|This week I’m reading The Tao of Pooh, a fun little book that explores Taoism through the wisdom of the Bear of Little Brain. Benjamin Hoff uses stories from the classics Winnie the Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner to introduce the principles of Taoist philosophy, with original illustrations by E.H. Shephard plus loads of quotes from the books by A.A. Milne.
The Way of Winnie the Pooh is strangely close to the Way of Taoism. No matter what’s going on in the Hundred Acre Wood, Pooh has a way about him where things seem to work themselves out without much effort. Eeyore is gloomy and always assumes the worst, Piglet worries and is filled with anxiety, and Owl thinks he knows everything already. But Pooh just is.
Pooh is the epitome of the Uncarved Block, or P’u, which means that things in their original state have their own natural power. It seems simple and basic, but it’s just about being present and allowing things to be as they are without imposing your ideas on them.
Pooh’s way of being is called Wu Wei, which means “without doing, causing, or making.” Wu Wei is effortless action, without interference from the ego or the mental chatter that usually fills your mind. The ideal is to practice Wei Wu Wei – to “Do Without Doing” – in other words, to allow things to happen spontaneously without meddling or getting in your own way. Here’s a quote:
The Tao of Pooh is a great introduction to Taoist principles, revealed with humour and clarity through the exploits and adventures of Pooh and his friends. Perfect whether you’re a fan of Pooh or not (and why wouldn’t you be?!).
You can see Pooh ‘in action’ here: The Art of Doing Nothing
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Review: The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff