心远地自偏 A Heart That Is Distant Creates Its Own Solitude

in r2cornell •  last year  (edited)


As an old Chinese saying goes, people who have no foresight must have immediate worries, and vice versa. That is to say, if people have lofty ideals and goals, they will not be disturbed and fettered by the trifles before them. In the poem Drinking by the ancient poet Tao Yuanming, there is a verse "A heart that is distant creates its own solitude", which is very good and also shows us the wisdom of the ancients and the beauty of Chinese language.

If one thinks far and has a lofty goal, he will feel that the place where he stays is remote and not bothered by people and things around him. In fact, this is a human mentality. If you have a lofty mind, you will devote yourself to your dreams, and have no time to pay attention to the people and things around you. You neither care to inquire nor to hear, seeming that you are blind and indifferent, just like the people around you do not exist. This is not intentional, but a person's mind is all focused in his own ideal goals, immersed in his own world, and everything outside has no impact on him.

I have a colleague, whose daughter's study is a headache to deal with to him. His daughter shuts herself in the room to study, but she can't calm down. The honking of cars outside, the hawking of small traders, the shouting of naughty children, and even the noise of parents walking in the room will affect her and make her anxious. Although his daughter hides her in the small building, she does not achieve the state of mind of "escaping into the small building and becoming self-contained regardless of winter, summer, spring and autumn". She was in a remote place, but her heart was not distant.

One year, I took the postgraduate examination. One afternoon, it was a professional subject for which three hours were allowed. In order not to reveal the test questions, it is stipulated that the examination papers cannot be handed in and left in advance. Maybe it was the first time for a young man around me to take the exam, who had no idea of doing the exam for a long time, probably because he could not do it at all. He looked around, scratching his head. At this time, an invigilator was sitting on the platform doing nothing, casually tapping the desk with his fingers alternately. We were too busy with our examination papers that we were afraid that we would not have enough time to attend to the invigilator's action. Suddenly the boy raised his hand, just like a student in the class answering a question: "Teacher, please don't knock on the table." The examinees all looked up, and I knew that the boy's mind was not on the paper at all.

There are many children who have learned well and have just reached the state of "A heart that is distant creates its own solitude". They are intoxicated with books though surrounded by such noise and chaos, but they are not affected at all. They swim in the book world as if they are isolated from the real world, because there is a wider world in the minds of such children.

When I was in the original unit, I was determined to leave this declining enterprise through the postgraduate entrance examination. I studied my favorite English hard and enjoyed it. My office was bustling with people coming and going, boasting and puffing.

However, I have developed the ability of "A heart that is distant creates its own solitude" to move towards my own goals, and it is difficult for people and things around to walk into my world. Finally, little by little, it’s not intentionally I am not to listen or see, but really I could not hear or see any more, just like surrounded by a wall of iron outside my body. I am in a world, quiet and comfortable, while surrounded by another world, noisy and bothersome.

The wind blows the leaves, it’s neither the leaves nor the wind that move, but the heart beats. If the heart does not move, either the wind or the leaves will not move. This is another interpretation of "A heart that is distant creates its own solitude".

Tao Yuanming's poem Drinking is attached for your appreciation.

Drinking /Tao Yuanming

I built my cottage among the habitations of men,

And yet there is no clamor of carriages and horses.

You ask: "Sir, how can this be done?"
"A heart that is distant creates its own solitude."

I pluck chrysanthemums under the eastern hedge,

Then gaze afar towards the southern hills.
The mountain air is fresh at the dusk of day;

The flying birds in flocks return.

In these things there lies a deep meaning;

I want to tell it, but have forgotten the words




有一年,我参加研究生考试,有一天的下午考的是专业科,三个小时的时间。为了 不泄露试题,规定不能提前交卷走人。许是初次参加考试,我身边的一个男孩子早早就没了做卷子的心思,大概是基本不会做的缘故吧。他东瞅瞅西望望,抓耳挠腮,一筹莫展。而此时一个监考的老师坐在讲台上无所事事的样子,不经意地用手指交替轻敲着讲桌。我们忙于自己的考卷,生怕时间不够用,根本无暇顾及监考老师的这个动作。可忽地那个男孩子举起手来,如同课堂上的一个学生回答问题:“老师,请不要敲桌子。”考生都抬起头来,我知道这位男孩子的心思根本不在试卷上。












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