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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Learn from Chumbawamba

Here are some lyrics from a song by those sages, Chumbawamba:

I get knocked down

But I get up again

You're never going to keep me down

Okay, the rest of the song isn't that useful for our purposes (I don't advocate "Pissing the night away," for example...)

But still...

When I was a kid, I had an inflatable, round-bottomed clown named "Bobo." He was about as tall as me, and had a weight in the bottom, so when you hit him, he stood right back up.

Fast forward to life in Japan three-decades-plus later, where I met the character "Daruma-san." This is a small, gourd-shaped figure with big eyes, representing the Zen patriarch Bodhidharma. He behaved just like Bobo, but with a point: Bodhidharma was said to have sat in front of a wall meditating for nine years, until his arms and legs atrophied--disturbingly like the "Daruma" doll portrayed with neither arms nor legs.

The point of Bodhidharma's nine years of meditation, and Bobo and Daruma popping back up every time they’re knocked over, and the Chumbawamba lyric?

Perseverance. Never give up. As the Japanese say, "Fall down seven times, get up eight."

You'll be happier.

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