What comes to us is not for us to decide. Only what we do when it does with the time that is given us. There are forces we learn to follow or avoid; all we must do is what is given to us. As we acknowledge the paradox found with inward training guided by the universe verses living in the world with others present.
If we contemplate what this may mean, then where do our imagination and thoughts pull or take us? What can it mean if we do not release our ego along the way.
Looking inward to the stars and to the horizon we go where our beginnings lie for answers we have always known. Defining for ourselves what it means becomes almost mystical. This universal continuum we awaken to shows the way forward as simple virtue that speaks to us. Why returning to nature serves to clear away the clutter so we can act without thought, with spontaneity. Spontaneity that becomes us as if inward meditation that expresses our universal appeal.
To do without thinking and to act with virtue without concern for the outcome. A purposeless Zen experience with recognizable conclusions acting on a premise as though everything is the Tao.
Consequences that may be applied to any conceivable human activity that leads to a certain quality of life, eliminating what is blocking us and going ahead without hesitation.
For more in-depth study I recommend reading Alan Watts – The Way of Zen. We read as though we are on a journey opening doors to wisdom and understanding ourselves. We ask what opens the door to greater understanding of the true meaning of our journey, when friends we encounter along the way are ready to assist in taking us there. Watts is someone who readily acts as a guide through his writing.
There is an ancient term in China that refers to wu wei as the way to live. The answer lies in what takes us there when our mind, body and spirit are free as both internal and external are blended into unity.
We find this wu wei when we follow our inherent, for lack of a better word, self, and go where it takes us. When we identify with the needs of all things found in nature, not simply ourselves. How we often arrive at decisions spontaneously and know we must lose attachments that clutter or act as a crutch to the universal flow of spirit. We learn to only listen and follow what contributes to what is eternal where we do no harm to ourselves or others as we embrace both compassion and sincerity.
For each of us, there is a decision to make. What is it we do when we have a choice to make? Do we do those things that clear our minds as if we are following a master plan, or road map, which will take us there without needing one. Do we stop along the way at places that distract us from our destination, like watching the TV show Wheel of Fortune, or do we keep going to the place beyond the horizon?
In the end, most are happy to be lost along the wayside, with only a few willing to look beyond the present and go there, or the wheel of the sutra that gives us eternal guidance. It no longer becomes necessary to concern yourself with the next step, because you’ve already taken it.
The key is to act as if you are living beyond the present as you have arrived. Being present means you have assessed what is here to take with you in a selfless matter, versus what you leave behind as a teacher for others. I have even heard it expressed that we should “fake it until we make it” (a phrase that has multiple meanings) as our mind takes on its own natural inclination. Taking the next step learning that “it’s not where we are, but who we are” that matters. As we know where the outcome will take us, the only thing in question is the time of our arrival. With some simply coming home for return engagements.
Why the focus on living in wu wei becomes important. This idea of self-introspection becomes essential to our growth and not becoming too caught up in the present verses appreciating our eternal presence along the way. As a student of the Tao (referred to by many as the Dao), it helps to demystify and impersonalize the meaning of virtue.
That all things found in nature are sacred. Why do we keep returning to those things that take us there with the belief and hope that upon seeing them we too may acknowledge our own sacredness as well.
Why Eastern thought and philosophy are so homogeneous, looking to both Buddhism and Taoism like a prism that allows many looks and angles to follow all leading back to one source.
The path, or way, is not difficult once you can see yourself both in, and as the light. It is here that the way becomes clear, and we can begin to see that it is not only for us to decide. Often, we must be shown the way out of the darkness that resides within us, by and through the light that resides there as well. It is when our light catches the reflection of that which is eternal, often from a kindred spirit, we will choose to follow.
So, we set the stage for our next encounter not knowing when it will arrive, only living in the meantime beyond the present. When someone asks what it means to live in the present, it means you are ready when the right outcome arrives.