What is more real: the relief you feel when
you let go
Or the resistance of telling your old story,
Linking every new moment back to the old
The dead and the past.
What is more real: the joy you feel or
the complicated details
You can’t seem to filter through
To get through to you.
What is more real: the angst of thinking there must be more or
the freedom you feel when you are
In Tao the only motion is returning;
The only useful quality, weakness.
For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,
Being itself is the product of Not-being.
This chapter (40) of the Dao De Jing is a classic statement of emptiness, the via negativa, which means God, the source of all existence, is a darkness to the intellect and a Being devoid of all the attributes that characterise our physical reality.
Return, reversal, weakness, softness, meekness: these human attributes are our way of coming to know Him and trust in His power.
Being is you 有 meaning “have”, not-being is wu 無 meaning “without”.
In Christianity and other systems we are taught that God alone is real, and all else borrows its existence from Him. In Daoism and Buddhism the same relationship is expressed as an “emptiness” or “non-being” from which all things come forth.
Either way, trusting God begins with knowing that there’s a spiritual reality behind the reality of things we can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell.
I remember my desire
Born out of suffering and misery
To awaken another world within me.
I remember being inspired
By poets and mystics
Who promised infinite treasures
If I could follow their meaning.
I remember wanting
To see God in every damned thing
And within me.
I remember trying
A hundred different ways
Knowledge and devotion
Desperate and shaking
Blaming myself, giving up
Dark night or just deluded
Depressed or half-enlightened
Realisation or rumination
And I remember the promise
In the joy of its fulfilment
The revelation and remembering
That all of my efforts
Weren’t wasted, unsuccessful
But they kept me on the path
Long enough for me to shed them
Like the lotus in the mud
To take the joy without the sorrow
And the love without the heartache
And knowing without doubt or confusion
I have had my Seat on the Self-poised One,
I have drunk of the Cup of the Ineffable,
I have found the Key of the Mystery,
I have reached the Root of Union.
Travelling by no track, I have come to the Sorrowless Land : very easily has the mercy of the great Lord come upon me.
They have sung of Him as infinite and unattainable : but I in my meditations have seen Him without sight.
That is indeed the sorrowless land, and none know the path that leads there :
Only he who is on that path has surely transcended all sorrow.
Learning consists in adding to one’s stock day by day;
The practice of Tao consists in “subtracting day by day,
Subtracting and yet again subtracting
Till one has reached inactivity.
But by this very inactivity
Everything can be activated.”
Those who of old won the adherence of all who live under heaven
All did so not interfering.
Had they interfered,
They would never have won this adherence.
I’m beginning to see trust and allowing in the Daoist trajectory of “wei wu wei” – acting without acting, doing without doing, uncontrived action.
We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends.
We turn clay to make a vessel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends.
We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends.
Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.
This chapter from the Dao De Jing takes on new meaning for me as I learn to trust and allow what, from my perspective of effort and control, “is not”. Faith is darkness to the intellect.
I briefly glimpsed someone who
Reminded me of you when we first met:
A passenger in someone else’s car, staring straight ahead,
Glasses, and a smile.
And I knew then, why I loved you
And how I forgot that too,
Trying too hard to be “perfect” for you
As if your loveliness now rested on me.
But your light, your brightness and your ease never needed anyone to just be.
A gift can’t be earned or it’s not longer a gift.
So let me stop thinking that I’m helping you
And just enjoy each frequent glimpse of your smile, your delight, and the love it means to me.
O fool, do something, so you won’t just stand there looking dumb.
If you are not traveling and on the road, how can you call yourself a guide?
In the School of Truth, one sits at the feet of the Master of Love.
So listen, son, so that one day you may be an old father, too!
All this eating and sleeping has made you ignorant and fat;
By denying yourself food and sleep, you may still have a chance.
Know this: If God should shine His lovelight on your heart,
I promise you’ll shine brighter than a dozen suns.
And I say: wash the tarnished copper of your life from your hands;
To be Love’s alchemist, you should be working with gold.
Don’t sit there thinking; go out and immerse yourself in God’s sea.
Having only one hair wet with water will not put knowledge in that head.
For those who see only God, their vision
Is pure, and not a doubt remains.
Even if our world is turned upside down and blown over by the wind,
If you are doubtless, you won’t lose a thing.
O Hafiz, if it is union with the Beloved that you seek,
Be the dust at the Wise One’s door, and speak!
So much from God
That I can no longer
A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
a Buddhist, a Jew.
The Truth has shared so much of Itself
That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even a pure
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
Of every concept and image
my mind has ever known