Succinct Lessons from Don Quixote

Painting of Don Quixote

Don Quixote, considered one of the greatest books ever written (in the early 17th century) is about a fool on his tired horse, Rocinante. Writer, Miguel de Cervantes, never lets the reader rest, and challenges the reader’s emotions to vacillate between comedy and tragedy, depending upon the timing of the reading. The reader is challenged by realizing he/she never quite understands, or “gets it”, and just when he/she thinks he/she has “gotten it” is proven wrong by the next turn of events.

This is a good metaphor for life and for the yearning to learn from experiences by we spiritual seekers. It makes me think of one of my favorite quotes, by Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

What are the succinct lessons from Don Quixote?

Keep an open mind, go with the flow of the Tao, and play your part as you see it. If that requires temporary insanity, forgive yourself. Live with intensity and try to see through the illusions which dominate our Earthly existence. Stay calm and in harmony with what life brings you. Don’t fail to see the humor. Life is as tragic as you make it. You can pick your stage, your stage crew, and your reaction to the script as it is recited to you. Energy flows where our attention goes. We can create our own (imaginary) huge enemies and suffer for it. The Universe provides surprises for us, always challenging us. We each have own unique path. We are all wanderers and know next to nothing but we keep up the faith to continue and to learn and ever move forward. The mythologies that comprise our lives including loves gained and lost present in infinite patterns proving to us that the more we learn the less we know. We are that hamster that keeps banging into the glass trying to get what we’re after.

What if the Hokey-Pokey is really what it’s all about?

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