“The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?” ― Zhuangzi
There are times I can be quite chatty (and possibly obnoxious and overbearing). But I wonder if maybe the reason that I talk so much is that I am trying vigorously to communicate something for which words do not exist. Something that can only be felt in the deepest part of being. Something that goes beyond words and their usefulness.
Is there such a thing? A truth that cannot be communicated? Wisdom that cannot be spoken? an idea that cannot be uttered? What characteristics would it have? How would we notice it, or think about it; study it, or perceive it? Could we? Would we? In a world of instant access to unlimited information, it seems almost absurd to seek after something that cannot be encoded into language.
This is exactly how Lao Tzu describes The Tao in the Tao Te Ching, “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao, The Way that can be named is not the eternal Way.” But how can we have anything but a superficial understanding of this Great Truth when all we can do is speak or read about it? Perhaps it can be reached through meditation. Focusing on your breathing, moving into your body, getting in touch with your surroundings and filling your mind with the present moment. This may get you away from words, but as the story goes, meditating to reach enlightenment is like polishing a brick to make it into a mirror (it ain’t gon’ happen)
[I have tactically chosen to leave the remainder of this post empty, instead of finishing it, in order to leave space for Wordless Truth. Let me know if you see it]
“Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” “What is God’s will for my life?” “Am I making a difference?” “How will I be remembered?”
I have often asked myself these, and many similar questions. We as humans seem to be programed with an insatiable interest in purpose. We want to accomplish something, we want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and we want to know why. We often imagine purpose as something that we must find, discover, or create. Or something that must be bestowed, or given to us by some other entity. But purpose is something that is always with us. It is an integral part of who we are, and we cannot be separated from it.
Water does not strive, it does not desire, and it has no goals. It does not search out its purpose. Simply by behaving according to its own properties, it fulfills its purpose. As a result clouds are formed, canyons are carved, and life is sustained (The water does not aim to accomplish these things, yet they are still accomplished). The purpose of water is to be water.
Consider A Tree
What is the purpose of a tree? Other than to grow and to become a perfect manifestation of itself? There is none. A tree does not desire to make a name for itself. It does not try to make the world a better place. A tree is a tree, and that is its purpose.
Can we live like the tree, or the snail, or the bird? With no purpose other than to be ourselves? Is it possible to stop striving, planning, searching and asking? Or is longing for a greater purpose simply part of our nature?
“The Master gives himself up
to whatever the moment brings.
He knows that he is going to die,
and he has nothing left to hold on to:
no illusions in his mind,
no resistances in his body.
He doesn’t think about his actions;
they flow from the core of his being.
He holds nothing back from life;
therefore he is ready for death,
as a man is ready for sleep
after a good day’s work.” ~Lao Tzu
“Stop thinking, and end your problems.” ~Lao Tzu
We live in a beautiful world. Even the small segment that our senses can take in (smaller still what our minds can comprehend) is beyond what we can express with words. There are infinite opportunities for joy, yet we use so much of our time fretting over the insignificant; the non-consequential. We fill our days with worry and busyness, trying to get ahead. We constantly occupy our minds with television and social media, afraid to sit in silence, and be alone with ourselves. Trying to drown out and silence the voices of fear, regret, and uncertainty.
Stop worrying. Stop thinking. You are on the right path; the only path; your path. Follow it to the end. Take care with each step. Feel each breath. There is no need for fear. You are a passenger, an observer. Enjoy the ride.
Do not fret.
Do not worry.
Do not fear.
The earth continues on its natural course.
You are one with the earth.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~Lao Tzu
“Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.” ~Margaret Thatcher
Life can be a struggle. We are constantly faced with regrets of the past, and the uncertainty of the future. Worry, doubt, and fear can overwhelm us. Every day we have to decide how to use our time, and what course of action to take. The choices we make can have a huge impact on our loved ones, and ourselves.
I have spent an unhealthy amount of time scouring the internet, trying to find the “right” thing to do, the “right” way to act, the “right” path. And what I have discovered Is that I already know what is right. Deep within myself I know the path I should take. But more often than not, I ignore the voice inside of me, and do what I know is wrong. Why? because I am afraid. Afraid of failure, afraid of what others might think of me, afraid of discomfort, and afraid of disappointment.
“Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?” ~Lao Tzu
Be on the lookout for part 2 in this series, when I finally learn to do whats right.