“Attain the ultimate emptiness, hold on to the truest tranquility. The myriad things are all active, I therefore watch their return.”Tao Te Ching – Chp. 16
The world that we live in is a natural world, full of natural beauty and natural processes. From the tree’s blossoms, to the way a smart phone lights up after you turn it on.
Wait, a smart phone is anything but natural, right?
I believe it is all apart of the way the natural world works, and speaks through all of us. It behaves in the same way as any other natural thing.
It has times of power and flourishing and then needs to connect to its source to recharge. We are all in the same way living in this cycle.
The Tao Te Ching, in reference to all “myriad” things is of course speaking of us. All things are active for a time and we watch as they return to inactivity.
“Everything flourishes; each returns to its root. Returning to the root is called Tranquility.”Tao Te Ching- Chp. 16
It is the beauty of the natural way that all things flourish and have their time. As all things in the natural world do. We as humans are the only species to spend time in active defiance to this natural way. Using any and all methods to undermine and rebel against this cycle.
It is interesting, to see the cycle from this perspective of nature. I do not spend time angry with the trees for loosing their leaves during winter and drawing their seed back to the root to preserve their own life. In fact I take joy in watching these things change.
Yet, in my own life I can be so hard and obstinate about my own drawing into source. I become angry with myself that I can not remain flourishing and in the spotlight for ever as if there were something wrong with me.
This denial of our own natural cycles can be seen in almost all of us. We have disrupted and cultivated an unnatural way of being so that we can in essence have more of the feeling of connection that we desire.
Yet, as Lao Tzu, seems to state in the Tao Te Ching, we are all only searching for a return to our own source.
“Tranquility is called returning to one’s nature. Returning to one’s nature is called constancy, knowing constancy is called clarity.”Tao Te Ching- Chp. 16
Why then do we not accept our own cycle? We act as if an apple tree on a deadline. Can you imagine, an apple tree afraid that it wouldn’t produce 500 apples by Thursday? Or that if it was not constantly appling, other trees would hate it or think it no good? What if it was afraid that if it did not constantly produce apples, it would stop being given the resources it needed for its own survival?
This example I hope paints the picture for you of our disconnection from natural way of things.
We are all natural beings, with natural cycles. To be at odds with this has caused me so much suffering in my life. To think that all that was necessary was to accept my flourishing and accept my returning to the root or source as the natural way of things.
A flower does not bloom because it wants to be beautiful, a flower blooms because it has spent time with the source of all things and that energy and beauty radiates through what we call a flower.
“Not knowing constancy, one recklessly causes trouble. Knowing constancy is acceptance, acceptance is impartiality. Impartiality is sovereign. Sovereign is Heaven. Heaven is Tao.”Tao Te Ching – Chp. 16
Being at peace with what we are and knowing that there is a time for us to flourish and a time for us to withdraw is the natural cycle of all things. Living in the Tao is part of unlearning the processes of the unnatural world and remembering the way of the natural.
If you are tired, rest. If you are hungry, eat. If you need time to yourself, take it. If you feel life has lost it’s flavor maybe it is time to reconnect to the root of things and recharge. Our phones do it, the trees do it, everything in life does it, only we as humans fight this.
The Tao Te Ching, is starting to make more sense to me, the more and more I study it and allow all the other things to fall away.
Birth. Death. Rebirth.