The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavors dull the taste.
The chase and the hunt craze people’s minds.
Wasting energy to obtain rare objects
only impedes one’s growth.
The master observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
He prefers what is within to what is without.
This first stanza of this verse evokes an image of a busy New York City thoroughfare where the mind is assaulted with a barrage of sights, sounds, and aromas.
A sea of people making their way here and there covers the sidewalks that line the streets. The sea is many colored and constantly in motion like it has been enraged by hurricane winds. The streets are filled with vehicles inching their way impatiently. Above the streets are the tall buildings reaching for the sky and blocking the view of anything that’s not confined within their grasp. The buildings are covered in bright, lighted, and vibrant images, signs, and advertisements like makeup caked on a debutant’s face.
The ears are engulfed in an endless cage of sound. The sound of people rushing around; their feet stomping on the pavement; their chatter from talking into an assortment of devices strapped to their heads; the obligatory honking from the herd of yellow taxi cabs. Engines running, breaks squeaking, and doors slamming shut.
The smell of exhaust fills the nostrils and becomes the “new normal” smell of the streets. It is mixed with the smell of greasy food from the restaurants and street vendors peddling their wares, the trash that spills out from the side alleys, and the brief but frequent scent of an array of perfumes and colognes.
How could the mind and body take anymore stimulation? They can’t. That is why the people on the streets are locked into their own little world listening to earphones plugged into their ears, talking into their cellphones or just ignoring everything around them. They are completely alone in a sea of people.
The chase and the hunt
And why are all of these people here. “The chase and the hunt” as the Tao calls it. Chasing and hunting wealth, fame, new products to cover their bodies and fill their homes. All attempting to follow the marketing firm’s version of the American dream. Their minds are “crazed” by the all-consuming desire for … more.
As the verse says, the master observes this, but does not need it. He/she instead understands that the things of this world come and go and what truly matters is within us.
My Experience Writing this Post
As I write this, the pictures displayed here are the scenery that I am sitting in. There are sounds from the occasional vehicle passing by or the infrequent plane flying high overhead or the people walking by on their way to and from the ski slopes. The rest is peace and tranquility.
The only smell is the mountain air and the pine trees that are scattered along the mountain side. There are no signs, blinking lights or pictures and videos of something else that I supposedly need to buy. The visual is what you see in the pictures, the best of Mother Nature.
Sitting here, all I want is the present moment. I have everything that I could possibly need. I have no desire to rush back and jump into the chase and the hunt. Why would I need anything more than this?