Chapter of the Week: #43 [Archive]

Reminds me of a discussion i had many years ago with my 'guru' (a good friend, very wise and troubled, who'd studied with Krishnamurti)-I asked him if he was ever happy, and he said 'no, but i'm occasionally content'. Didnt understand it then, do now, but i'm still happy now and then.


  • edited June 2006
    Each week we address one chapter of the Tao Te Ching. Chapter 43 was originally featured on the 1st week in November, 2004.

    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 43
    The most submissive thing in the world can ride roughshod over the hardest in the world-that which is without substance entering that which has no crevices.

    That is why I know the benefit of resorting to no action. The teaching that uses no words, the benefit of resorting to no action, these are beyond the understanding of all but a very few in the world.
  • edited December 1969
    The most submissive thing that I can conceive of is nothing. Nothing, and its passive correlates, silence, death, loss, vacuum, failure, etc., are without substance. My innate fear of the most submissive drives me to act. As the years pass I'm more able to face, and even embrace, the submissive. Embracing the submissive makes life more peaceful. That being so, why didn't I start doing this earlier or do it more now? As I see it, my fear of the submissive. Ironic, eh?

    An important aspect of raising my children has been knowing the benefit of resorting to no action. And this only occurred because I had kids latter in life, after becoming sufficiently [chref=36]weakened[/chref]. Thus [chref=36]weakened[/chref], I can let the teaching that uses no words guide us all. Simply put, I don't get in their way by projecting my own fears and insecurities into their lives. I'm able to wait.

    Waiting is key. Resorting to no action is not by itself a virtue or a call to indolence and apathy. It is more an affirmation of the benefit of patience and of embracing the [chref=1] mystery[/chref]. Of course we're not biologically set up to wait; that's why it can be difficult. We innately want what we need and [chref=46]desires[/chref] it yesterday. Our natural instincts that worked in balance in early pre-neolithic circumstances often cause us grief in the civilized conditions we've set up for ourselves. In our ignorance we tend to blame our natural instincts, i.e., "don't be an animal", rather than our civilized circumstances. We didn't evolve to live in civilized circumstances, now did we? Of course this is countered by our arrogant belief that we humans can and should transcended our animal nature.

    Which brings me to the most important model I've relied on in raising my kids ? wild and primordial nature. Asking myself how such and such a situation would play out in nature has helped me discover and know the benefit of resorting to no action.
  • JoeJoe
    edited December 1969
    I?ve been paying more attention to being ?mindful?, being truly present in whatever activity I?m doing. This of course is difficult, with all the thoughts that constantly rattle around in my head. When I?m taking action to do an activity, I find that if I?m totally mindful, without lots of unrelated thoughts, then it feels like I?m accomplishing without taking action. However, if I?m thinking all sorts of other things, for example worrying about a future project, then no matter how small or easy the task is, it feels as if I?m taking lots of action.

    In terms of submissive riding roughshod over the hardest, I think of the Tao Te Ching line; about using the uncarved block to press down on desires. When I?m able to let desires pass through my awareness, without jumping on board and worrying about them, or struggling to fulfill them, then their ?hardness? passes away. If instead I?m madly running around trying to satisfy every desire, things tend to snowball and I try to sharpen things to a point, fill them to the brim. As a result, I become hard and unyielding, because I?m focused on a particular desire to the exclusion of all else.

    Using now words, taking no action. I usually think I understand this; unfortunately it?s mostly on an intellectual level. As soon as something comes up in life that challenges me, then my emotions kick in and true ?understanding? goes out the window. Fortunately, I?m slowly becoming more able to turn back to understanding, instead of blindly following pursuit of the desire. I?m able to let go sooner, instead of ?hammering things to a point?.
Sign In or Register to comment.