Chapter of the Week: #21 [Archive]

life is working me over these days-sorry i havent written more often and sorry when i do its this 'poor me, look how im not handling lifes trials and tribulations' sort of post...
some of you know that for the last 6 years i've been raising a boy, not my son or a realtive at all, a kid i met thru mentoring-well, on the 1st his folks both got busted for dope, and he 's been swept up into the foster care system since then-neither i nor even his only nearby blood relative, gr'parents and a cousin (she's 19 and raised him birth to age 4), have recieved any official word on how he's doing-that is, if we hadnt dug and schemed and begged and used various connections we wouldnt know anything-as it is i found out his case workers name, contacted her-after several days we finally spoke-and the cousin found out where he was being held so i managed to sneal a quick visit with him at his school-before i was banned-no contact rule in effect for any and all parties that ever knew him
-how that and removing him from all his poistive prusuits and interests (karate, guitar, his dog) is helpful to his well being, i dont know-but anyway, at this point all we can do is wait-his gr'parents have had a foster care license before, so hopefully thatll speed up the process of them getting him in their house-state law says not even any phone calls or supervised visits from anyone but parents, not even extended family-how stupid is that-folks are the cause of this, are in jail, and still have all the rights
even though i've been the main source of support for him all these years-im a non entity in the states eyes-and dont even begin to try and think how many times ive had to explain my realtionship with the boy-a single 40 yo man raisng a young boy-do i get matter that its been 6 years, i can get character references from dozens of people, doesnt matter-they act like i picked him up from th vbus stop 2 weeks ago...
-it takes a village to raise a child-but let that village actually try (especially if the village is a single male) and everyone pulls back-let the child fend for himself is better, i guess-hypocrites...
so im trying to eb a rock, let the wtare flow over me, be aptient, and failing miserably- i may lodse my job as well-meting today about that-i went in last week all stressed out and they're jumping on that-totally unsympathetic-these are the bosses that said at a meeting last month, 'if you put your famnily ahead of your job,m mayb you shouldnt work in this fild'-so we'll see what happens-
ive gone to a counselor, a doctor as well, took a wek off, and have had so many good friends rise up in support and comfort
think i talked his case worker into letting him attend his next karate test-hes worked 9 months for it-so thats a start-at least she knows i exist, knows he has a support system out her-let them investigate me all they want, im clean and legal and all that-odd, but hey, the boys odd too-we're good together-alone, i'm nothing...
more on this later im sure-dont want to depress you all at once
-its been like when you lose your kid in a department store and for a couple minutes that panic sets in-well, i've been holding my breath and looking for him for 9 days now, with no end in sight...dont panic dont panic...


  • edited July 2007
    Each week we address one chapter of the Tao Te Ching. Chapter 21 was originally featured on the 4th week in December, 2005.

    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 21
    In his every movement a man of great virtue
    Follows the way and the way only.

    As a thing the way is
    Shadowy, indistinct.
    Indistinct and shadowy,
    Yet within it is an image;
    Shadowy and indistinct,
    Yet within it is an essence.
    This essence is quite genuine
    And within it is something that can be tested.

    From the present back to antiquity
    Its name never deserted it.
    It serves as a means for inspecting the fathers of the multitude.

    How do I know that the fathers of the multitude are like that?
    By means of this.
  • edited December 1969
    [Note: I italicize phrases I borrow from the chapter, and link to phrases I borrow from other chapters to help tie chapters together. While making it more tedious to read, :? the Tao Te Ching is best pondered in the context of the whole.]

    From the present back to antiquity reminds me of going cross country in wilderness and cave exploring. It is crucial to know where you were to know where you are going. Life, for me, is no different. Pondering from the present back to antiquity, to the 'big bang' and even before helps put the present in perspective. Before the 'big bang'? Ah yes, this is one of my favorite images... [chref=4]Darkly visible, it only seems as if it were there. I know not whose son it is. It images the forefather of God[/chref].

    What is great virtue anyway?

    The Oxford University Press dictionary says: virtue >n. 1 behavior showing high moral standards. ->a quality considered morally good or desirable. ->a good or useful quality of a thing.

    My English-Chinese dictionary says: Virtue is 'de', (as in Dao De Jing, or as 'Te' in Tao 'Te' Ching). 'De' translates to: virtue; righteousness, morals; moral character. The character for 'de' is composed of three others characters 'zhi' , straight; 'shin', heart, mind; and 'chi', step. String them all together and we get 'step - straight - heart - mind'. Mmmmm.... doesn't that feels a bit shadowy and indistinct, yet within it is an essence?

    It is crucial to plumb the depths of word meaning, if we are going to 'take them with anything more than a grain of salt'. Virtue carries significant Christian connotation, and 'de' carries significant Confusion connotation. To feel the Taoist sense of this word let's review how it is used in the Tao Te Ching. My view is that how a word is used in the Tao Te Ching helps define its 'Taoist' meaning. We don't usually read things this way, but rather rely on our 'habitual' use of words and our preconceptions to give sentences meaning. Doing that with the Tao Te Ching only increases confusion. It is very helpful to have meaning flow both directions. Now, consider these excerpts which point to the Taoist sense of virtue ('de').

    [chref=23]A man of the way conforms to the way; a man of virtue conforms to virtue; [/chref]

    [chref=28]If you are a valley to the empire, Then the constant virtue will be sufficient [/chref]

    [chref=38]A man of the highest virtue does not keep to virtue and that is why he has virtue. A man of the lowest virtue never strays from virtue and that is why he is without virtue.[/chref]

    [chref=41]The highest virtue is like the valley; The sheerest whiteness seems sullied; Ample virtue seems defective; Vigorous virtue seems indolent; Plain virtue seems soiled;[/chref]
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