Here we are. Now what? The relationship between/among the individual and the collective required to produce and maintain, oversee and steward, meaningful change for the good of the whole-- the whole earth-- is governed by what? Who does what to whom, when, where, how? The Tao is doing the right thing in the right way at the right time, moment-by-moment-by-moment. Which is made possible by being quiet and living out of our own center i n ways that incarnate our original nature in doing what is called for in the right way at the right time in each situation as it arises. And who is learning to do that? Who is living to do that? How many of us with it take to do that in order to "turn the light around," and transform the way life is lived upon the earth? And how do we get there from here? Someone? Anyone?
The Tao is recognized and honored by all religions everywhere. Everybody acknowledges the appropriate time, the appointed time, the fullness of time, the right time, the time to act and the time to refrain from acting. And everybody understands that there is a right way and a wrong way to do anything-- and knows there is a right thing to do and a wrong thing to do on every occasion under heaven. That is all the Tao is about: the right way to do the right thing to do at the right time to do it. We all recognize the importance of the Tao, but. We don't do much about putting ourselves in accord with the Tao in the times and places of our living. And that's the kink in the hose. We have to learn to lay aside our will for the moment, our wants, wishes and desires for our life, stand apart from our agendas and our contriving to have our way, and live sincerely in the service of the good of the moment, spontaneously offering what we have to give without seeking to exploit any occasion in any way for our benefit, advantage, pleasure. That is all it will take. Heaven won't be any better than that.
Our work is integrating opposites, creating harmony, realizing balance, honoring symmetry, maintaining the tension of mutually exclusive contradictions, dancing/living with the rhythm of yin and yang coursing through our veins and meeting us a every turn in the course of every day. India's Hinduism and Buddhism deplore duality. China's Taoism and Zen delight in duality, and see it as the heart of the cosmos, the rhythm of life and being. From the Tao te Ching (Chapter 42), we read: "The Tao gives birth to the One (The Origin), the One gives birth to the Two (Yin and Yang), the Two give birth to the Three (Heaven, Earth, Humanity), the Three give birth to every living thing. All things are held in Yin and carry Yang, and they are held together in the Ch'i of teeming energy." Duality is One with Life and Being. When we are most whole, we are playing with what Joseph Campbell called, "the potentials of this infinitely and incessantly changing universal duad (Yin and Yang)." Living authentically, genuinely, honestly is being true to the contradictions within, bearing the tension of being two things at once (I want to be the best father/husband/etc. who ever lived, and I don't want to be a father/husband/etc. at all!). "This is the way things are, and this is the way things also are, and that is the way things ARE!" "This is the way things are, and this is what can be done about it, and that's the way things are!" We honor the rhythms of life in the way we live with life, within life. "The tide comes in, and the tide turns around, and the tide goes out, and the tide turns around, and the tide comes in..." Ebb and flow, up and down, right and left, forward and backward, Yin and Yang... We dance with our circumstances, moving with the rhythm of our life, in sync with the Tao, doing what is called for by the time and place of our living, through all the times and places of our living, without imposing our idea of how things ought to be, but honoring how things are, and what needs to be done in light of it, here and now, all our life long. "and there is only the dance" (T.S. Eliot).
Our depth is without end. We will never get to the bottom of who we are. There will always be more to us than meets the eye. Why do we stop exploring ourselves so soon? That is the line separating ignorance from intelligence. Intelligence has nothing to do with how smart we are, or how educated we are, and has everything to do with how inquisitive we are, and how playful we are. Most scientists are intelligent people because they love questions and delight in playing with possibilities, and imagining new worlds, and seeing what makes things work, and keeps things from working. Ignorant people know what they like, and what they don't like, and that's that. They think the way they are supposed to think, and do things the way they ought to be done. And that's that. Ignorant people and intelligent people have a hard time getting along, and rarely spend much time together. When they are thrown together by a natural disaster or a war, they can cooperate in getting the job done, but then it's back to their way of being who they are with people who are like them. It is great to have people who are like us. That makes it easier and a lot more fun being who we are. But. We have to learn to do that without making people who are not like us into enemies whom we disparage, berate, ridicule and monsterize. We have to learn to listen to one another around the table, across the oceans. We have to pretend we are all in foxholes together, saving the environment, defeating the pandemic-of-the-day, sharing resources, and improving the quality of life for everyone everywhere. The world is not a friendly place. And that's where we all come in. We can befriend one another without everybody being the same. Why not?