Tao Te Ching Chapter 21

The virtuous Master lives according to Tao.
Tao is entirely elusive, very indistinct.
Vague, though its center contains form.
Vague and elusive, though its center has substance.Deeply hidden in its center is a life force.
Its essence is very real and contains within it the heart of faith.From ancient times until today, Tao’s name has not been forgotten –
Thereby bringing forth all things.I can realize the origin of all things through this.- See more at:http://taotechingdaily.com/21-the-virtuous-master/#sthash.x3C2xoHo.dpuf
The greatest Virtue is to follow Tao and Tao alone.The Tao is elusive and intangible.
Oh, it is intangible and elusive, and yet within is image.
Oh, it is elusive and intangible, and yet within is form.
Oh, it is dim and dark, and yet within is essence.
This essence is very real, and therein lies faith.From the very beginning until now its name has never been forgotten.
Thus I perceive the creation.How do I know the ways of creation?Because of this.
Jane English & Gia-fu Feng, 1989

Back again after a bit of refreshing wandering in the autumn mountains and woods with Lenore. Wandering in the elusive, indistinct, recondite Tao. Wandering around in the very real essence of life, the image, the form, accepting the mystery which faith supports and reconciles us all to.

In nature we perceive our natural organism in its natural place and in its proper relationship with creation. Nature covers this chapter better than my words ever could. I suggest getting out there whenever possible. There one can realize the origin of all things. You can feel it.

Back at the desk now, and the word well has filled up again. When I left here, Louis remarked in his last comment here that he hoped when I returned I would share my view with those of us still wondering if there is a path. He said, “I’m not sure there is anywhere to go, so looking for a path seems superfluous.”

I took his comment with me, considering it, and I can share this:

Sometimes I, too, still wonder if there is a path. Sometimes I too am not sure there is anywhere to go but here and now. Yet most certainly I am alive. I have a life. I am always here and now in it, and yet it moves and flows and changes constantly.

The path, then, is our own life, unique and yet completely and wholly common in the Tao, its source and destination.

And there is a way on that path. I believe the “way” we first seek and then refine on our journey involves learning how to keep the symbiotic, essential link between our mind and our essence functioning.

The mind has a simple job, really. It is to inform us if our actions are in accord with our nature, our essence. So long as it remains connected to what we are, to our essence, it functions properly and in its humble place. It informs us if our actions in creation are in accord with our nature, because it has something to compare our actions to.

When the link between mind and essence is broken, mind consults only with itself. In that separation hubris is born, and with it all the antithetical actions humans engage in which are contrary to their nature.

So the way on the path is to learn how to remind the mind that it has to remain connected to the essence which birthed it, or it’s useless.

And sometimes I wistfully wish I could say, like Forrest Gump, “And that’s all I have to say about that.” But I have been beating words out of my particular gong for a long time, and have no reason to believe I will stop anytime soon.

It’s good to be here.


The Path of your Life

Have you remembered your palace, have you seen samsara?
What is your odyssey? What is your story?
Where did you walk in the dark wood, fall in the pit,
meet the crone and angel and devil and god?
How did you return, how did you come home,
to Penelope and Ithaca,
to the cross, the gods, to God?

2 Responses to Tao Te Ching Chapter 21

  1. Louis W. says:

    Bob, it is refreshing to read your insights again. You are right about Nature and the Tao – Nature seems the essence of and the source of Tao, and vice versa. That is a subject of Chapter 25.

    The comments about the link between our mind and our essence are thought-provoking. Now I need to think about what the mind really is and about what our essence really is. It takes one back to the basics and the hard questions, doesn’t it?

    • bobgriffith says:

      It’s great to “hear” your voice again as well, Louis. I’ve been on a reading jag of late which helped coalesce the perspective above. A great (highly recommended) book by William Ophuls, “Immoderate Greatness”, Jack Kornfield’s “After the Ecstacy, the Laundry”, bits from William Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, and also thoughts from a lovely book that Lenore is reading by Sharman Apt Russell, “Standing in the Light” all served my thoughts. A bunch of other stuff, old and new, cracked open at random and taken in the spirit of messages from the oracle. When the rains start here I guess our reading rate goes up… ;)

      Yes, the mind and essence connection seems difficult to reconcile at times, considering how often I’m exposed to information about how wrong the mind can be, how it is the author of hubris, how the best practice to awareness is to shut it up and blot it out, etc. I recently found my own mind wandering into loathing itself, of all things. It had, yet again, gone off on its own, away from the connection. Stillness and meditation helped it return. It seems clear to me that when the link between essence and mind is working well there is a practical transfer of useful info to the mind which reinforces the principles of the essence and “re-minds” us when the mind spins off its gimbals and loses its bearings yet again.

      Gotta go now. Grandchildren are here and hunting mischief…

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