“He who knows contentment is rich” Lao Tzu

meditation labyrinthhiking Californiasunrise hike

Gems everywhere you see
Yet the blinds of envy and fear

Hide the nameless diamonds
Through the creases of illusions

Back then as now
The ancient sage knew

A true value of discernment

A clear vision to see free 
Is living with yourself in joy


I see,
My gem’s icing was polished by ages in the sea
Its cracks of wisdom, beauty marks of time,
Adventures in the memory of healing wounds


Scratching its surface – your face
I feel years, centuries of resistance
A sudden beauty swells from my heart
Caressing the pebble in my palms
Chosen from the myriad of others
The diamond I treasure the most

A reminder of this precious moment
For as long as the stone lasts


The lover that never leaves me

Even if it were all I have
The connection with nature
Its truth is rare
She is rich, we poor


Robbing her off her treasures
The wealth that endures
Storms – quakes – floods
Hundreds of lifespans
Mighty, she outlives

my and your ordeal.
I keep the pebbles

~ Joy

Lao Tzu‘s wisdom is timeless. The transforming ancient Chinese philosopher and poet revealed universal truths about humanity, nature, good governance and the ethics that can benefit us all. I keep returning to his tiny book – one of the greatest writings on virtue ever produced. In the West, Cicero et al. did virtue justice too. Tao Te Ching contains everyday guidance and inspiration in such density that any practical mind must appreciate it even more in today’s rushed world. This poem was inspired by random readings in Book One: “He who knows contentment is rich”, [33] …, and in Book Two the poems XLIV, XLV, XLVI (in the Penguin edition) stirred my creative heart.
philosophy and poetryMediterranean beach

Connected with nature, yet

Ever since I entered, free, the realm of nature as a child, I was attracted to and collected stones. My parents’ balcony towered with my precious, weighty gems, so at some point I was summoned to throw most of them out. Sad at first, yet I felt that I did not lose much. Once, we will meet again, I thought. I knew even then that these everywhere stones will not be probably picked up by someone else. Hoarding this literally priceless objects was my personal quirk. Unlike a stolen diamond though, I could find easily another pebble to please my eye and soften my naturist heart. Over the years, I kept bringing stones from my faraway travels to more than sixty countries. Now, in my own home, I have a piece of Tasmania, New Zealand, Uruguay, Colombia, Nepal, Hong Kong and almost any country or island (Andros, St Barths, …) that has rocks freely available on its land.

A souvenir from everywhere that once might had been on another place entirely. What they have in common though is that they are pieces of Earth (I don’t collect meteorites) and the symbolic oneness scattered across the world reminds me of us.

The human animal after all has a face, but it also has a soul, the psyche that can as much connect as alienate us from the other organic or inorganic beings.
This morning on the beach, just before a vile summer storm heiled ping pong balls on my bare head, I strolled in the clear waters of the Mediterranean sea. Freshening up my legs after an hour’s hike on the rocky French coast, I gazed through the salted glass of the sea, when a bright, clean pebble with a cake-like icing hues captivated me, so I picked it up. I loved the stone from the moment my fingers touched its smooth surface. Aware of its charm, once back on my beach blanket with a book, a wholly new, fascinating world opened itself for my curious eyes.

I started to see dozens of pebbles, tiny like a baby’s nail, some shaped like those face massage stones sold at beauty shops for more than $20, others weirdly irregular yet with that wabi beauty. Their potential as jewellery worn by anyone sold on their beauty, stroke me as an analogy of value. As the economists say — everything has the value (as with wine) that customers are willing to spend for it. I am glad that some stones are still available for free!