The Path, Confusius and Acting Your Way To a Better You
The Path, Confucius and Acting Your Way To a Better You
Confucius was an ancient Chinese philosophy par excellence. His main concerns were how to live, practically, effectively and happily in the real world. His philosophy was a philosophy for the man and woman on the street. A way of thinking and being in the world that was sensible and pragmatic. The path to happiness and success for the everyman.
The philosophy of Confucius has quite a lot in common with the other ancient philosophies of Buddhism and Stoicism. Both of these schools of thought have enjoyed huge resurgences in popularity in the west over the last few years. Confucianism has not enjoyed the same level of popularity in modern times. It has been mistakenly presumed to be a stuffy and strict approach to living that promoted rigidity and downplayed joy. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Professor Michael Puett teaches Chinese Philosophy at harvard. His passionate and lively teaching of Confucian philosophy has breathed new life into the subject. His chinese philosophy lectures at Harvard are the third most highly attended at the university – an amazing feat for such a seemingly esoteric subject.
One of confucius’ most powerful concepts is the power of the ‘As If’ ritual. Confucius believed that there is no ‘real you’ – that what you think of as the ‘real you’ is merely a collection f conditioned habits and behaviours. Trying to uncover your ‘real self’ so you can ‘just be yourself’ is a pointless exercise. Because there is no ‘real you’ to uncover.
This notion means that when you do negative behaviours that don’t serve you. Such as being shy, lazy, angry etc – there is never a need to resign yourself to the notion that “well, that’s just who I am”. Nope. You negative behaviours are merely conditioned habits. You need not be a slave to them. Because they are conditioned habits, you can change them.
The way to change them is to always stay very present and aware of how you are being, thinking and behaving. To very deliberately act ‘as if’ you were the person you desire to be. To regularly practice the new ways of being and behaviours that you would like to become ‘you’. If you have rituals of behaviour, that you have chosen because they are in line with who you would most like to be – then those behaviours will become who you are.
It’s a beautifully empowering concept. Choose how you want to be, choose to ‘act as if’ you are theat. And you will become that. If you haven’t already, read The Path. Click the image below to purchase it, become wiser, and concurrently help the podcast!
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