Tao Te Ching Day 54: Leaving The Cage

You Got This

I had a thought today. Many of us spend our entire lives doing jobs we hate based on the fear that at some point in the future, we will have to pay for our survival.

I see us like gerbils or lab mice in a cage with one of those upside-down water bottle things that give a drop at a time of water. We live like this, thinking that we are here in this cage that is life and this little dripping water is our only chance at survival, so although it is frustrating and annoying as hell with its measly little drops, we think, “at least I have this.”

We then spend the remainder of our lives serving and protecting this tiny, stupid, upside-down water bottle thing for its gracious and noble gift of life for us. We even teach our kids to do well so that one day they can have their own little water bottle thing (WBT).

Are we insane? Do we think ourselves this small and insignificant that we would spend our entire lives accepting drops of life when there is a whole ocean available to us?

I have had this conversation with myself over and over again throughout my life. It goes something like this.

“Man, I hate this job. I wish I could be doing something I really love, like writing.”

“Yeah, well, you can write if you want, but after work and once you’ve completed everything else. We got bills and responsibilities to take care of. Get your head out of your ass Matt.”

“Yeah, but if I do what I love, then I will have what I need. I will get filled in a different way, like spiritually and stuff. Plus, if I follow my heart, I will probably make way more than these scraps we are surviving on now.”

“Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Dude, when did you become such a hippie freak. Look, you want to die in a gutter starving and alone, be my guest. But we got kids to feed a mortgage to pay. You think the credit card companies will take a check made out for Love? Grow up, man. Now let’s get back to work; the boss is coming.”

And then the dark cloud of sadness that accompanies a life run by fear and not by bliss hangs itself above us, and we take another sip from WBT.

“Everything flourishes; each returns to its root

Returning to the root is called tranquility

Tranquility is called returning to one’s nature

Returning to one’s nature is called constancy

Knowing constancy is called clarity.”

TTC 16 (Lin)

Imagine if we all lived in our natural gifts and stopped worrying about how we would survive. That is the tranquility being promised.

The reality is this; bills are not going to pay themselves. Kids need food; some, like me, needed more than others, haha. It is scary as hell to go after your dream. It is also frightening to trust that what you need is already available to you right now and that WBT is just distracting us from the fact that the cage has been left wide open. There is a Universe so big beautiful, and abundant right outside if only we could take our little gerbil lips of that WBT.

What if everything you wanted was not the opposite of your fear, but instead straight into it. What if you could live the happiest, most whole life you could ever imagine, but you had to trust in something other than yourself for your survival? Could you do it?

I have to decide on a moment-to-moment basis sometimes to make that decision, but when I do, I become more filled with life than I was a moment before while living in perpetual fear that my WBT would disappear when I wasn’t looking at it.

You know, there would be no WBT without a gerbil or mouse to drink from it. In the same way that there would be no job without you to work at it. Can we stop giving all of our power over to the things that come from the source that is us and recognize that the wellspring of all that is in our lives comes directly from us.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Run towards the fear of the open door. That stupid water bottle thing (WBT) was only there to get you started. The ocean where it came from is all around you.

“The people all have goals

And I alone am stubborn and lowly

I alone am different from them

And value the nourishing mother.”

TTC 20 (Lin)

The Tao Te Ching does not expressly talk about the abundance of our capabilities in the same way I am speaking of them here. However, I have spent enough time reading and meditating on this book to know that what it is saying is that we are the same stuff as all the other incredible beautiful creations that exist in the Universe.

It is saying that we should not fear how we will be taken care of or what we will do, as it is all a natural unfolding happening within us. As an acorn becomes an oak tree, we can either allow ourselves to flourish or remain like an acorn in a small state of mind. Can you see that the larger the tree grows, the deeper its roots become and the more nourishment it recieves.

We are like this. Remaining small we only keep ourself cut off from the source of life.

Here is the rub, to be connected to the source of life we must be willing to grow beyond what we believe we are capable of. We must be willing to see a life outside of our current state of being. Hell we don’t even really need to see it, we only need to trust that it exists and then be as the Sage not doing anything but accomplishing everything. By not trying to overcome take the world the world will be given to us.

By not seeking virtue we will be virtuous, because we will be exactly that which we are. An eternal expression of an eternal nameless thing, we call the Tao.

Happy Day.


Published by Matthew Whiteside

I am a writer, a storyteller, a yarn-spinning freakazoid. My life is full of two things today, lessons and blessings. I write fiction mostly but I also love to write about my life and the things I go through on a daily basis. Writing it out inspires and motivates me and that's why I do it. Plus if it does that for me maybe it will for someone else too.

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