Monday, July 31, 2017
Tao Te Ching – Chapter 29
Efforts to interfere with the natural rhythm of the universe
Will not succeed
I am a control addict in recovery, or at least making progress. I long ago realized that I can’t control anything outside myself – the weather, kittens, how other people drive, and so on. Not only did I discover that is it a relief to abandon futile efforts to control what I can’t control, but even better, I came to appreciate the innate beauty and rhythm and perfection of the world left pristine.
The world is a sacred vessel
That cannot be controlled
If you tamper with it you will destroy it
If you grasp it you will lose it
The parallels to our world environmental crises are obvious, but it applies just as well to our inner environment. The self help industry is about creating healthier, happier egos. And that’s fine. My own 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place blog and book were part of that effort. And certainly a happy ego is better than a miserable one.
But that ego self is what blocks our awareness of our true nature as a sacred vessel of universal light and love. That doesn’t make the ego bad. It just recognizes the ego as limited and limiting. The ego doesn’t so much destroy our true nature as much as it prevents our experience of it, an ephemeral experience that cannot be held static, but must be allowed to flow from moment to moment.
In that sense, the last two lines above can also be interpreted as:
Your attempt to tamper will fail
Your attempt to grasp will miss
When we allow ourselves and our world to move freely, the natural movement of yin yang swirls in perfect balance.
So sometimes things are ahead, sometimes behind
Sometimes gentle, sometimes forceful
Sometimes strong, sometimes weak
Sometimes up, sometimes down
Therefore the sage avoids extremes, excess, and extravagance
The middle road is the way of no way, not directing, not controlling, not judging, not dominating. It is the way of allowing, flowing, being present, responding appropriately, being in harmony. It manifests as kindness, simplicity, humility, joy, compassion, gratitude, peace.
This closing quote says it all. And I can attest from personal experience that it is absolutely true. When I am not at peace, then I can be sure that I am trying to control something I can’t control, that I’m wanting reality to be something other than what it is. My efforts will fail, and in the process I will lose my awareness of the beauty and sacred perfection of, well, everything.
For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe. ~Larry Eisenberg