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The Tao of Pooh Reading Salon
June 18, 2021 at 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm PDT
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Join Yatharth Agarwal in a live, Interintellect group reading of The Tao of Pooh — a whimsical tale of the principles of Taoism, told through Winnie-the-Pooh.
This is a book to be experienced, not to be read. Join us as the words come alive, fill the space, and we notice what is left.
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said.”
We’ll start with a check-in, read for an hour, and close with a discussion. Participating in reading out loud is encouraged, but not required. If you’ve never read the book before—come experience it for the first time. I haven’t. If you have read it—notice how it comes alive for you now differently than it did before. Trace your memories, and notice the finer distinctions in yourself.
“Rabbit’s clever,” said Pooh thoughtfully.
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit’s clever.”
“And he has Brain.”
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit has Brain.”
There was a long silence.
“I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.”
The Tao of Pooh started a joke of a thought in the author. Hoff eventually wrote the book at night and on weekends while working as a tree pruner in the Portland Japanese Garden in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon.
“What’s this you’re writing”? asked Pooh, climbing onto the writing table.
“The Tao of Pooh,” I replied.
“The how of Pooh?” asked Pooh, smudging one of the words I had just written.
“The TAO of Pooh,” I replied, poking his paw away with my pencil.
“It seems more like the OW! of Pooh,” said Pooh, rubbing his paw.
“Well, it’s not,” I replied huffily.
“What’s it about?” asked Pooh, leaning forward and smearing another word.
“It’s about how to stay happy and calm under all circumstances!” I yelled.
“Have you read it?” asked Pooh.”
The only burdened mind is that which must consider itself superior.
If you’re so smart, why aren’t you happy?
Questions to discuss:
- How does it feel to distinguish between higher or esoteric contexts of Daoism and popularised, western ones? What would the Daoist reaction be?
- What are the messages of the book in reaction to? What makes us seek these messages in our conditions?
- The book is not and is not meant to be a critique of itself. What does it miss, in espousing the Way of Pooh? What truth remains?
There is no formal requirement. The Tao of Pooh is meant to be an introduction, and it serves as one. However, if you’d like:
- “Daoism vs Taoism” (short article)
- Listen or read the Tao Te Ching, the most famous treatise on Daoism.
- DM Yatharth (@AskYatharth) on Twitter if you want a PDF or ePub of the book.
“That’s not about Taoism,” he said. . .
“What do you think it’s about?” I said.
“It’s about this dumpy little bear that wanders around asking silly questions, making up songs, and going through all kinds of adventures, without ever accumulating any amount of intellectual knowledge or losing his simpleminded sort of happiness. That’s what it’s about,” he said.
“Same thing,” I said.
- Finally, a song, courtesy of @maybegray: Boy & Bear – Pogo.
“Christopher Robin, what exactly is doing nothing?”
“Well, I’m told it means: going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
🎶 Dum-dedum, dee, dum dum.
Dum-dedum, dee, dum dum.
When I’m with you, I’m with you. 🎶
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