Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Super Bowl Meditation

Reading over the Lao Tzu ch. 77 this morning I was struck by these lines:
'The sage acts without taking credit,
Achieves without attachment.
He does not want to display his worthiness' (Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching(Yi Wu trans.) Ch. 77)

While these lines have long been of interest, today they elicited a unique response, that of 'show-boating athletes', particularly, with the Super Bowl coming up, celebrating a touchdown came to me.

I was then reminded of NFL great Barry Sanders, perhaps the greatest running back of all time, who after each touchdown, no matter how spectacular, would simply hand the ball to the referee, leaving his teammates to do the celebrating for him.

While Barry Sanders is not likely a sage (as this term in Chinese philosophy is reserved for the ancient sage-kings and Confucius alone), his under-spoken celebration said more, without saying anything, than any of the most over the top celebrations ever did. I remember very few celebrations, nor the athletes that performed them. But Barry Sanders' 'celebrating by non-celebrating' is the most memorable of all and a fitting image to the lasting power of Lao Tzu's action in non-action.

No comments:

Post a Comment