By not setting foot outside the door

One knows the whole world;

By not looking out the window

One knows the way of heaven.

The further one goes

The less one knows.

Hence the sage knows without having to stir,

Identifies without having to see it,

Accomplishes without having to do it.

This lesson from Tao Te Ching puts me on my heels in the midst of my travels. I read this passage as I sit at the Crown and Anchor Bar in Algiers Point. I start to second guess myself and the purpose of this trip. I even start to feel a little silly. Then Mike starts playing a song called “I Am Free” and I feel better. I start talking to a damn Yankee (Yankees come from the north, damn Yankees stay) about the ghost of New Orleans since Katrina. I remember another truth I heard from my dad and saw in my grandfather: “You learn about life by going out there and mixing it up” Words of wisdom. I sip on my beer and feel good.

5 Responses to “wisdom”

  1. 1 david g. January 2, 2009 at 12:18 am

    I am a big fan of the Tao Te Ching. The most compelling verse to me is the one that describes how nothingness is the essential virtue of all things. The nothingness in a vessel makes it what it is, the emptiness in the doorframe is the portal that defines its purpose.

  2. 2 nedpelger January 2, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    A man looks at the trees and says, “They are trees.”
    A monk who understands a bit about nothingness looks at the trees and says, “There are no trees.”
    I truly wise man looks at the trees and says, “They are really trees!”
    Each step is essential, I think, there is no jumping ahead in line. We need to learn to hold lightly in order to truly hold tightly.
    I miss you guys.

  3. 4 Jon Ingels January 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Are you still out there Lex? We’ve been patiently awaiting a new blog post! Hope all is going well for you on your adventure.


  4. 5 uyen-khanh March 7, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you for whisking me away on a vacation from this insanity called medical school. Not only was your blog amazingly entertaining, but also incredibly educational!

    i remember your admonitions during our conversations in Valhalla, and now i say them to myself: “What the hell did i get myself into?” Welp, by now i’ve figured out that the only way to make this whole thing worth it is to have as many of my patients be above the age of 60. Being in the presence of the elderly is when i am at my happiest.

    i hope to meet Sushil one day. i love him, i already do.

    If you ever make it to northern California, Mr. Space-Time would love to see you.

    uyen-khanh quang-dang
    aka Ms. Space-Time

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Lex Pelger


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