Shattering all illusions…(Tao Te Ching finale)

~ by Adele

So this week, our journey with the Tao Te Ching comes to an end..or a beginning, I guess. We have looked deeply within the timely messages of Lao Tzu, and now it is time for us to take them away and weave them into our lives.

Our last chapter to unravel together, was chapter 38…

The Master doesn’t try to be powerful;
thus he is truly powerful.
The ordinary man keeps reaching for power;
thus he never has enough.

The Master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things,
yet many more are left to be done.

The kind man does something,
yet something remains undone.
The just man does something,
and leaves many things to be done.
The moral man does something,
and when no one responds
he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.

When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is morality.
When morality is lost, there is ritual.
Ritual is the husk of true faith,
the beginning of chaos.

Therefore the Master concerns himself
with the depths and not the surface,
with the fruit and not the flower.
He has no will of his own.
He dwells in reality,
and lets all illusions go.

This chapter explores what can be described as ‘nameless simplicity'. Nameless simplicity is when we choose not to take sides and refuse to create complexities. Therefore, we break free from the illusions that we create in our minds and all illusion around us. When we let go of our illusions, we are then able to see the true reality.
The first illusion Lao Tzu speaks of is power. The illusion that power is something outside of ourselves that we must fight to attain. We fall into this when our actions come from a place of lack or neediness – when we don’t feel enough. We’re seeking to add things onto ourselves, when really, what we need to do is strip things away. When our actions come from a place of composure, and okay-ness within ourselves, the outcome is less critical to us. We don’t give our power away. It is then when our actions can bring more fun and more joy, because they are not trying to fill a void.

The next illusion is that of doing – the illusion that something must be done. That we cannot trust that life is working from a deeper momentum that doesn’t require our interference. When truly, within the Tao, everything is fundamentally alright, without us needing to do anything. Everything is already under control, even if it’s not under our control. Lao Tzu points out to us the importance of doing less – and the removing of so much doing of things that don’t need to be done from our lives. Doing so, creates less drama and instead, builds up our energy. Busy yourself with doing less, Lao Tzu tells us….and there will always be more for you.

Life is wanting to show us the way, sometimes it is just waiting for us to slow down enough, strip back enough, so that it can speak to us. In a paradox, we must first exert our will in order to burn our will out. We use our will to get out of our bed and on to our yoga mat every day…for what? In order to let go of our will. It seems strange, but in giving up our will, we give up our controlling and our organising of life to be a certain way. Of course, in the process of this, we might feel a bit lost. (But it is always totally okay to not have a clue what you’re doing or where you’re headed). It is a good thing, your ideas have started to fall away. Enjoy the re-balancing stage, while the Tao and the truth reconstructs everything in front of you.

The next illusion is that of ‘goodness’. If we are ‘trying’ to be good, we instantly have an agenda. We don’t need to be good, we just need to be ourselves. To be real. No matter how ‘good’ that agenda is, goodness is always inferior to the Tao. The moment we try and lead someone to the light, we leave the light. We only need to stay centred in our hearts. When we do this, we are at the most natural help to those around us. If we just relax and allow ourselves to enter this process of the Tao, we will be cleaned through it. Replace being ‘good’ with being real. Then you are truly free.

When we don’t trust in the natural goodness, we create morality and ritual. These illusions bind us to a conditioned fear of chaos. We disbelieve that spontaneous order will fall into place all by itself. Why are we still doing things the way we are doing them? Because of those reaching for power, that need to control, because they feel the world would fall into disorder otherwise? But nothing can ever really be out of place. Perhaps momentarily, but necessarily…only to find its way back into communion the Tao.

How can we move through these habitual binds? How can we come to be truly free?
By concerning ourselves with the depths, not the surface, Lao Tzu tells us. By looking beyond the flower to the fruit. By dropping our desires and demands. By letting all illusions go, and resting back into the energy of the great Tao.

The Tao is now your own and always, to merge your life with and perpetually expand into.

Remember when you can: do less.

Thank you again to Steve for another mind-expanding living wisdom, and for the wonderful exploration of the Tao Te Ching.



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