Every being in the universe
is an expression of the Tao.
Its springs into existence,
unconscious, perfect, free,
takes on a physical body,
lets circumstances complete it.
That is why every being
spontaneously honors the Tao.
The Tao gives birth to all beings,
nourishes them, maintains them,
cares for them, comforts them, protects them,
takes them back to itself,
creating without possessing,
acting without expecting,
guiding without interfering.
That is why love of the Tao
is in the very nature of things.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 51, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Yesterday, we got over our fear of death. Today, is all about the art of living. Today, we see how every being in the universe spontaneously honors the Tao by behaving according to our nature. We are, each and every one of us, an expression of the Tao. It is the Tao that gives birth to all beings. It is the Tao that nourishes us. It is the Tao that maintains us. It is the Tao that cares for us. It is the Tao that comforts us. It is the Tao that protects us. And, it is the Tao that takes us back to itself. How is it that this occurs? Well, we can see it expressed all around us, in nature. And, if we will dare to look within ourselves, we will see it there, as well.
We spring into existence. Nothing more spontaneous than that. We all start out unconscious, perfect, and free. Every being takes on some physical body. And every being lets circumstances complete it. Did I read that correctly? Every being lets circumstances complete it? What about us humans? Lao Tzu has news for us. Circumstances complete us. Whether we “let” it happen or “resist” it happening. The art of living is in letting it happen, instead of resisting. Every other being in the Universe doesn’t seem to have any problem with that. We, humans, not always so much.
But that goes against our nature. It is in our very nature, even as humans, to honor and love the Tao. We go against our nature when we resist honoring and loving. The Tao is like a mother with her children. We are all children of the Tao. An expression of the Tao. So, we can be like the Tao. What is amazing is when we aren’t like the Tao. When we behave unlike the expression of the Tao that we are. Understand how this works. The Tao creates us. Each of us. Every being in the universe. But it doesn’t possess us. We are, still, all free. We are free to act differently from our nature. And many of us do.
And there are consequences to not acting according to our nature. Disease, famine, pestilence, premature death. These are some of the consequences of not acting according to our nature. These aren’t punishments brought to bear on us by the Tao. They are merely consequences for not living according to our nature. A nature perfectly adapted for living in this universe. We are free. And that means free to live a life of unease. All that the Tao does for every being in the universe, the giving birth, the nourishment, the maintenance, the care, the comfort, the protection, all of these things, these acts, are done without any expectations.
The Tao merely guides us. That’s it. No interfering. No forcing. We are free. But are we living a life of ease and contentment? It is your choice. You are free to choose. And, with all freedom there are consequences. You can choose to live counter to the Tao. But you can’t avoid the consequences. You can choose to live in accordance with the way things are. And you will have that life of ease and contentment that Lao Tzu has been going on and on about. You are free to choose. What will you choose?