True Work: Karma Yoga

Swami Vivekananda writes in Karma Yoga: The Yoga of Action,

Do you not see how everybody works? Nobody can be altogether at rest; ninety-nine per cent of mankind work like slaves, and the result is misery; it is all selfish work. Work through freedom! Work through love! The word “love” is very difficult to understand; love never comes until there is freedom… If you buy a slave and tie him down in chains and make him work for you, he will work like a drudge, but there will be no love in him. So when we ourselves work for the things of the world as slaves, there can be no love in us, and our work is not true work.

No Going Back to Those Simpler Days

Harvey Samuel Firestone, founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, wrote in his biography, Men and Rubber: The Story of Business:

Sometimes it seems that it might be better to go back to those simpler days, that one might get more out of a less complex life. But it cannot be done. One changes with prosperity. We all think we should like to lead a simple life, and then we find that we have picked up a thousand little habits which we are quite unconscious of because they are a part of our very being—and these habits are not in the simple life. There is no going back—except as a broken man.

The Absence of Grasping and Fixation

Chogyam Trungpa in The Tantric Path of Indestructible Wakefulness, a part of The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma:

The absence of grasping and fixation is like flying in an airplane. When we rise above the clouds, we begin to realize that upstairs there is a blue sky all the time. We realize that the sun is always shining, even when it is cloudy and rainy down below. There is blue sky all the time, and that blue sky is free from clouds.

Saving Time is Very Simple

From Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh,

The main problem with this great obsession for saving time is very simple: you can’t save time, you can only spend it. But you can spend it wisely or foolishly. The Bisy Backson has practically no time at all, because he’s too busy wasting it by trying to save it. And by trying to save it, he ends up wasting the whole thing.

Comports with Henry David Thoreau’s writing in Walden:

Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitched to-day to save nine tomorrow.

Don’t Get Obsessed with the Short-Term

The biggest advantage you can have as an investor is the discipline to think and act for the long-term. Benjamin Graham discussed how investors would be better off if their stocks had no price quotations at all in his classic, The Intelligent Investor:

The true investor scarcely ever is forced to sell his shares, and at all other times he is free to disregard the current price quotation. He need pay attention to it and act upon it only to the extent that it suits his book, and no more. Thus the investor who permits himself to be stampeded or unduly worried by unjustified market declines in his holdings is perversely transforming his basic advantage into a basic disadvantage. That man would be better off if his stocks had no market quotation at all, for he would then be spared the mental anguish caused him by other persons’ mistakes of judgment.

The Hacker Credo: Information Wants to Be Free

First proposed by Stewart Brand, the founder of The Whole Earth Catalog, at the 1984 Hackers Conference:

On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So, you have these two fighting against each other.

Gandhi’s Talisman

Mahatma Gandhi’s piece of wisdom that you can use as a test to evaluate your actions in public life:

I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test: Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and yourself melting away.

What it Means to Just Be

Psychoanalyst and Zen teacher Barry Magid writes in his essay titled Uselessness in the Fall 2013 issue of Tricycle magazine:

When we speak of just sitting, we are not limiting ourselves to describing a particular posture or practice. We are describing a way of being in the world in which everything we encounter is fully and completely itself. Nothing is merely a means to an end, nothing is merely a step on the path to somewhere else. Every moment, everything, is absolutely foundational in its own right.

Claiming Exemption from Error

John Stuart Mill writes On Liberty,

Judgment is given to men that they may use it. Because it may be used erroneously, are men to be told that they ought not to use it at all? To prohibit what they think pernicious is not claiming exemption from error, but fulfilling the duty incumbent on them, although fallible, of acting on their conscientious conviction. If we were never to act on our opinions, because those opinions ‘lay be wrong, we should leave all our interests uncared for, and all our duties unperformed. An objection which applies to all conduct can be no valid objection to any conduct in particular.

Vanity of Resembling

David Hume writes in A Treatise of Human Nature:

There are instances, indeed, wherein men shew a vanity in resembling a great man in his countenance, shape, air, or other minute circumstances, that contribute not in any degree to his reputation; but it must be confess’d, that this extends not very far, nor is of any considerable moment in these affections. For this I assign the following reason. We can never have a vanity of resembling in trifles any person, unless he be possess’d of very shining qualities, which give us a respect and veneration for him. These qualities, then, are, properly speaking, the causes of our vanity, by means of their relation to ourselves. Now after what manner are they related to ourselves? They are parts of the person we value, and consequently connected with these trifles; which are also suppos’d to be parts of him. These trifles are connected with the resembling qualities in us; and these qualities in us, being parts, are connected with the whole; and by that means form a chain of several links betwixt ourselves and the shining qualities of the person we resemble. But besides that this multitude of relations must weaken the connexion; ’tis evident the mind, in passing from the shining qualities to the trivial ones, must by that contrast the better perceive the minuteness of the latter, and be in some measure asham’d of the comparison and resemblance.