I am struck by an insight today. Studying chapter 23 of the Tao Te Ching, an insight hit me from a place of thinking I understand, to grasping what is being taught.
Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Well Lao Tzu said, “Spare words; nature’s way.” (Addiss & Lombardo)
Nature only say’s what is needed and then it moves on. Nature holds no grudge, and is not trying to make a point. Be like the infinite intelligence of nature.
Violent winds do not blow all morning.
Sudden rain cannot pour all day. What causes these things?
Heaven and Earth.TTC – Chp. 23 (Addiss & Lombardo)
We can find ourselves violently raging against one another. We can find ourselves suddenly in a down pour of emotion. But, as we know with nature these things pass. They always have and they always will.
“If heaven and Earth do not blow and pour for long How much less should humans?” (Addiss & Lombardo)
I understand this to mean, why hold on to a storm? Yes it happened, but are you really going to wear your raincoat for the rest of you life because of it?
In this chapter a beautiful realization came to me after these lines.
“Therefore in following Tao:
Those on the way become the way,
Those who gain become the gain,
Those who lose become the loss.TTC- Chp. 23 ( Addiss & Lombardo)
To me this means, I get to choose.
How incredible is that? What more freedom could a person be looking for in life than the ability to choose their attitude in any circumstance.
Put another way. I can choose to live in creation, I can choose to live in gain, or I can choose to live in loss. Each one of these things welcomes me with open arms.
I spent a lot of my life choosing to live in the loss. Meaning, I focused solely on what I believed was unjustly done to me. I focused on what I could have had instead of what I did have.
After choosing sobriety almost three years ago now, I realize this choice does not stop at not drinking. It extends to every moment.
This is the beauty of the teaching of the Tao. To be one with the Tao, we can choose to live in creation in this moment, no matter what the circumstances.
Let’s say that, you lost your job and money is tight right now. One could sit and say I wish this wasn’t so, look at what is being taken from me. Or we can choose creation and see that when something we were holding on to leaves our grasp it makes way for something brand new and if we can live in the Tao we can manifest the creation we would like to see.
Or we can live in the gainfulness of all the extra free time we have.
I use the job example because that is my current situation, not that I lost the job, but that I gave up the job to willfully create more space for a new creation to be born and trust the loving nature of the Tao.
See, Alan Watt’s said something I love. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, “We sit in meditation and we are faced with the whole of creation and then we ask it for a promotion at work or a new car. How ridiculous. (I hear his smokers chuckle full of joy). To ask all of creation for something so small. Why not sit with Creation and allow it to give you what it want’s, can you even imagine what might come your way?”
This is the meaning of chapter 23, in my opinion. Pain and difficulty do not last, choose what reality you want to live in: Creation, gain, or loss.
What an exciting revelation.
“All within Tao:
The wayfarer, welcome upon the way,
Those who gain, welcome within gain,
Those who lose, welcome within loss.
Without trust in this
There is no trust at all.TTC- Chp. 23 (Addiss & Lombardo)
Chilling isn’t it?
The bible has a similar verse: “For whoever has, to him more will be given and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” NKJV (Matthew 13;12)
Isn’t that wild, two totally different text in terms of region, religion, and beliefs, yet they mirror this truth of reality.
The truth is, You Choose. And realize also, there is no wrong choice and no one to judge you for your choice. The choice is yours alone because you are the only one that has to live with and in that choice.
It’s ok to take off the rain coat, the sun is out but only if you choose to see it.