By George, I think I’ve got it! At least a concrete glimmer of what I’m going for. I’ve been studying Taoism and how to express the Tao in my life. I used to call Tao “All-That-Is” or “Universal Mind”. What drew me to Taoism in the first place was a phrase from Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching, “The master allows things to happen,/She shapes events as they come./She steps out of the way/And lets the Tao speak for itself.” I’ve been working to slow my mind and my responses and simply let things unfold.
Use your mind for sorting and selecting
For most of my life, I have been studying and thinking and writing in order to understand what interests me. Recently in 365 Tao Meditation by Deng Ming-Dao I read, “Education is a means of gaining access to the conventional world of satisfying our curiosity, and of avoiding superstitious tendencies. The intellect uses discrimination, categorization, and dualistic distinctions in highly sophisticated ways.”
I began to understand that I’ve been educating myself about many things all my life. I’ve used my mind to make choices and to decide on the beliefs and values that resonate. However, I wasn’t certain that I was effectively putting what I learned into action.
Spiritual contemplation is behind all action
Deng Ming-Dao continues: “By contrast, spiritual contemplation involves no discrimination, no categorization, and no dualism, so it has very little need for scholasticism. It is pure action that requires the totality of our inner beings. It needs pure involvement, not mere study.”
That made me look at how much I enjoyed my mind and question if I’ve learned to live and breathe and fully express what I have come to embrace as truth for me.
Change is gradual
A game of cards showed me that I was learning to be present and flexible in the flow of life and that it is a fabulous way to live. The game requires a series of choices. Pick one card and your hand moves in one direction. Choose a different card and it flows another way. Like life. Each choice is like an eddy in a stream, it swirls around some things, picks up others in its path. You never know which it’ll be until it happens.
As I became more aware of how I was playing the game, I saw that I was choosing in the moment, I was following my intuition. I allowed my choices to lead to a natural conclusion based on the actions I took in the moment.
It felt exciting because I didn’t know where each choice would lead. I could see the possibilities of each choice. If an unexpected card was drawn, I rethought the direction I was going and opened myself up to new possibilities. Each choice gave me the possibility of a different conclusion.
And ”chance” played a part. The number of times I simply reached into the pile of cards and chose the exact one I needed was much higher than for anyone else who was playing the game. All because I was present, listening to my intuition, and making each choice based on what was presented in the moment. I am beginning to understand Tao.
Be present when you choose
“Spiritual contemplation is pure action that requires the totality of our inner beings. It needs pure involvement, not mere study,” Deng Ming-Dao concludes. I have to consciously drop all judgment and simply respond in the moment to how life unfolds. I will learn to drop all expectation and be in the present and allow each choice to be made from the fullness of my being.
I have a long way to go to make an understanding of Tao totally active in my life, but in this small moment of card playing I experienced how incredibly freeing and powerful it is to let events unfold and trust in the choices I make in the moment. I’ve become more aware of the times I’m caught up in my mind, and the times I allow myself to simply flow along the river of life.
Allow your spiritual essence to guide your decisions.
To Sing a Deeper Song consider