Following in the footsteps of Lao, Chuang, and Lieh Tzu. Lao Tzu’s family is said to have come from an area of China where a grandson of the Yellow Emperor resided, representing the shaman’s beginnings. Lao Tzu’s given name was Li Erh referring to one with wisdom.
Today, June 6th, is a good day to celebrate with what is called the “strawberry moon” above us.
Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching teaches us to live as if we are under a new moon, at Heaven’s Gate. The place of a new beginning. Someone starting on a trip – free to move in any direction as if across the sky. Universal in nature – empty yet inexhaustible. Never dying. Waxing and waning we follow phases of the moon never quite full of ourselves. We are to become like a beacon of light that shines but never blinds… immortal.
We submit to the cycle of change. To the symbol of change, the I Ching, both light and darkness as we make something out of nothing, we string together images of our breath and spirit as we come and go. Leaving our minds to praise something we cannot name, much less imagine. We are to approach this by our virtue, our moral character. As the doorway we use as the power to act with what we are to cultivate.
How did the ancients know to follow cycles of the moon and the seasons? They followed by charting the stars as they revolved around them creating a calendar to anticipate what would appear through the seasons. Within the stars were dragons. Universal messages to live by. Over the centuries through observation this would become the I Ching and a study of light verses dark with the past always catching up with the present. Some would later call this karma. It begins with the differentiation of light and dark – the sun and moon.
They discovered that they were a part of the seasons as they changed just like all things found in nature, giving reasons to celebrate. Man, and women were not separate entities but were a part of what was to become known as the ten thousand things. The phases of the moon coinciding with natural phenomena and events. With this they were universal, not separate from what they found becoming a benchmark with responsibilities to both heaven and earth.
This respect for all things found in nature and themselves would become known as a virtue. A manifestation that would become known as the Tao, or Way of Heaven and to live as though you have already arrived. In all things found in nature this way is what virtue contains and without virtue the Way would make no appearances or have no power.
Virtue was to be seen as the Tao at work. Action that requires no moral code beyond self. No self no other – with any action simply coming in and of itself we are to become one with nature, inheritors, cast off the stars above, and universe. This was to be called wu wei. We are to remember that life is what we pay attention to. Think about that for a moment; it is such a simple idea, but it is so true. It is both inspirational and empowering because it implies that we have it within our control to determine what our lives are like. How we create and live our highest aspirations as we learn to live by authenticity not authority.
In referencing the I Ching we look to yin and yang – light and dark, cause and effect, and complimentary opposites.
The dark becoming the body, or essence of the Tao. or Way, and Te, the light, the function of spirit as virtue.
With this we see our origin is from Tao, our universal beginnings and as we live Te comes forth. The dark gives the light a place to shine. This light enables us to see and illuminate the dark. It becomes yin verses yang – light verses dark as they complement each other.
Undeterred, people chasing the light hastens destruction, in contrast to choosing the dark where understanding less is more, following weakness instead of strength – inaction versus action. With this as our beacon, the light becomes us. This is what becomes the essence, or core, of Lao Tzu’s teachings of what was the be known as the Tao Te Ching. In China, Lao Tzu and Confucius became the spiritual heirs together.
With Lao emphasizing the yin and Confucius the yang aspects of the Way of Heaven we follow with the ancient axiom that you can’t shape the future without knowing your past. As if there is a river running through your soul.