If you realize that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
If you aren’t afraid of dying,
there is nothing you can’t achieve.
Trying to control the future
is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.
When you handle the master carpenter’s tools,
chances are that you’ll cut your hand.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 74, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Reactionary? Me? Well, I promised a friend, earlier today, I was going to “confess my sins” with today’s blog post.
Yesterday, Lao Tzu encouraged us with the knowledge “The Tao is always at ease” and “Its net covers the whole universe…it doesn’t let a thing slip through.” But one thing that really should have stood out to me, indeed it does, but sometimes it takes Lao Tzu hitting me over the head with a stick for me to realize it, is how “not reactionary” the Tao is. “It overcomes without competing, answers without speaking a word, arrives without being summoned, accomplishes without a plan.”
Oh, to be at ease! Even when the whole world seems to be in turmoil. Well, I can only say that I wasn’t just blowing smoke when I said, yesterday, “We will most certainly fail. Many times. But every time we do, the Tao has our back.”
In my own town, a man much loved within the community, lost his job of 20 years. I won’t go into all the details, for I only intend to confess my own sins. But, a great uproar occurred after his firing. It was one which went viral. News of it spread on Facebook and then to newspapers, radio, television, internationally even. It got mentioned on the Tonight show. A rally was planned. Word that this was “going to be our Ferguson” began to spread. That was when I stepped in. Was I content to remain at ease? Heavens, no! I posted some things on Facebook. I didn’t just react, mind you, I over-reacted.
Then, I had a friend kindly put me back at ease. “Do you really think that’s likely? I don’t think so. This too shall pass.”
“This too shall pass.” I was mulling that over, and then I looked at today’s chapter, where Lao Tzu took his stick and beat me over the head. “If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you aren’t afraid of dying, there is nothing you can’t achieve.” Once again, very not reactionary. And, then he goes on to say, “Trying to control the future is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place. When you handle the master carpenter’s tools, chances are that you’ll cut your hand.”
There, I have said it. Now, let me get back to licking my wounds. I am done with over-reacting! … At least, until the next time.