Perhaps I have been to lost in my own thought of how I understand the Tao, that the understanding that was taking place was lost to me. I have a carnal desire for comfort, for ease, for anything really that makes me feel good. I found myself feeling really good about my own understanding of the Tao the other day, and speaking about how easy things were flowing, how life was really an effortless effort. I was enjoying the fruit to much.
“Knowing contentment avoids disgrace.
Knowing when to stop avoids danger.”TTC 44 (Lin)
Man oh man, do I have a problem with knowing when to stop. Knowing when enough is enough has always been a real thorn in my ass. This is what in alcohol and addiction counseling equates to cross addiction. I can be free of my primary problems such as drugs and alcohol, however seemingly innocuous ones will take there place if I am not constantly vigilant.
This past week it was money. I was so engrossed with making more money than I had ever made each day with so little effort that I got away from myself.
I stopped eating, I stopped sleeping, I stopped showering. I barely had time to write, I was so caught up in the dopamine drip of money that I was falling back to the old way of living. The one where I was constantly discontent and always seeking more. I couldn’t see that I was overfilling my cup, I was sharpening my blade until it broke. I was on a course for disgrace.
“Holding a cup and overfilling it cannot be as good as stopping short.
Pounding a blade and sharpening it cannot be kept for long.TTC 9 (Lin)
I am not proud of the fact that I lost my peace of mind. That I put my contentment on the back burner and let it burn for the feeling of being high on my own achievements. I was so lost in my own excitement for what I was accomplishing I became a version of myself I thought had been dealt with. The old addicted, unhappy, miserable, Matt showed back up this week. All because he thought he knew what he was doing and that he was doing what needed to be done.
“It achieves it’s work, but does not take credit.”TTC 34 (Lin)
It amazes me the need that resides in me to push past what is needed because it feels good. It is why I have struggled with my weight since I was a child, with relationships, with drugs and alcohol, with over exercising, with money, and anything else that a person can have a relationship with I have done in excess.
Coming out of this addicted state I see the insanity of it being based in a fear of lack. The thought that says, “I must get all I can now, all the money, all the good feelings, all the food, booze and love, because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and it may not be here when I need it.”
“Those who know contentment are wealthy.”TTC 33 (Lin)
I knew contentment until a shinier proposition showed up and then I was lost to it’s beauty. I was lost to the allure of a promise of contentment when I believed I had contentment. The whisper of this deceit is so subtly powerful that it may have you right now in its grasp with out your knowledge, I know it had me.
But I see it know, it disguises it self as contentment, whereas true contentment does not get dressed up and does not pursue you. True contentment arises as a result of stillness. True contentment already resides with in us and can not be attained by action.
So, I see you false god that you are, promising me the world. You can not give me something you do not own and that already exist for me.
Beware the promises of that which you already posses. If someone promises you riches and wealth, know that they are already with in you, what is being offered is an illusion. If you are offered peace and a full life, know that it can not be given or found outside of you, its only home is within.
I see that I succumb to the whisper of a promise to the outside world on a regular basis. My five senses know me well and are deceived easily.
“The five colors make on blind in the eyes,
The five sounds make one deaf in the ears,
The five flavors make one tasteless in the mouth.”TTC 12 (Lin)
I thought I was becoming such an incredible practitioner of the the Tao. That I was well on my way to sage (its ok to laugh), I have always been an arrogant person when it comes to my own abilities. I am prayerful that I do better. As this lost place is not fun, but seeing the delusion is promising.
I pray for the natural and effortless unfolding of all life as we continue on this journey.
“Higher people hear of the Tao
They diligently practice it
Average people hear of the Tao
They sometimes keep it and sometimes lose it.
Lower people hear of the Tao
They laugh loudly at it.
If they do not laugh, it would not be the Tao.TTC 41 (Lin)