The man who wrote the following words was either wise or wacko. There’s no middle ground. You must make your choice. Without leaving your home, you can know the whole world. Without looking through the window, you can see the ways of heaven. The further you go, the less you know. Thus, the wise man knows without travelling, sees without looking, works without doing.
Moderation is only possible when I am fundamentally indifferent to my appetites and activities. I can employ self-discipline to fight with myself but where lies the merit and meaning in that unhappy business?
This is a hard sell in a culture where the answer to every problem is more. But consider: Our basic biological needs are few, modest and easily met. If we have more than we need, we have too much. Craving sensory stimulation, we chase more and better experiences—more of what we don’t need. Craving is slaving. Every form of wanting, every anticipation, alienates us from the beauty and power of the inexhaustible now. Jesus to the cultivated rich kid: “Sell everything, give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven.” Which is nowhere other than now.
Young children still have one foot in heaven. A nine-year-old girl emerged from a three-day coma to speak of a “tall and nice” lady named Elizabeth and her new friends Andy and Mark.
Heaven is not won, unless dropping the seed-shell of my public face is winning. Tennyson emerged from one of his trances to say that the loss of personality is the only true life.