Hello to all you wonderful readers out there. Today is the 30th day of my study and full absorption into the Tao Te Ching. I wanted to take this time to catch up on lessons learned thus far and how I have been affected by studying and digesting this material everyday for 30 days.
First I would like to let you know what my process has been.
Starting first thing in the morning I wake up and I read from 1 of 2 versions of the Tao Te Ching, a lot of times cross reading from each version, marveling at the difference in clarity of language used in translation.
Honestly some days I will be reading and thinking, “what the hell are these people talking about?” Some days the reading of the Tao Te Ching feels like it makes no sense. Like a rock skipping over a hard surface, the words seem to bounce off my brain.
After reading from the book I then spend the next couple hours listening to the audio version of the Tao Te Ching, while exercising, walking the dog or other tasks around the house.
During this time, I am hoping that something sticks out to me. You know like one of those “Aha” moments where the lessons being taught finally click. Most of the time that does not happen and I am just stuck folding clothes, while Stephen Mitchell or Wayne Dyer read the Tao Te Ching and I stare off into space drooling. The proverbial rock continues to skip.
After my brain is thoroughly mushed by wisdom rocks I go about my day doing what ever else needs doing hoping (more often the last few weeks, trusting) that something will come to me at some point through out the day and I will have the fervor to write it all down.
I would like to say that I have enjoyed every moment of the process but as is with anything in life the process has its rough patches. Usually when I try and force the work that needs to be done.
“Proceeding calmly, valuing their words
Task accomplished, matter settled
The people all say, ‘We did it naturally’.”TTC 17 (Lin)
The incredible thing about studying the Tao and trying to understand it, is that I simply do not. I don’t get what is being said as I am reading it most of the time.
However, I have begun to realize that as I look back on my days, recording what I have been doing and how I have been traversing the landscape of my life, suddenly parts of the teachings that feel so obscure come into clear focus.
Lessons such as effortless, effort. Upon first reading and hearing the words, “The Sage does nothing, yet nothing is left undone,” I had no clue what the hell Lao Tzu was talking about. However, upon further study and in living by “letting the dust settle,” I have come to realize that the way of effortless effort is to BE what you had previously been trying to do.
Embodying what ever it is we are doing the process unfolds naturally with out effort. The Tao Te Ching talks about all things having their own nature and simply allowing ones nature to unfold.
When we embody a process, say something like doing laundry, or cooking, or writing, or being with our family, we drop our ideas of how that thing should look. We forget or unlearn our own ways of being and take on the being of being with family, or cooking or laundry. In doing this, the natural way these things unfold (or in laundries case, fold) happens no matter what, and all we need to do is allow it.
I have realized my life has become so much more peaceful and effortless in retrospect, and I see it as a reflection of studying the Tao, or should I say not understanding a word of what is being written, so just living as naturally as possible.
The effect has been rather miraculous. Things that would have taken much deliberation and mental strain and stress are getting done with out a second thought.
In the process of unlearning my old ways of creating struggle, I have learned a simpler way. One that throws off ideas of easy and difficult and just allows what is to be. Dropping my own knowledge of events has changed me profoundly.
With out attachment to outcomes or the way things should be, I am working and living in a place where all things are as they are, as they have always been. I am seeing clearly the veil that was placed over my eyes by my thinking mind and instead now am embodying moments and time more fully.
Now, I am no saint, I am no sage. I am only stating what I have noticed about myself during these 30 days, and find it rather incredible, as like I stated above, most of the time I have no clue what I am reading. It is like the book is reading me, and changing me the way it needs to.
Nothing on my end needs or has ever needed to be done. My natural way of living was always more peaceful than I had previously made it through force of my own will. 30 days into this study I can see that.
I am happy and beyond grateful to you all for joining me on this journey. As the Tao Te Ching brings more to light in my life, I will do my best to share it as honestly and openly as possible with you.
Thank you for reading