Express yourself completely.
Then keep quiet.
Be like the forces of nature:
When it blows, there is only wind.
When it rains, there is only rain.
When the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
If you open yourself to the Tao,
you are at one with the Tao,
and you can embody it completely.
If you open yourself to insight,
you are at one with insight
and you can use it completely.
If you open yourself to loss,
you are at one with loss
and you can accept it completely.
Open yourself to the Tao.
Then trust your natural responses;
and everything will fall into place.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 23, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Yesterday, we were talking about the need to be yourself, whatever partial, crooked, empty self you happen to be. You have to let yourself be what you are, if you are to become whole, straight, and full. But we have to leave the becoming to the Tao. We have to reside in the Tao and be lived by the Tao. That is the only way to truly be ourselves.
Today, Lao Tzu talks more about opening ourselves to the Tao, so that we can be one with the Tao. If we want to become whole, we must open ourselves to the Tao. And that requires that we express ourselves completely. Just as we are, no matter how partial or crooked or empty we may be. We need to express ourselves completely, holding nothing back from a full expression. Then, we need to keep quiet, and let the Tao do its work in us.
To that end, Lao Tzu instructs us to be like the forces of nature. He talks of how, when the wind blows, there is only wind; and when it rains, there is only rain. These speak of how to express ourselves completely. Be like the wind as it blows. Be like the rain as it rains. There is only wind. There is only rain. There is only you, being yourself, completely. And then, the clouds pass. And there is only sun. There is only the Tao. Be quiet now.
Open yourself to the Tao. Let the sun shine through. Be at one with the Tao. Embody it completely. Insight will come. Be open to it. Be one with it. Use it completely. And there will be loss. No, we can’t skip over this part. We need to be open to it, too. We must be one with it, and accept it completely, as well. We must lose everything, give everything up, in order to gain everything. Accept the loss. Completely.
If we will do this, if we will open ourselves to the Tao, we can trust our natural responses. That is what it is like to be like the forces of nature. We can trust that when the wind blows there is only wind. When it rains, there is only rain. And, when the clouds pass, the sun will always shine through. Trust your natural responses. Everything will fall into place. You will have the insight you need. You will be lived by the Tao.