Seeing Your Smallness


Today we talk about the benefits of seeing your own smallness.

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Show Notes

Daily Reading

Today's reading is from chapter 52 of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching from the translation of Jonathan Star


In this verse, Lao Tzu says "seeing your own smallness is called insight". Oftentimes, when we're in the midst of our own problems, they can seem larger than life. Because our experience is so self-referential, we often exaggerate the importance of what happens to us.

Have you had this experience before? You know you have something coming up you must do but that you dread. Maybe it's a performance review with a boss you don't like, or public speaking at a company function. Maybe it's going to the dentist, or something as simple as mowing the lawn. You agonize and stress over it, maybe even avoid and postpone it. However, when it comes time for the actual activity to take place, you realize that even though it still might not be great, it's also not anywhere near as bad as you've built it up to be. We even have a common phrase, "that wasn't so bad."

If we can think of ourselves in the context of the universe, we suddenly realize that we're a tiny piece of a really big whole. That no matter how big any individual's problem is, it's still an individual problem. That the frustrations and pains you encounter as you go through life probably aren't that terribly different from your neighbor's, or your coworker's, or someone doing your job on the other side of the world.

Of course, this doesn't mean our experiences aren't valid or that our problems don't matter. It just helps us keep our problems from mattering more than they need to.

Uplifting News

Illinois has become the third US state to ban the sale of animal-tested cosmetics. Illinois joins Nevada, California, and more than 30 countries around the world including the EU in this ban. Even though non-animal testing methods are actually cheaper and more effective than animal testing, the industry has been slow to adopt changing procedures, making this legislation especially important.

 Quote of the Day

“To realize that everything in the universe is connected is to both accept our insignificance and understand our importance in it.”

― Jeffrey Fry


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