Lao Tzu, who wrote the book,
couldn’t say what The Tao is,
beyond “The Way.”
He said it can be experienced/known,
but no one can say what it is.
The same can be said of Grace.
We all have had experiences with Grace at work in our life.
We can say what happened,
but we can’t say what caused it to happen,
or what we can do to influence its happening,
and know we can’t do anything
to get it to happen on schedule,
coming in and out on cue
to the delight and amazement of all.
We can’t say what Dharma is
beyond “The teachings of the Buddha,”
or “The teachings about the Buddha,”
or “Our original nature and virtues,”
but when we are somehow
aligned with it,
things go better --
though not necessarily better for us,
but for the situation as a whole--
than when we are not.
But how that happens,
or what the mechanism is behind its happening,
is a complete mystery.
The same thing goes with Synchronicity.
Carl Jung coined the term,
calling it “a meaningful coincidence,”
and “an acausal connecting principle.”
But, he couldn’t say why or how it happened,
or what controlled the time and place
of its appearance,
or how many times it might be expected
to return in anyone’s life.
Sheldon Kopp said, “Somethings can be experienced,
but not understood.
And, some things can be understood,
but not explained.”
The ground of religion as we know it
is encounters of this kind.
We experience the Tao,
and tell ourselves things
to make sense of the experiences.
Theology is created in this way,
It all comes right out of our imagination,
as does every artificial thing in the physical universe.
We make it all up
to suit ourselves,
because we experience things
we cannot comprehend,
and we want to be able
to control the mysterious power
of the Unknown.
We create the rules of creation
and become its Masters.
And, here we are.
What if we had taken a different tack?
Gone in a different direction?
Along a different Way?
Say, by simply sitting with the experience
and waiting to see where it led,
and how our life might unfold
around it over the full course of our living?
Instead of trying to control the experience,
placing ourselves in its service,
and seeking what it might be calling us to do?
What if it is not too late to give that a try?
I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing.
I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.
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