Every being in the Universe
is an expression of the Tao.
It 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 talked about giving ourselves up to whatever the moment brings. And we were saying that being aware and accepting of the reality that our death is imminent was key to freedom. Of course, I understand that the first objection someone may have to this notion is that their own death is not really imminent. Yesterday, I really should have addressed that objection. So, today, I am starting with that.
What I am wanting you to do is to imagine that you have just been informed that your death is imminent. Plenty of people get that “opportunity” in their life. To know that your death is imminent, once you get over the shock, is liberating. You are free to do all those things you never let yourself do; because you now know that your time is limited. That is what Lao Tzu is wanting us to experience. That liberation. “But!” You quickly chime in, “My death really isn’t imminent. What then?”
What then? Well, the point is to live your life as if that was the reality. We live our lives like we have all the time in the world. But that, my friends is living in an illusion. You don’t have all the time in the world. Time, itself, is an illusion we create as we live out our lives. Live out your life, giving yourself up to whatever the moment brings. That is the only way to truly live in reality. In reality, you only have the present moment.
Okay, those three paragraphs really should have been included in yesterday’s commentary; and, I am glad to have that cleared up. The good news, for me, is that it really does tie into today’s chapter; where Lao Tzu says that every being in the Universe is an expression of the Tao.
What does he mean when he says that? How are you and I expressions of the Tao? This is how Lao Tzu explains it for us. Each of us springs into existence, unconscious, perfect, and free. While none of us ever asked to be born. Here we are. We arrive on the scene totally unconscious of what our purpose for being is. We are, nonetheless, perfectly at one with the Tao at that moment. And, we are born free; like some of us will never experience real freedom again, sadly. Whether we will ever return to that primal state of perfect freedom depends on each one of us.
Lao Tzu says that every being in the Universe takes on a physical body and lets circumstances complete them. This is the reality. A lot of the time, we humans, think otherwise. We, maybe, are the one set of beings in the Universe that choose to contend with the notion that we should let circumstances complete us. But they do, whether we are conscious of it, or even willing to acknowledge it.
That letting circumstances complete us is still important to us. Why? Because we will never be complete without them. This is where I am thinking back to yesterday’s chapter, and giving yourself up to whatever the moment brings. That is letting circumstances complete you. Being aware and accepting. When you do that, you are spontaneously honoring the Tao. And that is when we join the chorus of every other being in the Universe.
For, you see, the Tao gives birth to all beings, including us human beings. It is the Tao that gives birth to us. It is the Tao that nourishes and maintains us, as well as, all things. It is the Tao that cares for and comforts us. It is the Tao that protects us and takes us back to itself. But, we largely don’t see “the man behind the curtain..” We sprang into our world unconscious; and, most of us stay in that state until the day we die.
My journey is about enlightenment. I want to know as I am known. And this great Tao is a mystery to me. It creates without possessing. It acts without expecting. It guides without interfering. You and I, we, are expressions of the Tao. We spontaneously honor the Tao by letting circumstances complete us. And, love of the Tao is in our very nature.
I watched a very good video yesterday that a friend of mine on tumblr, Bodhi_O’Shea, suggested I watch, after he posted it. It was all about the illusion of time. And the speaker, Julian Barbour, made a lot of very good points. But, this one really jumped out at me. “Being is, perhaps, more fundamental than becoming.” I want so very much to become. But, that has been a focus that puts off, for another day, what living in the present moment is really all about. Instead of becoming enlightened, I need to practice being enlightened.