I often have the feeling that the world is busy catching up with me, or is it me catching up with the world? Not from ego or that my path seems brighter or more direct that others, but purposeful. That my circle of thought and energy always returns to origins again. My origins. Standing apart from others with impermanence and change ever-present with the status quo never appealing or sufficient.
Looking for balance in catching my breath – I am carried away with the wind to re-join old friends again. Always to be found in the present as if traveling two inches off the ground. An unevenness and your cane found again to be simply seen as a reminder.
I keep thinking about traveling in China and not having a traveling companion, except as what others may call imagination. In meditation, I often find myself rising out of my seat a hundred feet in the air and going there. Traveling to places I’ve been and seen before. As I write from thoughts that seem to come from vibrations only waiting to be heard again.
Your traveling companions often not intended as someone in the present. You travel as if unattended through time, but resting assured that you are being upheld. Living the life, as referred to before that you are meant to become – natural and unafraid.
Gentle with never a harsh word letting patience be your guide as both your virtue and voice. As if you are in no rush because you have already arrived. Again, letting patience have its way with your virtue. Letting acts of patience be illustrated by your kindness towards others. Always nudged and reminded that there can be no rush found inside yourself that you already possess. Not allowing weakness or strength to cloud your virtue. Finding what makes you happy wholly within yourself. Become the companion you want to be and this person will always be present. Letting your own happiness be the sunshine that brightens every day.
You find yourself again in the cosmos of thought, an awareness that fits the flow of innate life destiny. You look to words like suchness that will define life’s meaning and want to go there. To what stabilizes us inwardly so that we can match what others may view outwardly that defines us. A seeming transformation befitting who we have always been becomes illuminated. Self-worth becomes self-apparent as we too come to mirror the Tao as if sages.
With this we can turn the page looking again to the Tao Te Ching and Taoism and our mentor Lao Tzu looking to thoughts that those who follow the Tao do not strive, tamper, or seek to control their own lives.
Verse 64 – Finding everything too Easy
It’s not Working Qingdao TianHou Palace Temple
He acts without really acting, thereby not exhausting himself and tastes without really tasting the true meaning of the Tao through meditation. He goes forth knowing that rather we are great or small, many or few it is important to repay any slight or wrong with virtue. What the world considers hard the sage considers easy. Just as what the world considers easy the sage considers hard. How can that be so?
If one can plan for the hard when it is easy and work on the great when it is small, the hardest task in the world becomes easy. The greatest goal in the world begins, or becomes small.
Because the sage never acts, he achieves great things. He responds to others knowing instinctively that he who quickly agrees is seldom trusted and those who make it all look easy finds the way hard. Therefore, the sage travels in virtue making everything appear hard, while he himself finds nothing hard.
Achieving great things TianHou Palace Temple
The sage thrives by staying beyond description. Standing clear of antagonism – to be the first to leave when contention appears and the first to stay when love arrives. Make your own perceived weaknesses your greatest strengths. Become the person others are looking to that soothes away fear and anger. Perhaps this Buddhist inclination is a signal to let go of self and that you are to stay within the light of your own higher consciousness or enlightenment.
Leshan Giant Buddha south of Chengdu
To become a Buddha as they say, change yourself first – then change the world as Gandhi tells us. Become or emulate the world the universe is counting on or looking to. Surround yourself with love and be happy with what you already have. Exemplify the person that you want the world to become by acknowledging the lasting abundance you already possess.
Bring others to their highest endeavors, or selves – without judgment becoming the mentor they need. Be the companion they should have knowing selflessness, not one’s ego is what survives. Live solely within the virtue that defines you. Enlightenment is the process of self-change leaving behind traits not in keeping with who you are ultimately to become. If you come back to experience them – then use them to lose them.
Let virtue define you. It is not an either/or…You know the path you are to follow. Just do it, leaving no one behind. Leave no one behind – not your family – not your students – not your friends – and not those waiting to be your friends. Become the road map for others to find the way for and within themselves. There is no choice to make. Live the choice you have become regardless of where you are. There is no paradox, only the paradigm you have chosen to follow.
If we want others to see beyond what they see as weaknesses in us – then we must first be able to see beyond what we perceive as the weakness we see in others. As we grow and mature, gaining wisdom and insight along the way – we must bring them along with us. Remember your own virtue is tied to having patience for others while the world is catching up with you. (written June 2017 in Shanghai before returning to USA).
Another chapter (verse), of the Tao Te Ching I find intriguing is Verse 55 just as with the ancient Wang P’ang stressing in 1070AD that “The nature of virtue is lasting abundance”. In my own version I would add:
Verse 55 – Gaining a firm Grip on lasting Abundance
The Extension Chongqing Museum
How can we be full of breath, yet not know how to make our breath endure? If our essence remains within us, why does our virility stand in the way? When you become simply an extension of the Tao, you go as if mindless through your endeavors.
Without a mind, you have no thoughts or desires. You proceed fearless unaware of what may harm you or that you could possibly harm another.
Once you become aware that you are a part of something bigger than yourself and have a firm grip on the direction you must take, only then can you begin to focus your mind and cultivate the Tao. When your mind does not stray and a certain serenity surrounds you, then your breath can become balanced.
Endurance Chongqing Museum
The sage focuses on his breath because when it becomes balanced his essence is stable, his spirit serene and his true nature is restored.
Controlling his breath he endures and finds his true nature. Understanding his true nature he is able to impart wisdom to others. He becomes unconcerned and extending his life as his spirit is uncluttered and has already rediscovered its place in what has been what may occur now and where he will spend eternity. The sage has no fear of death because he knows his essence, or spirit, remains eternal.
With no thoughts or desires Images of the Han Confucius Mansion Qufu
It always comes back to what we are doing to emulate “the Virtue of Heaven” and acknowledging that there is no separate self.
With Taoism always seeming 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 twenty-one and twenty two of twenty-six are as follows:
Nei-yeh – Inward Training
Ringing the bell – Buddhist Temple in Chongching
These two combine to make a person.
When they are in harmony there is vitality;
when they are not in harmony there is no vitality. If we examine the Way of harmonizing them, its essentials are not visible,
its signs are not numerous.
Just let a balanced and aligned breathing fill your chest
and it will swirl and blend with your mind,
this confers longevity.
When joy and anger are not limited,
you should make a plan to limit them.
Restrict the five sense-desires;
cast away these dual misfortunes.
Be not joyous, be not angry,
just let a balanced and aligned breathing fill your chest.
As for the vitality of all human beings:
Tortoise and Rites Qingyang Temple Chengdu
Therefore, to bring your anger to a halt, there is nothing better than poetry;
to cast off worry there is nothing better than music;
to limit music there is nothing better than rites;
to hold onto the rites there is nothing better than reverence;
to hold onto reverence there is nothing better than tranquility.
When you are inwardly tranquil and outwardly reverent
you are able to return to your innate nature
and this nature will become greatly stable.
One of the greatest Buddhist writers I like to celebrate who lived during the Ming dynasty was Te Ch’ing. While a follower of Pure Land Buddhism, he exemplified how Buddhism and Taoism fit so well together with his commentaries on Lao and Chuang Tzu. His commentary on Verse 55 described above of the Tao Te Ching is as follows:
Te Ch’ing told us “Those who cultivate the Tao should first focus their minds. When the mind doesn’t stray it becomes calm, breath becomes balanced. When breath becomes balanced, essence becomes stable, spirit becomes serene, and our true nature is restored. Once we know how to breathe, we know how to endure. And once we know how to endure, we know our true nature. If we don’t know our true nature but only know how to nourish our body and lengthen our lives, we end up harming or body and destroying our lives. A restless mind disturbs the breath. When the breath is disturbed, the essence weakens. And when the essence weakens, the body withers.”