Monday, October 10, 2016
Tao Te Ching – Chapter 7
This chapter is so simple, yet profound. In it, we see the connection between the nature of the universe and our own existence.
Heaven is eternal; earth is enduring
This first line complements the first line of Chapter 6: valley spirit never dies. And it continues the images we are accumulating of the mysterious essence of Tao – empty, inexhaustible, receptive, fertile, impartial, transcendent.
This chapter, however, offers more explanation.
The reason heaven and earth are eternal and enduring
Is because they don’t exist or live for themselves
This last line can also be translated as they don’t create themselves, or are unborn – an interesting concept. With all these interpretations, there is a sense of serene infinity and harmonious existence.
The next part shifts from the universe to the individual.
Thus the sage stays behind yet is ahead
Is unattached to self yet is ever present
Without self bias or focus
Self realization can be attained
Although the origins of the Tao Te Ching are centuries before Jesus, there are unmistakable similarities in the teaching. Jesus said the last will be first, and the first will be last. He also said that those who seek to save their life will lose it, yet those who lose their life for him will find it.
This is not a teaching of self sacrifice and denial as much as it is a teaching of liberation and transcendence. Of awakening. Of coming home. The price of the ticket, from the ego’s perspective, is everything, which is what makes it seem so scary. But when we arrive, we realize that what we thought was everything was nothing at all. The ticket is free because all we give up is illusion.
Regardless of your faith beliefs and orientation, there is a universality to these teachings reflected in wisdom traditions from all corners of the globe. It’s beautiful.
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God. ~A Course in Miracles