Winnie the Pooh and the road to Nirvana

The other day I posted a quote in Facebook from a rather uncommon character: Winnie the Pooh, which said “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” It was mentioned in the—back then—incoming movie, and it was liked by my friends by the obvious comical connotation, but truth is, I shared it because of the no than obvious meaning implying that the—most of the times regarded as—naive and slow-witted bear who “has no brain,” might indeed, hide the elevated consciousness of a true Zen master.

The newest Disney’s adaptation of the famous bear Winnie the Pooh is now in theatres worldwide. Christopher Robin tells the story of a grow-up Christopher Robin who left behind his magical childhood in the Hundred Acre Wood to deal with an adult crisis, almost entirely forgetting about Winnie the Pooh and his friends.

The main objective of the movie is obviously to cash on the nostalgia of the fans like me, who had followed the bear through multiple adventures spanning nearly a century from his creation back in 1926.

Even when most of the fans were drawn by the simplistic but charming characters, in my case, I stayed for the highly elevated meaning beneath the simple plot.

Many people has addressed in the past the psychological complexity of the characters, each one representing different mental disorders, but I want to address the philosophical and transcending elements displayed by Winnie the Pooh.

For example, in the quote I mentioned earlier, “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day,” I want to address “nothing is impossible,” and make you have a second thought of how complicate is to do nothing. And I’m no referring to slacking, since swinging our foot hanging from our bed, is doing something.

Even more important is thinking. Whoever has tried to meditate will understand how difficult it’s to silence the mind and focus in a particular sensation, because that’s the basic nature of our mind, which pulls us into an endless stream of thoughts. This state of mindfulness popularized from Vipassana meditation (used by Buddha to reach Nirvana) is regarded as a high state of mind that helps us to transform our consciousness. To cut our thinking process and be able to observe our sensations without hooking in the stream of thoughts is quite a challenge due our minds addicted to stimuli.

But somehow, this is not a challenge to Winnie the Pooh, who understand very well how to be aware of his sensations (usually his tummy), staying always in present moment (today, his favorite day), and understands the relativeness of time (for him, yesterday is tomorrow).

As the avid poet (usually hums) of the Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh always find a creative way to get out of trouble by looking outside the box, changing paradigms, always observing in his interior for the true meaning of the reality he perceives. Even regarded as naive and slow-witted, he doesn’t question reality; he accepts it as it is.

Living a modest life at the woods, Winnie the Pooh might help us learn valuable lessons for our life, but like all Zen masters, only if we are capable of observe and uncover the hidden meanings of reality. Or as Pooh better summarized it “Think it over, think it under.”

So, next time you look to Winnie the Pooh, look at him with the respect of a master, who can help you to find yourself amid this forest of stimuli we call reality.

“I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.”

M. Ch. Landa

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