It’s Tao Tuesday! As always, I will refer you back to the original page, Tao te Ching Daily, and her series, Tao Tuesday. There, you will find rich discussion and articles from every chapter of the Tao, spanning I think a couple of years. I’m just starting over here, and relishing the discipline of looking at these brief words and finding the wisdom and beauty waiting for me within.
When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.
Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.
Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.
My first thought is one of defeat. Sorry. If only I could be so calm about things in my life and world.
And then, I pick myself up, call myself Grasshopper (of course with an accent), and remind myself that I am just beginning. It is okay if I do not have all these things figured out yet.
The idea that calling out the beautiful in one thing creates the ugly in something else is distressing. I am constantly finding beauty around me. It is one of the things I do to stay sane. Perhaps, it would be an exercise to acknowledge what strikes me as beautiful, and acknowledge what strikes me as plain, without calling attention to them? I guess it is obvious that the more I focus on beautiful, the more ugly others become. I think I have known for a long time how truly ugly the world can be – how desperate and clawing – and beauty is the thing that saves us.
The beauty of mountains and streams, the beauty of wildflowers, which no one plants, but they thrive in adverse situations. The beauty of sunrises and sunsets. The beauty of time marching on, and “This too shall pass.” That is reassuring when life is hard, that this period of time will pass, that we will get through it. It used to make me mad if I was on a high note, and someone would say, “This too will pass.” I wanted to scream at them to let me have this Up Time. But the beauty of it is that no matter what, time passes. We get through the good days and the bad days, and only in our imaginations does one last longer than the other. Time is constant. Difficulty is inevitable. Breathe in, Breathe out. Carry on.
Being and non-being create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. And this fits right in there. It’s like the good days and bad days are sides of a mountain pass, and we walk between them. We could swoosh, I guess, like a luge rider, going up high on the banks of the good days, but the pendulum of inevitability would bring us just as high on the bad days, or just as deep into them, or just as much of a banking maneuver and crazy joy-ride of reckless abandon. Oh, if I could see bad days as just as entertaining as good days. If all I’m getting on a bad day is some dirty rotten attitudes, then I could definitely swoosh and luge ride through those days, letting the difficult support the easy and visa versa.
Let’s see: Long and Short define each other; high and low depend on each other; before and after follow each other. All these things lend themselves deliciously to a wild ride on a luge going 90 mph up the edges of both the good and the bad, the long and the short, the high and the low. I don’t know where the idea of a luge came from, but I love it.
I just looked for a video on the dynamics of a luge run, and found some Olympic Medal athletes explaining how to steer going through a luge at 90 mph. It’s one of the oddest sports, honestly. The top person lies down completely covering the bottom person. And they work together to steer the thing. Somewhere in there is an analogy for parenting, but I’m not sure.
The bottom person can’t see what’s happening. He depends entirely on the head motions of the top person. Is parenting really that complicated? One of us may not see the road ahead and we may have to trust the decisions of a partner; or for single parents, trust the side of themselves that is working on intuition without really knowing? Gosh, I don’t know. But, there may just be something to that. I’m going to mull over the ridiculousness of this conundrum for a while. The wild ride, swooshing, and luge run of swooping between the good and bad, highs and lows, difficult and easy parts of my day as a mom.
Acts without doing anything… Things arise and she lets them come…things disappear and she lets them go… More and more, I’m seeing living out the Tao as being the ultimate in living life cool and relaxed, like the Chic Hippy Mom I dream of being. I am not that cool. I am a bit more of a stress case, but long to be able to approach life and the ups and downs and loudness of my boys with a nonchalance born of a deep state of relaxation. That would be so awesome. I tend to be more anxious, thinking of all the ways my boys could hurt themselves as they swoop through life with wild abandon. They have more hip and cool going for them than I may ever have. But these thoughts. These ideas of a reckless joy, and swoosh and swoop and speed and height and teamwork to get through those giant curves. I like. I close my eyes and see it all and feel the wind in my face at that breakneck speed. Somehow, this is relaxing.
Peace. Enjoy the highs and lows!