Master Shaku Soen liked to take an evening stroll through a nearby village. One day he heard loud lamentations from a house and, on entering quietly, realized that the householder had died and the family and neighbors were crying. He sat down and cried with them. An old man noticed him and remarked, rather shaken on seeing the famous master crying with them, "I would have thought that you at least were beyond such things." "But it is this which puts me beyond it," replied the master with a sob.
The mistake we make is to turn upon our past with angry wholesale negation. … The way of wisdom is to treat it airily, lightly, wantonly, and in a spirit of poetry; and above all to use its symbols, which are its spiritual essence, giving them a new connotation, a fresh meaning.
There often seems to be a playfulness to wise people, as if either their equanimity has as its source this playfulness or the playfulness flows from the equanimity; and they can persuade other people who are in a state of agitation to calm down and manage a smile.