My friend Louis, who has a fine blog at Ralston Creek Review, let me know several months ago that Amy Putkonnen, another worthy blogster, had extended an invitation to interested persons to comment once a week on a chapter of the Tao Te Ching. Amy called it “Tao Tuesdays.” I decided I would do that.
I have been enriched by the commentaries of both Amy and Louis. Amy is a remarkable source of practical, acutely insightful, compassionate and caring and useful observations about the Tao Te Ching and how it speaks to our daily, boots-on-the-ground existential experience. Louis has proven to be a great source of scholarly information about the Tao Te Ching, and has woven into his commentaries a historical, generational perspective and great insights imbued with his own gentle, measured spirit.
Both Amy and Louis have shared their experience and understanding and wisdom well, and I’m grateful to them for that.
Now that the first 37 chapters (the “Tao Ching” portion of the TTC) have been commented upon, I’ve taken time to review my own part here. I have mixed feelings about my contributions, yet over all I regard it as time well spent. I’ve found things I said well and clearly, things which are useful and helpful and wise. I also found other things said poorly, conveying more confusion than clarity, even though my intent was pure and the message carried was clear to me.
The benefit of my participation here, in addition to the enrichments which Louis and Amy have supplied, has been to remember an old lesson which I learn over and over again. It’s a lesson which I am always happy to relearn and yet quick to forget. I have been reminded of how good it is to become exhausted and sick to death of my own use of words when it comes to translating what the heart knows into what the mind sees. I have been reminded of how good it can be to just shut up, and let go, and know the Tao.
Amy and Louis speak clearly and well in their own voices, and I hope they continue to do so. My exhaustion is in no way a reflection upon their fine insights and thoughts, which I appreciate and hope they continue to offer.
I am going to withdraw from my commentary here for awhile, and I don’t know for how long. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see whether the old recurring lesson has been completed or is still in progress.
I’m a writer by nature and may never shut up completely, but I may be able to speak less. I presently find myself disinclined to use words in the expression of knowledge and understanding, and more inclined to use them to “paint” with. I think I will try to paint koans on the wing rather than trap thoughts in a box for awhile.
I thank each of you for all the good thoughts and wisdom and knowledge you have shared. Keep up the good work! I will check in to your blogs often and avail myself of the ongoing reflections there.
And if I do manage to paint a koan on the fly I will hang it on the wall here, where I know there are visiting souls who have eyes which see such things, and ears which hear the flutter of those wings.