This man is a grandfather who is often standing outside of his restaurant not too far from the apartment. I see other members of the family usually sitting inside the restaurant during the slow hours between meals when the university students are busy with classes. Obviously, he is Muslim and his restaurant offers the typical Muslim meals that are wallet friendly for university students. The main staple is noodle soup, chicken or vegetable stock, no pork.
He is who he is. Each time I see him he appears to be comfortable with himself, accepting who he is, where he is, and how he is. This seems to be a common thing here in China. It is as though there is less agitation to be someone else, somewhere else. There is a sense of peace, acceptance and even harmony. I would not describe this as “settling” for less that what one could be or should be. Rather, a calm realisation that regardless of situation, one is left with accepting who one is.
And in seeing this, sensing this in those who are around me here in China, I find that I am in the same state of being – I am comfortable with myself, with my self.
“When a man can say of his states and actions, ‘As I am, so I act,’ he can be at one with himself, even though it be difficult, and he can accept responsibility for himself, even though he struggle against it. We must recognize that nothing is more difficult to bear with than oneself. (‘You sought the heaviest burden, and found yourself,’ says Nietzsche.) Yet even this most difficult of achievements becomes possible if we can distinguish ourselves from the unconscious contents. (Jung, C.W. 7, paragraph 373)