Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tao and Oneness

To change my scenery a bit, I took my laptop notebook to a window door.  From my position on the floor, legs tucked over a dark green fleece blanket, I see that our grass needs cutting in all its sound greenery.  There’s also that tree stump created last winter.  It hosts a small cluster of mushrooms where a butterfly currently keeps dipping on and off.  The two weeks worth of recyclables are parked at the curb, the bin and the plastic trash can filled with empty bottles of zero calorie drinks, 20oz water bottles, and Kashi cereal boxes.  A FedEx truck just raced by, and I wish there was something for me to receive as I sit writing, continuing to find ways to bring comfort to this thing called life.

I was a little hesitant to sit before my neighborhood with my notebook, seeing that a couple of years ago our neighborhood was hit by a group of teens breaking into homes.  Unfortunately, I became a victim of said teens when they got into my new, used car and took the non-operational stereo out.  It recently came to my attention that they have long been caught.  Two of them found themselves on the receiving end of a bullet fired from strapped homeowners in another area of the city.  The two survived their karmic twists.

So why am I sharing all this?  Why am I bringing up my lawn, a butterfly, recycling, and thieves?  Because I find it the appropriate time to look back and discuss the Tao’s second chapter/verse through the translation of Derek Lin and Dr. Wayne Dyer’s interpretations.  It is here that we acknowledge some of the good and the bad in life, and how it is kind of unnecessary to gnaw on their differences when they both come and arrive from the same source.

Derek Lin’s translation goes as:

When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other
Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other
Therefore the sages:
Manage the work of detached actions
Conduct the teaching of no words
They work with myriad things but do not control
They create but do not possess
They act but do not presume
They succeed but do not dwell on success
It is because they do not dwell on success
That it never goes away

Wayne Dyer's read as:

Under heave all can see beauty as beauty,
only because there is ugliness.
All can know good only because there is evil.

Being and nonbeing produce each other.
The difficult is born in the easy.
Long is defined by short, the high by the low.
Before and after go along with each other.

So the sage lives openly with apparent duality
and paradoxical unity.
The sage can act without effort
and teach without words.
Nurturing things without possessing them,
he works, but not for rewards;
he competes, but not for results.

When the work is done, it is forgotten.
That is why it lasts forever.

What can we say is the meaning behind this verse?  Of course it depends on your personal interpretation.  However, I got the sense that it coincides with the expression that “everything is everything” or “it is what it is.”  I believe the key terms between both verses are “each other”, “duality", "unity", and "success."  So how inspiring the better person can be to acknowledge the parallels we see daily in life and nature, and accept them equality.

And because I tend to over think, I must go on...  

A single thing, concept, idea, or existence can’t be labeled or called such without the recognition of its opposite--even by its opposite.  Dyer points out an example in this chapter where he asks the question: “Has it ever occurred to you that beauty depends on something being identified as ugly?”  With that said, the idea of beauty has also fashioned the idea of ugly, just like life can generate the idea of death.  Good can conjure up the meaning of evil.  Male knows of female.  It is almost like saying we/life live in a grayness where we/life possess even the things we sometimes reject or judge unfairly.  According to the Tao, or my thinking/seeking, these possessions are all necessary in their oneness.

I think we as humans may be the only animals that place focus on these differences.  Seriously, like Dyer says, “the daffodil doesn't think that the daisy is prettier or uglier than it is.”  Why would it when--as a plant--it simply just is?  Nevertheless, we do the opposite of it every day to other people, and in view of some of their circumstances.  We’re all guilty, and I can be honest in saying that I don’t know how I can reach such a state of perceiving.  Especially in a time where I am so busy trying to change my life as thoughts rush pass me while I speed along.

But I think one of the keys here is to live and respond with good intent toward others.  This allows comfort within yourself that you don’t necessarily have to justify yourself to no one.  Half the time not even to yourself.  What you like is what you like.  Who you are is who you are.  All you can do at the end of the day is do good and be.  So why waste so much time fighting those who do the same?

A complicated mess, but thank you so much for reading. (^.^)


Dyer, Wayne W. Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao.  Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2007.

Lin, Derek. "Accurate Translation of the Tao Te Ching." Accurate Translation of the Tao Te Ching. N.p. .

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