Chapter of the Week: #32 [Archive]

Hey Carl,

That's a hard subject for me. On the one hand, when I look at people in society in general, I seem more mature and wise than when I was younger.

The problem is, I think I'm slowly becoming more self-honest, and I see so much of how I relate to the world as not a whole lot different than when I was younger. These days I'm really seeing my life as a series of desires, which are just as hard to let go of as they were 20 years ago. The difference is I can see how illusionary the satisfaction of desires is, and so I don't put as much stock in satisfying them as when I thought they were "real". In that sense, perhaps there is a bit more wisdom than in my youth.

I think most people would say they are more mature and wiser. I don't necessarily think it would actually be true. For example, I would imagine some people would see maturity as being more responsible, as in working hard for the good life, instead of partying and living only for the day. But to me that's not necessarily maturity, but more just a different set of desires for a different set of circumstances.

But hey, what do I know?



  • edited March 2006
    Each week we address one chapter of the Tao Te Ching. Chapter 32 was originally featured on the 3rd week in August.

    Note: The Tao Te Ching can be obscure, especially if you think you're supposed to understand what it's saying! We find it easier and more instructive to simply contemplate how the chapter resonates with your personal experience. Becoming more aware at this fundamental level simplifies life. This approach conforms to the view that true knowing lies within ourselves. Thus, when a passage in the scripture resonates, you've found your inner truth. The same applies for when it evokes a question; questions are the grist for self realization.

    Chapter 32
    The way is for ever nameless.
    Though the uncarved block is small
    No one in the world dare claim its allegiance.
    Should lords and princes be able to hold fast to it
    The myriad creatures will submit of their own accord,
    Heaven and earth will unite and sweet dew will fall,
    And the people will be equitable, though no one so decrees.
    Only when it is cut are there names.
    As soon as there are names
    One ought to know that it is time to stop.
    Knowing when to stop one can be free from danger.

    The way is to the world as the River and the Sea are to rivulets and streams.
  • edited December 1969
    When I hold fast to the way I notice that the myriad creatures submit of their own accord. Of course, they always submit of their own accord. It is just that when I'm not holding fast to the way, I have 'my' agenda and contend with the world. When I contend, it subjectively feels as though the myriad creatures, are contending with me. [chref=66]It is because he does not contend that no one is the empire is in a position to contend with him.[/chref] If one were to interpret submit of their own accord literally, one would have to assume that the myriad creatures have a choice in the matter. There's that implication of free-will again.

    Knowing when to stop and stopping are two different things! I'm stuck with my biology, i.e., emotional needs and a brain/mind that ruminates. However, I've found the next best thing to stopping is obscuring word meaning through correlations until they become wispy puffs of fleeting observation. As I see the world more tentatively, I act more tentatively.[chref=15]...tentative, as if fording a river in winter,...[/chref]

    All action seems to fall towards or arise out of the 'void' (way). When I feel I'm tumbling too rapidly forward into the 'way', I slow way down and my activity wanes; when I feel I'm slipping backwards into the 'way', I hurry up and act. Odd. It mirrors the cyclic relationship between water and the sea; water evaporates, rises, then falls and returns...
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