The Way and the secret are hidden in legacy. As our own legacy calls us. Can there such a thing that defines our purpose? Are we more than where the present finds us? Are we just floating through time without a higher purpose, or is there something about mysterious undertakings we are here to follow? Can there be a transformation awaiting us as our ultimate endeavor and destiny. Should thoughts of clarity and stillness serve to rectify, or remedy, our hesitation to move beyond the clouds as our ultimate destination. Is our ultimate obligation to protect nature and our environment as the rectification of the world? How can this not be so? It is in understanding the underpinnings of the Tao, that our way becomes clear with the wisdom to acknowledge that our motivation conditions our thinking, or cognition. While our words simply convey breath and spirit.
Just as the teachings of the sage are meant to instill pure harmony, teach, and reform. With traits meant to set the benchmark for others to follow. We should acknowledge that all things come into this world to create perfection. That it is in this way, our origins come to the forefront. As described earlier, it is as if in descending through this we are here to be made whole.
The three entries below are from my unpublished manuscript “My travels with Lieh Tzu”.
Falling away or giving way
Imperceptible shifting of time within the elements. Things forever shrinking and swelling, maturing and decaying, being born and forever dying all the same.
Always present in the end. Never aware of changes at the onset or the results sure to come. Our essence taking shape as we live always changing. From birth to death our features, knowledge and bearing differing as we are but a mirror moving through time.
Always growing as we fall away. Never knowing the intervals. Only waiting for the results sure to come. How else can we ever know? 1/11/1995
Not some pie in the sky thing that is outside of ourselves. A wise man once said that we should talk about our dreams not our troubles. It is the connection from within with that which seemingly lies beyond us. One of my favorites saying is “that the only barrier we may have is self-imposed” – as we may have decided that things must be a certain way where the outcome fits who I am and what I believe. There are times that I think that I’m here this time only to learn patience. Just to stay on the path and it will come to light when I’m ready. It’s that illumination and radiance thing that fills and activates our divinity from within.
While the universe is in continual change, we seem to think it stops just for us. Nature teaches that when we live outside the natural order of things, it is us who do not last. Things either adapt with change or begin to die. Its what Confucius taught more than twenty-five hundred years ago. That we are here to relate to and with our environment with benevolence and virtue – not create… as all we need is already here within us and found in nature. Again – humans – i.e., we – are only one of the ten thousand things. There is no lack and limitation in nature, only what adapts to change that goes forward. Are we on an eternal glide path focused on our highest endeavor, or are we stuck with what is meaningless and mundane that we attach to along the way?
Sometimes when I think of the compatibility between Taoism of Buddhism, I recall the Buddhist term, prajna that is in reference to spiritual insight and wisdom relating to the true nature of existence. Namely thoughts of suffering based on desire, impermanence, and no-self. Just as with Daoism, we must first learn to follow our inner nature and virtue, respect complimentary opposites, and acknowledge boundaries.
Everything remaining Perfect
Have no fear of the end of heaven and earth. Thereby lacking a place to rest or that you forget to eat or sleep. Heaven nothing more than the air around us. Where is there that there is no air? Your own weight in it allows you to walk and stand tall breathing in through lungs filled only with it. Always breathing in and out as your inner chi or essence makes itself known to dragons.
The earth nothing more than the soil and water that sustains us. Filling and giving shape to the place we only temporarily call home. As we walk and stand tall with feet forever attached to it. Always letting the earth be the ultimate messenger of nature’s way.
What can the air be but the rainbow, clouds and mist, wind and rain and the four seasons? Simply heaven at its purest. What can soil be but mountains and hills, rivers and seas, metal and stone, fire and wood? The essence of earth at its fullest. How can there ever be an end to it? As all things have beginnings and endings what will happen must happen. Endings always ending bringing new beginnings that simply begin again.
Fearing the worst will happen is not as it should be. What can eternity be but the innate sense that heaven and earth are simply the same only in different forms for different reasons? Things just taking shape in the end. Have no concern for final outcomes and know peace. Simply rest easy and eat and drink from the cup that living brings you. With everything remaining perfect to the end. 1/13/1995
How is it we are to severe ties with appearances? There are times on our journey that our best friend is stillness and loneliness. That we should not wait for others to understand us. None of them will understand you. They cannot see the horizon inside you. Bravery is equal to making everyone a part of your dreams. Bravery is telling everyone your dream. Do not feel hopelessness, as others come to find comfort in your shadow. The sage learns to be steady as a rock.
When I first began writing, the two prevailing thoughts that pervaded my thinking were endeavor and destiny. How that applied to me, who I am, and how I was to amplify this that would take me there. My writing was the signal that led me to the Tao, the Way of Virtue and thoughts of becoming a sage. As if going home to the place I had always known simply to be with old friends once again. It would be presumptuous to consider being a sage, as the sage is beyond human endeavor. A moniker given by others once we are gone that defined our merit while we are here. How is one deemed to be worthy of becoming a sage?
In what might be considered a metaphor by some, it was as if Lao, Chuang, and Lieh Tzu were always in the background waiting for me to come forward to claim who I have always been, but not yet ready to assert my own legacy. Until that fateful Christmas day in 1993 when hearing the words “it is through you Dan, we speak”. I have been listening and writing ever since that day. When the words come in my writing, I often have to smile and ask myself… where did that come from.
From the beginning, it was as if I was to be found dancing above the clouds with dragons. And I have been dancing ever since, never to be seen as one to live for appearances sake. Re-joining them has always been my ultimate endeavor and destiny. It is not enough to know what it means to have a legacy we are to follow. It is what we do when it becomes obvious we have one. It was never a case of denying it, it was always how I was to embrace and exemplify how to live so my writing would take me home in good stead.
Possessing the Way is like knowing the unknown, it cannot be done.
Being your body is not possible. As it is the possession of heaven and earth. Simple harmony granted a time to be spent in the world as you come to know it.
The ultimate – to be found dancing above the clouds on Huashan mountain… again.
Your nature and destiny not belonging to you. Only the course of events laid out only for you to follow. Constantly in ebb and flow. Belonging only to them. Everything everywhere simply belonging to them. Families and friends but a gift. Not in your possession, but heaven and earth casting off others only as they see fit.
Therefore, you travel without knowing where you go, stay without clinging and are made secure without knowing how. You are simply the breath of heaven and earth. Nothing more and nothing less. 1/14/1995
One of the keys to what is known as “Taoism”, is that man is considered as no better or worse than anything found in nature. We are simply one of the Ten Thousand Things. This is a concept that western civilization has difficulties with because of ideas of separation between man and all other things. That everything was placed here for the benefit of man.
Universal companions found in the I Ching
Therefore, all other things are here for “our purpose”, as prescribed by God. In Taoism there is no differentiation or thoughts of separation – special treatment beyond that given by nature that is here for all things. Most all Indigenous populations worldwide believe in nature’s ability to transmit universal evenhandedness.
Remember our discussion about clarity and turbidity. When we are no longer guided by appearances and truly observe the stillness of our thoughts, our heart-mind becomes realized. It is here that serenity and wisdom reside and the true sense of knowing reside. The key for us is acknowledging that the heart-mind is the pivot. For many, it is meditation and for some even deep breathing, we use as the method that clears the way for intention.
Daoism always seems to come back to someone referred to as Master Lao, the author of the Tao Te Ching. In my earlier entries here, I make reference to a second book attributed to Lao Tzu entitled the Nei-yeh – Inward Training. It’s contribution to Taoism has been as great or greater for those who see the Taoist path as essential to living a good life. It was written more than two thousand years ago. It can be found here on my website. The next two chapters, chapters seven and eight of twenty-six are as follows:
Nei-yeh – Inward Training
For the heavens, the ruling principle is to be aligned.
The sage Shaanxi Museum
For the earth, the ruling principle is to be level.
For human beings the ruling principle is to be tranquil.
Spring, autumn, winter and summer are the seasons of the heavens.
Mountains, hills, rivers, and valleys are the resources of the earth.
Pleasure and anger, accepting and rejecting are the devices of human beings.
Therefore, the sage:
Alters with the seasons but doesn’t transform,
shifts with things but doesn’t change places with them.
If you can be aligned and be tranquil, only then can you be stable.
With a stable mind at your core,
with the eyes and ears acute and clear,
and with the four limbs firm and fixed,
you can thereby make a lodging place for the vital essence.
The vital essence: it is the essence of the vital energy.
The water urn Sichuan Museum
When the vital energy is guided, it [the vital essence] is generated,
but when it is generated, there is thought,
when there is thought, there is knowledge,
but when there is knowledge, then you must stop.
Whenever the forms of the mind have excessive knowledge,
you lose your vitality.
What is it about knowledge that takes us away from the essence of virtue and wisdom? In the West, it was the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil and that apple… that got Adam and Eve and the snake that got them in so much trouble. Heavenly virtue verses what is to be found in the mundane world. It seems as though what we may deem as values can separate and pull us apart that keeps us from becoming universal in nature.
It is thoughts of what brings us into alignment and tranquility that interest me at the moment and what takes us there. How we rectify our thoughts without partiality. What does it mean to penetrate even transcend emptiness that reveals our original spirit? Why does going there have to be veiled as something/being mysterious? Why does banishing or leaving behind those things in the mundane world we become attached to so essential to our ultimate journey? Why do we allow out heart-mind to go there? It is often not knowing the right questions to ask that are as important as knowing the answers.
Most all traditions tell us we have a responsibility to bring the water of life to the ones who are thirsty for faith, to what lies within each of us that connects with and to the eternal. But we seem always to think there is but one way… the one we have found for ourselves. Becoming convinced that the one we have found should also serve as the way for all. While it too remains forever in refinement and change and impermanence. Leaving no tracks, it is as if our own legacy is meant to assist others find this within themselves.
I think it falls to illumination, virtue, even inner observation. What I like to call the vision of the Tao as a divine perception – an inner knowing. Moving beyond what may be called vexation that disturbs our mind, or impurities of consciousness. There is so much here and many directions to follow. My next entry will follow the teachings of Lao Tzu in my own commentary of the Tao Te Ching following the path of the sage as described in my book, “Thoughts on becoming a Sage, the Guidebook to leading a virtuous Life”.