Posts Tagged ‘Spirtituality’

Verse 23

To talk little is natural:

Fierce winds do not blow all morning;

a downpour of rain does not last all day.

Who does this? Heaven and earth.

But these are exaggerated, forced effects,

and that is why they cannot be sustained.

If heaven and earth cannot sustain a forced action,

how much less is man able to do?

Those who follow the Way

become one with the Way.

Those who follow goodness

Become one with goodness.

Those who stray from the Way and goodness

become one with failure.

If you conform to the Way

its powers flow through you.

Your actions become those of nature,

your ways those of heaven.

Open yourself to the Tao

and trust your natural responses…

Then everything will fall into place.

Lao-tzu

I have been reading this verse over and over again and doing nothing but spinning my wheels. I just kept trying to find the meaning and how to articulate it. Whenever I am stuck in life, or in my journey through the Tao I will consult my wife. If I read her a verse she immediately can point out the meaning as if she has known this stuff her entire life. My wife and my son are the two most enlightened Taoist I have ever known, and neither are Taoists. The amazing thing is how quick she picks up the meanings and does a wonderful job articulating that meaning to me. I am being honest with you when I say she should really be writing these things not me. When I read it to her she looked at me funny and said “how do you not get it?” She went on to say that this verse is a great lesson to be learned by me. After a brief talk my eyes were opened to a few things.

When I looked into the analogy of storms not lasting forever I think the message is no matter how hard life gets it is but a passing storm. When it talks about heaven and earth not being able to sustain a forced action I translated that to mean if Mother Nature cannot sustain a storm that lasts a lifetime, than neither can any of our troubles last forever. This is a comforting statement for me considering I have a penchant for dealing with dark storms. When my darkness comes my mantra I say over and over in my head is “this to shall pass.” I think this is part of what the message Lao-tzu was trying to get across.

My wife saw a different translation. She said that heaven and earth not being able to sustain a forced action (storm) means that man cannot sustain a forced life. In this she explained trying to force things that should just be let go and allowed to flow. She brings up my OCD and how because of my compulsions I try to force things to be a certain way and control my surroundings to ease my anxiety. She said that this type of lifestyle cannot be sustained because things are being forced, being forced is not natural and will eventually wear you and the world around you down, just as if it were to storm and blow fiercely for days on end, nothing could sustain that.. This can also be true in the sense of trying to always be in charge, always be right and always in control. These types of behaviors cannot last forever and indeed go against the very laws of nature.

Lao-tzu urges us to follow the Way and to follow goodness. How true is it that those who follow goodness become goodness!! Its simple, you are what you do, you follow negativity, negative will come, you are disrespectful, disrespect will come to you, you are self-centered, and you will be all by yourself. Life will always give back what you give to it. Living as nature does is how we are supposed to live. When troubles come bend not break, for after the storm you will be standing tall once again. Nature moves along naturally nothing is forced every action is as it is supposed to be. Every reaction is in line with the Way. I think conforming to the Way is probably one of the hardest steps. First when I see the word conform or what have you I immediately feel the urge to do the complete opposite. If we live as nature does, if we flow like a river, listen more and talk less the power of the Way flows through us and with us. When our actions are one with nature we are living a Tao centered life, and our ways transform into the ways of heaven.

I look at a current conundrum I am in. I had this great idea for a gift for my wife. My wife sacrifices everyday for our family and I cannot remember the last time she thought about her self first. So I had this great gift idea, but the problem comes where we may not have the money to get it. She chose to get gifts for others instead of the gift for herself. I get this, but I really think she deserves this gift and it is perfect in my mind. My ego wants to step in and control the situation and say “this is what we are going to do, okay great let’s get it done.” This forceful approach has done nothing but cause problems. I need to step back take a deep breath and just allow whatever was meant to happen will happen. If we have the money then the gift will come if we don’t then it wont. I need to be at peace with this situation regardless of the outcome, and let the natural order just happen. I am happy to report that I was able to get her gift and she loved it. Amazing how the Tao works.

If we are living a Tao centered life trusting our natural actions and reaction without ego-driven thought and actions then we are at one with nature. If we are one with nature and ultimately the Tao then everything will always fall into place. This is by far the most comforting piece for me. The knowledge that if I trust in a power greater than myself and follow the Taos lessons then everything will always fall into the exact place it is supposed to be.

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Give up learning and you will be free

from all your cares.

What is the difference between yes and no?

What is the difference between good and evil?

Must I fear what others fear?

Should I fear desolation

when there is abundance?

Should I fear darkness

when that light is shining everywhere?

In spring, some go to the park and climb the terrace,

but I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am.

Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile,

I am alone, without a place to go.

Most people have too much;

I alone seem to be missing something.

Mine is indeed the mind of an ignoramus

in its unadulterated simplicity.

I am but a guest in this world.

While others rush about to get things done,

I accept what is offered.

I alone seem foolish,

earning little, spending less.

Other people strive for fame;

I avoid the limelight,

preferring to be left alone.

Indeed, I seem like an idiot:

no mind, no worries.

I drift like a wave on the ocean.

I blow as aimless as the wind.

All men settle down in their grooves;

I alone am stubborn and remain outside.

But wherein I am most different from others is

in knowing to take sustenance from the great Mother!

Lao-tzu

One of the central themes behind most eastern religions is the concept of living in the moment, and live free from striving for more of this or that. It is about being content and being free from our lives of constant hustle and bustle. This verse discusses these issues. The 20th verse asks me to live a life free of striving not only for possessions, but for attachments to anything that doesn’t include the here and now such as what work am I going to get done tomorrow when it is only 11:00am today. I need to learn to slow down my demands for more, and slow down my anticipation to be somewhere else. I need to live in the moment. I need to enjoy each key stroke while my office fills with great music. I should take the time to stop for a moment and soak the process in not just hurrying to get the process done.

I need to not only be here in my body but I also must be here in my mind. I should achieve a state of appreciation of what is now with an absence of longing. Often times I write multiple posts in a day especially the days where I am in a mania state. The words just pour out at a rapid pace and I do everything I can to write them down as fast as I am thinking them. When I go to type them I am often times concerned about my next thought and not my current piece. This causes me to write poorly thought out posts. I am also consumed with this idea of completing my query letter to agents, and the what-ifs of me sending them out. This one thought cycles in my mind over and over again until it completely consumes me and the writing is all but stunted. This is also the case with my future readings plan. I cannot stop thinking about getting my business cards, buying my “reading” book, and what my set list is going to be. I am looking into what the future may be, completely neglecting the here and now. I need to release the what-ifs and all my goals for the future, and replace them with the power of this instant. Thinking of being someplace else uses up your precious present moments.

In my studying I have found that “being” here now is accomplished by adopting an acceptance of life as it is presented by the Great Mother. This is a hard concept for me because it requires me to have faith and surrender to a higher power above myself. Instead of trying to live a life of routines I should just allow this great all-creating, all nourishing source to take me where it will. I think with any religion surrendering is a key process into becoming religious; every religion is built on faith. This surrendering allows me to not fear desolation because the Tao is abundant. This surrendering allows me to not fear death because why should I fear the darkness when light is shining everywhere. I need to trust in the great source to provide me with what I need, as it has done for all beings.

The Tao teaches us to simplify our lives by not seeking another thing or striving to be somewhere or someone else. You’re no longer living inside yourself with a desire to be someone else. Am I totally missing out on the experience to becoming a published author by consistently striving to become said writer? I need to trade striving for arriving and enjoy the ride with all the good and bad things that may come my way. I think Lao-tzu is telling me to change how I see what’s here now in my life, for then it will become exactly what I need in order to BE happy. I don’t NEED another thing or accomplishment to be happy; it’s always being provided for me right here and right now. I need to be in the moment, and free myself of striving for something more or to become someone else.

I need to let go of my daily demands, along with my beliefs that I can’t be happy because of what is supposedly missing in my life. Insisting that I need what I don’t have is insane and robs us years worth of present moments. The fact that I am okay without what I think I need is proving I do not really need this thing after all. I did a post on Facebook after reading this verse several times and I think it is fitting to end on it.

“The foolish live today thriving for tomorrow; the wise live today loving each moment.”

Tim

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.

“I see that you have a book on changes that have taken place in the bible. I’m thinking that you can answer some of the questions that keep me up at night. I am just looking for a short answer truthfully. I have friends that are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I have been studying with them, but grew up in a community church, so that is the background of the questions.
Obviously, from the question I haven’t read the entire bible and don’t have a huge understanding of it yet…but am working on it. I am just wanting to learn the “right way”
 
 1) is the true name of God Jehovah? And that is what He wants to be called??
 
2) Do we go to heaven/hell when we die?
 
Thanks, Dana

Dana,

Very difficult question which will require a bit of explaining, I will try to keep this as short as possible. I study theology with as much of an open mind as I can, if I were to pick a religion to “follow” it would be Taoism, although I try to follow strictly in a philosophical, moral, and ethical fashion. The “big” three religions Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim all originated from the Old Testament. It is later on they branched out into different religions. I am not a fan of the big three, since they are responsible for many of the bloodshed in human history. During the various inquisitions the Christian/Catholic Churches were responsible for wiping out many of the “savage” beliefs, and it was not always peaceful. They suppressed free thinking by banishment, imprisonment, and death.

I think the issue with the Bible is it has been changed so many times to fit mans needs. The oldest translation of the Bible is the King James Version, since then it has been changed in minor ways for two reasons; they make minor changes so they can copyright it. The King James Version can not be copyrighted, like I said before they made minor changes to fit mans needs. The major change is we are taught we are saved by grace not works, this is simply not true.

I also have issues with the Bible because starting in the early 500 A.D. the Catholic Church ruled supreme next to the Roman Empire; they controlled which books made the Bible and which ones did not, and also controlled translations. The information they were relaying or what we know today may not be the “truth.”  They used fear mongering to make believers out of everyone, and one of the best tactics back then and still used today is the fear of hell and eternal damnation.

There was never meant to be a separation between Judaism and Christianity, many churches base many of their teachings upon the New Testament, and almost make it seem like ok we don’t need to follow the Old Testament, because of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins. Now as far as names go we have two separate names Yahweh (Judaism) and Jehovah (Christianity) Jehovah is mentioned many times in the Bible, but with each translation it has been used less and less and replaced with “LORD.” From what I know of Jehovah Witness, is you need to call God by his true name when praying. I do not think God cares what you call him, regardless he still listens.

 If you read some of Jesus’ teachings, he was not for worshiping in churches, he believed them to be unnecessary and run by charlatans. This is discussed in Revelations and described as the seven letters to the seven churches, or charlatans. These were the churches leading the people away from God (may be a bit off it has been awhile) I believe the seven churches to be the Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Evangelicalism (there are more denominations just using these main ones as examples)

I have read the Bible three times once as a believer, once as a theologian, and the other as a skeptic. I believe if you choose to be a Christian you need to follow the God of the Bible this means you choose no denomination and read and reread the Bible and trust the word. When you do this you will see many things wrong with the way HIS message is being perverted.

I do not believe in hell per say. The Bible describes something like hell, but was not meant to be used as it is today. The Bible says when Jesus comes the TRUE believers will be taken away, it states something regarding all the non-believers will be given another chance to believe and except God into their lives. I also believe regardless of what you believe we all seek the same destination, we just take different paths. These paths lead to the same place.

If you are seeking spirituality I recommend reading many different beliefs until you find the one your heart connects with, it will be then you know you are on the right path. If being a Jehovah’s Witness does not feel right to you, then it is not, and you should move on.