Just found this enlightening quote on the Internet:


Happiness in life comes from being able to ‘put it down.’ Pain in life comes from ‘holding on too tightly.’ Follow the ‘yuan/Go with the flow! Only by doing so can one be free.

This is the idea of non-attachment that I blogged about yesterday. Interesting that I should see this quote as a confirmation today.

The Chinese word 緣, or 緣份, doesn’t really have a one-word equivalent in English. Some translate it into “destiny,” but to me, it sounds too fatalistic. I would translate it into “chance encounters.” The idea is that human encounters can and should never be forced. Perhaps John Lenon’s song “Let it Be!” is the closest equivalent!

The concept of not forcing nor planning the course of any relationships is quite deeply ingrained in ancient Chinese philosophy. Yet how many Chinese today practice it? In any case, it is a handy “default” consolation phrase when a relationship doesn’t work out. Much like when someone says, “That’s fate!” Wouldn’t it be better to follow the “yuan” in all encounters and relationships—before even reaching the end stage? Perhaps this would make relationships last longer.

There is another Chinese saying, 细水長流—“A thin stream flows for a long time”—also to describe an ideal relationship/friendship. For someone with such a sanguine temperament like me, this is a life-long lesson.