Posts Tagged ‘Morality’

Over the last couple weeks I have been confronted with my own mortality. This has become a crippling fear which is overwhelming me. It all started from reading my Sports Illustrated. In the beginning they have these small little blurbs, and I begun to notice there were many people who were dying of cancer at a relatively young age. I am not talking as young as say twenty-five; I am saying these guys were dropping dead in their fifties or sixties. This concept has been eating away at me. I think that I may only have twenty to thirty years left to live, and my first thirty-one years have gone by in a heart beat. I smoke and chew so my time may be even sooner than that. So this has been bothering me, but what really set me off was a response I received from one of my Facebook status messages. It was from my cousin reminiscing about our youth. I sat back and realized this time, and it seemed like just yesterday. Yuk! I am festering with fear right at this very moment.

This comment has been hanging over my head like a dark rain cloud. I remember going to see my grandparents over the weekend with my dad. Their place is as clear in my mind as if I just saw it yesterday. I remember catching salamanders and snakes, and exploring their gigantic garage, which seemed to have a little bit of everything in it. I remember picking raspberries and exploring the massive woods around their property. These memories are so fresh in my mind yet were over twenty years ago. In sitting here I can bring up emotions and feelings I had during this time, and the thought I will never experience them again terrifies me. I will never again know and feel what it is like to be six or even thirteen years old. I am stuck in the age that I am in, and at times I feel like a prisoner inside of myself.

It is amazing how fast time goes, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Tomorrow will come regardless if we want it to or not. One guarantee in life is every year you are moving closer to death. I end up focusing on this very fact and it blinds me from seeing today. There will never be another day like today. It will slip away from you if you do not siege the present moment. If I am unable to be completely present in what is going on right at this moment then I am cheating myself out of yet another day. If I continue to fear my own mortality before I know it I will soon be confronted with it. The last thing I want is to look back during my dying breath and realize I lost so much time worrying about this very moment.

I really do not want to die, I mean who does. There are times when life is at its worst when I dream of being released from my torture, but these times have grown to be few and far between. I am so afraid of the concept of never having another thought. I fear being lowered into the ground and in time forgotten. When you think of the millions upon millions who have died in the last twenty years how many of them do you think are truly remembered? I know I never think of my great grandparents and I have zero memories of their lives. They have been forgotten and yet life still moves on. Time does not care about anything and is as cruel as the devil himself. It can never be conquered. Even the mightiest armies will fall to father time, if this is so then what chance do I have?

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Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom

and it will be a hundred times better for everyone.

Throw away morality and justice

and the people will do the right thing.

Throw away industry and profit

and there will be no thieves

All of these things are outward forms alone;

They are not sufficient in themselves.

It is more important

to see the simplicity,

to realize one’s true nature,

to cast off selfishness

and temper desire.

Lao-tzu

This was a tough verse for me to fully grasp. I am aware that the concepts within this verse are much the same as in verse 18. If is as if I forgot the lessons learned and just spun my mental wheel because I was continually stuck on the first six lines. Lao-tzu was asking me to give up some of the very lessons the Tao has been teaching me. This was really throwing me off guard. I grew frustrated focusing all my energy on discovering the meaning of these six lines. I became blinded by them; causing me to ignore the remainder of this verse. The one aspect I was able to get and have always gotten is the benefit of throwing away industry and profit. In my opinion these two things have become a cancer on our society.

After meditating on this subject several times; I was urged to look at my interpretation of the 18th verse, then completely skip the first six lines all together and focus on the remainder of the verse. I went back and read my post on the 18th verse, and the next few times I read this verse; I was finally able to see some clarity. I focused on the main lesson I learned from the previous verse and focused on how the Tao tells us to not act virtuous but to be virtuous. Armed with this mode of thinking, the remainder of this verse seemed to fall into perspective. I was finally able to understand how these six lines played into the greater picture.

Starting out reading the seventh and eighth lines made the previous six lines make more sense. Lao-tzu was saying education, morality, and business are “outward forms” and “were not sufficient in themselves.” Lao-tzu was not asking me to throw these things out, he was saying I should not just seek out sainthood and act as how I view a saint should act. I should be saintly in all my endeavors. He was not renouncing the importance of wisdom; he was asking me to renounce my complex societal interpretation of what constitutes wisdom. He was not asking me to throw my morals and concept of justice out the window, he was asking me to not let these “laws” define how I act, but how I act should be in a manner that is inline with the Tao. He was asking me to see the simplicity of these things and tap into my true inner self, the self that is one with the Tao. If I am able to properly tap into and become one with this true inner self then I will go beyond these “outward forms.”

We need to find the true simplicity and our own inner nature; then we will become the saint we not only wanted to be, but one that is inline with the eternal Tao. Lao-tzu does not want us to be without wisdom. He warns us against seeking wisdom for wisdoms sake. Going to college, just because it is what we are suppose to do is not obtaining true wisdom. You may hold in your hand a fancy diploma from a top notch university, but this does not mean you automatically possess knowledge or wisdom. You may just end up possessing a $150K piece of paper. The simplest man living on the streets could very well be wiser, because he has within him discovered his true nature, and learned the valuable lesson of not complicating life.    

Perhaps in our search for wisdom, our desire for money, and our thought on societal obligations of morality we have some how complicated these simple things. A truth is a truth until you organize it, and then it becomes a lie. Why? Because the purpose of the organization begin to take precedence over that which it first attempted to keep in order. I think Lao-tzu is telling us we place too much attachment on these things. We hold these things in too high of regard in our lives. We blindly and selfishly desire to obtain these labels, until the labels become what we seek, not what is behind them. We begin to think these things define us as human beings; instead of being human beings that describe our labels.  

We all have a piece of God in each and every one of us, and becoming one with this part allows us to live everyday as being one with the Tao. This way of living will be “a hundred times greater for everyone” because we are living as a divine being. We look beyond these labels and become better than what we previously thought of. Our inner piece of God wants us to care for our fellow man. He wants us to obtain wisdom. He wants us to live with infinite kindness. He wants us to live within and become one with the eternal Tao. Now as for the industry and profit…well, I think he really wants us to throw them away.