is to be rich”—complete with your choice of substitutes for the word rich—is an immediate indication of the source of our unhappiness: there is no end to what we want. Know when enough is enough. Some die from hunger, but many die from overeating. So to be happy, we have to control our desires. The ancients taught two ways to do this. Sometimes they used discipline to curb desire. Sometimes they satisfied their desires. This is the genius of Tao: moderation. We do not need to cleave to the extremism of the ascetic. We do not need to lose ourselves in the indulgence of the hedonist. We follow Tao, the middle path.
Forbearance Arctic breath coils the mountain, Rattling the forests’ bones. Raindrops cling to branches: Jewelled adornment flung to earth. Trees in winter lose their leaves. Some trees may even fall during storms, but most stand patiently and bear their fortune. They endure rain, snow, wind, and cold. They bear the adornment of glycerin raindrops, glimmering icicles, or crowns of snow without care. They are not concerned when such lustrous splendor is dashed to the ground. They stand, and they wait, the power of their growth apparently dormant. But inside, a burgeoning is building imperceptibly. Theirs is the forbearance of being true to their inner natures. It is with this power that they withstand both the vicissitudes and adornment of life, for neither bad fortune nor good fortune will alter what they are. We should be the same way. We may have great fortune or bad, but we should patiently bear both. No matter what, we must always be true to our inner selves.