Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tao

I drafted the following entry over a month ago then forgot about it until today when it resurfaced--at the perfect moment, I might add. Yet again, I am humbled by and grateful for its message. It is good to be reminded of how far I've yet to go, of how perfect peace is always within reach.

I'm halfway through leading a Tao of Journaling class in Brookline. Since the focus of the class is Journaling more than it is Tao (it's a writing class, not a philosophy/religion class), we spend just two brief sections of class one and class two talking about the word, the concept, the nature of Tao. I offer various "definitions"-- representations in words of Tao. I've seen it translated literally as "The Way." My personal favorite is this: "The way It does it."

Benjamin Hoff took a playful approach to writing about this subject in his book,
The Tao of Pooh--a delightful book to check out if you haven't seen it. I refer to this line in class two:
From the Taoist point of view, the natural result of this harmonious way of living is happiness.
Simply said, with a Taoist approach to life, one aligns oneself with--accepts--what is. No railing, complaining, pushing against...anything that crosses one's path. I happened upon two stories this morning that stopped me in my tracks for how they so exquisitely, purely and completely embody this Way.
An Afghan woman told the reporter how many wars and violence she had experienced, during her entire life. Then, with shining eyes, she added: how great that one person can experience so much in just one lifetime.

An Austrian farmer said: this stomach cancer is a gift from God. He warns me that my death is near, so I can arrange everything before my time comes.
Lest we forget that circumstances neither steal nor grant our happiness. "Shanti" comes to mind. It is a Sanskrit word I have seen translated as "The peace that passeth all understanding."

Shanti and hail, you great teachers, you ministers of Peace! Bless you for the gift of your example, your humility, your inspiration, your great Love. Humble thanks.

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