In harmony with the Tao,
the sky is clear and spacious,
the earth is solid and full,
all creatures flourish together,
content with the way things are,
endlessly repeating themselves,
When man interferes with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy,
the earth becomes depleted,
the equilibrium crumbles,
creatures become extinct.
The Master views the parts with compassion,
because he understands the whole.
His constant practice is humility.
He doesn’t glitter like a jewel,
but lets himself be shaped by the Tao,
as rugged and common as stone.
Lao Tzu - (Tao Te Ching, chapter 39, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
(In today’s chapter, Lao Tzu paints two very contrasting pictures. One represents being in harmony with the Tao. There is no question in my mind that this first picture is one that everyone would agree is the kind of world in which we would like to live. A clear and spacious sky. A solid and full earth. All creatures, including the human variety, flourishing together, content with the way things are, endlessly repeating themselves, endlessly renewed.
Harmony with the Tao brings about contentment with the way things are. Lao Tzu has told us before that the way things are is the way things are. In another place he asks, “Do you think you can improve the world?” And then he gives this rather blunt warning, “I don’t think it can be done.” He sees the world as a sacred place.
Why is it that we humans find it so difficult to understand the simplest of matters? First, we fail to accept that the way things are is the way things are. We think we can improve on the natural order. We think we can make things better if we interfere with the way things are. And then we are surprised when the sky becomes filthy. The earth becomes depleted. The equilibrium crumbles. And creatures become extinct.
But it gets worse. We see the mess we have made. But fail to rightfully understand the cause and effect relationship. The answer, we think, will be found in more interfering. I have news which may or may not come as a surprise. If we keep doing what we have been doing, humans may find themselves one of those creatures who become extinct.
Lao Tzu, over the course of the last few days, has been taking to task the so-called powerful men and women because they can’t do the simplest of things. And we shouldn’t be looking to them to come up with the solutions for the environmental disaster of their own making.
Instead, Lao Tzu encourages each one of us to emulate the Master, who views the parts with compassion because he understands the whole. This will take a constant practice of humility. And that is something of which powerful men and women are simply incapable.
If we want a world in harmony with the Tao, we need to accept that the way things are is the way things are. And stop interfering with the natural order of things. Let the Tao do what it does to bring about equilibrium. It will, absent our interference. It will, in spite of our interference. But I would rather be cooperating than interfering. Cooperating will prolong my life on this Earth. Interfering will shorten it. For all of us.
Lao Tzu isn’t looking for a few of us to glitter like jewels. He is looking for all of us to be willing to be shaped by the Tao, as rugged and common as stone.)
I should probably take the time to write a dissertation on my feelings about the entire thing but I don’t want to fuck up or pressure him because I try to do what I’ve been taught (by the people I’ve been romantic with) as in you don’t pull that shit and sometimes you just back off and give them room to think, and sometimes you just need to chill the fuck out and roll with it
but I really don’t want to have to worry about this shit coming back to haunt us because that would just be fucking butts
oh yeah I always ALWAYS do this thing where if I want something to change and I feel like I would be going back on something I said previously (even though I might not actually be, it just gets too hard to explain) I try to “push the universe” into doing my dirty work for me by giving it all these little reasons why
See that’s how full of myself I am I think I can push the universe into doing things for me what a fucking joke
and then I wait until I get really frustrated with the thing, but I still don’t say anything I just let it fester in my head until I can no longer take it
and then all of a sudden it’s just like “yeah this is over”
On the other hand though this isn’t as bad as it was last year so I guess there is that
and I’m HALF HOPING that this thing ends this evening and he’s just like “yeah this isn’t going to work” so I have an obligation to back the fuck off
I mean in case you can’t tell I’ve about lost it for a little while do you understand what having crushes on people does to me?
I realize that putting trigger warning and then not putting it under a readmore is fucking counter productive
it’s not it just makes there no point to putting trigger warning I mean I have to do both in order for it to count
aw fuck it there are better ways to have worded that I;’m just agitated so you can expect a few more posts like these unti; I chill the fuck out
which isn’t likely to happen for AT LEAST another fifteen minutes or so but I’m more leaning towards it being a few hours
and it would be NICE TO GET SOME SLEEP but I keep GETTING THAT PANICKED FEELING so FUCK THAT NOISE
also I’ve got an assignment due tonight and I’m not sure if I’m going to do it or not yet
I mean I should and I’m probably going to freak out about it if I don’t
but I really don’t want to and the thought of doing it is kind of freaking me out
See this is why I don’t usually interact with a whole bunch of people it just makes me worse