I am sitting here staring at my computer trying to dig some gold out of my brain, and I am not talking about the gold in the nose caves, I mean the gold of wisdom that comes from studying the Sages words for almost a month now.
I woke up at 3am today, by choice. Why, many a reader is probably wondering, would any human wake up that early by choice. Well, the reason for me is something I like to call my obsession.
I have many obsession’s or as they are so fondly called around the world in the recovery community, addictions. My addictions have taken me to hell and back more times than I can remember. The incredible thing about these obsessions is that no matter how many times I believe I have cornered the damn thing and locked it up good, it somehow escapes and takes me for another ride.
The one that got me up this morning at 3 am is my obsession of money. Or, rather the acquiring and greedily standing over my pile of money like a golem, Mr. Scrooge hybrid. Drooling and panting for the next hit of a penny in the bank.
“To know that you do not know is highest,
To know but think you know is flawed.”TTC 71 (Lin)
Money looms large for many people in this world. We all want a piece of the pie that can buy us more pie. The interesting thing about any of these obsessions is their ability to disappear and reappear in the most harmless, well to do forms.
“Oh you did so good not eating bad all week. Now you can celebrate your kids birthday. What no cupcakes with your kids? Don’t you love your kids?”
Or, “look I haven’t drank in over 6 months, but my friend is in mourning and wants to have a drink with me. I need to be able to be there for them.”
Or, “I haven’t gambled in a year.”
“Wow Lloyd that’s great. I got 3 to 1 odds I get you to gamble by the end of this road trip.”
“Make it 5 to 1 and your on, Harry.”
We are so simple and so sweet in our own idiotic nature of falling over and over again for these obsessions.
As the Tao Te Ching points out, it is when I believe I know something, that I am in trouble. Knowing that we do not know keeps us in a safe place. Every time I think, “I got this thing handled, I know what causes me to get obsessed.” Here comes that devious little obsession with a new gimmick.
“Only when one recognizes the fault as a fault can one be without fault.”TTC 71 (Lin)
So, I must be willing to know that, believing I know is a sickness, a mistake. The actual word used in ancient Chinese is “bing,” which translates to sickness, or disease. This is what it means to recognize fault as a fault.
It also means that I have to be aware that I will fail regularly, I am faulted in this way. In this way we are all in our perfect nature and with out fault.
You heard me.
Look to believe one can be without fault, is in itself a fault as we are all inherently faulty, in a sense. Moral of the story-
Sure, I have a ton of obsessions or addictions. Some like drinking and using drugs have been under control for almost 3 years now (and only one day at a time one moment at a time can I manage some addictions.). Others, like money, food, television, exercise, caffeine, are flaws that I live with knowing they will continue to come up and bite me.
My only chance for survival in any of this is to understand my nature and be forgiving of that nature. I could beat myself up over it, but where would that get me, besides closer to the addictions that almost took my life.
My life today is one that is based in Grace and Forgiveness, this is what I believe is being taught in chapter 71.
Know your faults, and know that you are faulted in knowing your faults, so forgive yourself.
“The sages are without fault
Because they recognize the fault as a fault
That is why they are without fault.”TTC 71 (Lin)
If you find yourself lost to an obsession or an addiction that you believed you had beat, know that we all are flawed in this way. Be assured that you are in great company with the rest of the human race and know that if you can not love yourself for the flaws that keep showing up, know that I Love you. That you are loved because you are exactly as you are supposed to be.
The easy thing to do is become obsessed and then lose ourselves to the obsession. True inner strength is becoming obsessed and then letting go of it through, love, grace, and forgiveness.
It may come back, but there is always more Love, Grace, and Forgiveness to go around. Luckily it is completely free, too.
I hope whatever obsession or addiction has you right now you can allow the loving embrace of the Tao, or God, or Universe to hold you until you can drop what you believe you know.
I know I had to today and I was pretty pissed and embarrassed about it at first because, you know I am pretending to be wise and stuff, then I remembered I was studying the Tao Te Ching and all I needed was right here waiting for me to just own it and drop it. The Tao had it already taken care of for me.