Express yourself completely,
then keep quiet.
Be like the forces of nature;
when the wind 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 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 talked about how very easy it is to dismiss this as nothing but a whole lot of empty phrases. Lao Tzu has been talking about residing in the Tao. That to truly be yourself, you must be lived by the Tao. What he is wanting for each one of us is that we will be truly ourselves. We don’t think we are there yet. We think we can only hope to become something. Yet, Lao Tzu insists that it isn’t becoming that is the challenge. It is being. Simply being. Can we be content to simply be ourselves?
Today, he is giving us just a little bit more of how we can fully embrace just that. He tells us to express ourselves completely. We never feel like we do that, do we? We always are holding something back. Never fully expressing ourselves. But that is exactly what we must do. Then we can keep quiet and see how the Tao lives in us.
He gives us the example of the forces of nature. We need to be like the wind and blow until we are all finished blowing. We need to be like the rain, and not stop raining until it is time for the clouds to pass and let the sun shine through again.
Being willing to fully express ourselves, without holding anything back, is the beginning of everything the Tao wants to accomplish in us. That full expression of who and what we are is opening ourselves to the Tao. And that is what makes us at one with the Tao, in perfect harmony with the way things are. Having fully expressed ourselves, now we can fully embody it.
What is holding you back from fully expressing yourself? What are you afraid of? Are you hoping first to get some new insight? But you already have everything you need. Just open yourself to it. Be at one with it. Then you can use it completely.
Perhaps, you are scared of experiencing loss. But loss isn’t something we can avoid. It will happen over and over again in our lives. The only way to accept it completely is to open ourselves to it and allow ourselves to become one with it.
What are you really afraid of? Open yourself to the Tao. You can do this. And, you can trust your natural responses. No matter what you may think to the contrary. No matter what you have been told. You can trust you. And, as you do, everything will fall into place. That is what it means to be in harmony with the way things are. To go with the flow. To do what comes naturally to you. At one with the Tao.