Below is a piece from Deng Ming-Dao’s 365 Day Tao and is on Independence. How are happiness and independence related? In our lives, as social creatures, we need other human beings. Being around other people can make us feel safe and loved and provide us with support mechanisms that can make us happy. However, in order to be truly happy we have to be like the crane in the piece below. We have to be content with ourselves and understand that we don’t need wealth, or status or popularity to be happy. All we need is to understand and love ourselves, in the end everything else is a luxury including other people and those relationships. Now this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t engage others, as I’ve said below, we all need other people, but first, you have to engage and love yourself. Have a truly happy day.
A solitary Crane
In winter snow
Needs no jewels
A single crane standing unconcerned in the falling snow is the very image of independence. It needs no one, it is secure in its environment, and it is capable of going through life alone. Its independence stems from self-sufficiency.
It needs no clothing, no building, no wealth, no status. It is content, even glorious in its naked identity. So too with ourselves: There is no need for dazzling clothes, an impressive career, an awesome temple, nor a bejeweled master. What we want is something beyond such externals.
What facets of your personality are encumbrances? What personal aspects prevent you from being independent? These are the areas that will define your self-cultivation, for you must strive to stand alone. This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever join with others, but you will do so as an individual who will cooperate just as much as is necessary. In this way, you will never be lost in a group, and you will never fear being alone.