First in a series of mini bios!
Hello, my name is Confucius. I was born in China in 51 BC. My father Heih, was governor of one of the areas in China. He was in his seventies when I was born and died when I was three. My mother was a beautiful woman, much younger than my father and it was she who taught me to work hard, live humbly, and serve my fellowman.
From an early age I was taught that I was no better than any of the other children in the village. My father's status as governor was an honor he had earned, not mine, and I was made to work in the garden, tend the herds, and bring food and water.
Our life was simple. The hard work helped develop my body to be strong. The quiet times at work gave me time to think about nature. I loved the beauty of the world, especially music. I learned to play the lute, which is similar to today's guitar. Great happiness for me was to play and sing songs that I made up. People would come from far and near to hear my songs, and I thanked heaven for my ability to entertain them.
Because of my father's position, I was considered a ‘prince’ As I got older, my duties were to ride troughout our state and make sure the people were living in harmony, and there was no unrest. Numerous times I found herders fighting over cattle, or where the goats were to graze. I would tell them to treat each other as they wished to be treated. Today that is known as “The Golden Rule", to me, it was a way of life.
Once when I had become weary of all the fighting occurring among my people, I painted the symbol of love and friendship on a piece of wood and placed it in front of my tent. It became a flag of peace that people would carry with them in a show of friendship to strangers.
I tried to teach people that quarreling is useless. It tires the body and mind. It causes what you call stress, and in the end no one really wins since each body has been depleted by the friction.
I always believed that the nature of heaven is in the heart, that we are all united by that nature. Whatever in nature we harm, we so harm ourselves. Whatever good we do for others, we also do for ourselves. I also believed that heaven provides us with all that we need in life.
I was considered a teacher in my time. Now I am called a philosopher. I believed that every truth has four corners and as a teacher I give you one corner and it is for you to find the other three. When a man has been helped around one corner of a square and cannot manage by himself to get around the other three, he is unworthy of further assistance.
Perhaps some of the things I believed in that long ago time would be useful to the people of today. Some of them I learned from a great Chinese philosopher, Lao-tsze, whom I visited often. I present some of those thoughts to you now. Be guided by them, use them in your life, and you will create for yourself a world that brings you great happiness.
"Let a man's labor be proportioned to his needs, for he who works beyond his strength does but add to his cares and disappointments. A man should be moderate even in his efforts. "
"Beware of ever over doing that which you are likely, sooner or later, to repent of having done. "
"As riches adorn a house, so does an expanded mind adorn and tranquilize the body. Hence it is that the superior man will seek to establish his motives on correct principles. "
"The men of old spoke little. It would be well to imitate them, for those who talk much are sure to say something it would be better left unsaid. "
"A man must reason calmly for with reason, he would look and not see, listen and not hear. "
"We should not search for love or demand it, but so live that it will flow to us. "
Perhaps my thoughts and beliefs would be laughed at in your world today. It is indeed a much different world than mine, more complex, industrialized and technical. We lived simply in my time, working the land, tending the cattle, using our hands to build without machinery.
But, somehow I feel that these words and ideas can be used in any time, with any people. I hope you will consider them in the context of your world. I also hope that you will find joy in the life you live.
Love the land and all of nature. Be thoughtful of your neighbor, and work so that you feel you have always done your best. Treat yourself with kindness and treat others as you would treat yourself.
Mary Bradley McCauley is a writer in no particular genre. Her articles, short stories, essays, poems, travel bits, and ‘thinking about’ series have been published and well received. Her metaphysical novel, “The House of Annon" has been one of her writing highlights.
After the nomadic life of the military with its countless moves, and a career in travel taking her to the Bering Sea in Alaska, the Opera House in Sydney, most of the major islands in the Caribbean as well as several trips to Europe, Ms. McCauley recently moved from Florida to Franklin TN.
A former Army Brat, Army Wife and Group Tour Travel Advisor, she claims her first love is being with her grandchildren and second is communicating in any way, shape or form.