He who dies but perishes not enjoys true longevity. – Lao Tzu #33
What does it mean to leave behind a legacy? This question comes up every now and again, and reviewing this seventeenth lesson of Ruby’s brought it up again because he talks about legacy in this lesson. I consider it to be a bit of an iconic lesson because one of the things he said in this lesson made its way into the tribute video for his memorial.
Ruby was talking about the fact that we are still reading and interacting with Lao Tzu’s words, some 3000 years after he wrote them. Because of this, Lao Tzu (whoever he was) still lives. The same is true of the authors of all the great works that we read. Most of us, however, aren’t going to leave behind a legacy that is so grand in scale.
That doesn’t mean that we pass into nothingness, though. Each and every one of us will leave something behind that lingers after our passing. For many of us, it may will be another generation. For some of us, it will not be. But we are not devoid of legacy if we don’t have children. We can each do something that leaves our little corner of the universe a better place for our having been in it.
Ruby told us that that’s why he taught. He said that he wants to say some little tidbit to each of us that clicks, that makes sense to us, that makes us say “I get that”. And we will then share it with someone who will share it with someone who will share it with someone…. And Ruby will never die.
It’s true. Ruby has been gone from this world since 2006. And here it is, in 2018, and I’m writing about his teachings. He still lives, because I am interacting with what he left behind. And anyone reading this is helping him to continue to live on.
We can all do this. We can all share a kind word with someone who really needs it. Or do a kind deed for someone who really needs it. And that kind word or deed may lead them to then do something similar for someone else. Who may then do something similar for someone else. And on and on. And through that, our kindness will live on after we are gone. And, for our having been here, our little corner of the universe will be a kinder place. Not a bad legacy, if you ask me.