Between 200 and 500 CE, the person or persons responsible for the Taoist treatise "Cultivating Stillness," wrote: "Abide in stillness, and you will enter the true way, this is called 'receiving the Tao.'" About the time the Book of Job was being written, Prometheus Bound was also being written. Two works dealing with two men's response to an absurd deity in control of their life, with two completely different outcomes. 2,000 years later, nothing has changed. The Truth remains the Truth. To be seen or not seen by those who live under the same sun that has burned above all of the ages to live upon the earth. The moral of the Garden of Eden remains the same over time: "You are going to let your personal desire for gain and pleasure ruin your chances at a life that is truly good." Or, as it is sometimes stated: "The Best is the enemy of the Good." What is good? Who is to say? I am to say for me, you are to say for you. Who knows what they are doing? Time will tell. This is the theme that plays itself out in the lives of all between their birth and death. How good is the good we call good? Time will tell. What leads us to declare that one thing is better than another? To say that one thing is good and the rest is not? We are all in Eden. What shall we say? How shall we know? "Abide in stillness and you will enter the true way, this is called, 'receiving the Tao.'" How many have benefited from these words over 3,000 years? Only those who know what they mean can understand what they are saying. How do those who know, know? What separates Prometheus from Job? What guides our boat on its path through the sea? How do we know what to do when? "Abide in stillness..."
Balance and harmony, spirit, energy and vitality, are worthy guides, indicating when we are on the beam and when we are off it. Ignoring, dismissing, overriding the guides has us where we are, individually and collectively. We have left the path, lost the way, and wander in a wasteland of our own making, looking for smooth and easy, hoping for the best, dreaming of deliverance and happiness ever after at a price we can afford. The price is the sticky part. The price we have in mind is wishing it to be so without doing anything to make it so. We don't want to do anything. We just want to be happy. We just want to have our way. What's wrong with that? Why can't we just have our way? Why can't we do what we want, when we want, the way we want, for as long as we want, and then do something else we want? That's all we have ever wanted! Why is that not the way things are? The price of having what we want is relinquishing the central place of having what we want in our life. Simply put, the cost of being fully alive is growing up, seeing what's what and doing what needs to be done about it, in each moment of every situation as it arises. Our refusal to do that is what kicked us off the beam (And out of the Garden of Eden) to begin with. And, here we are, in the wasteland of our discontent, still having to grow up. That is all that is ever in our way.
Distance from complexity and conflict, contradiction and forced choices, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, insecurity, instability, anger, resentment, grief, sorrow, mourning... is balance and harmony, silence and stillness where the mud can settle and the water can be clear. We need places like that in our life. Sanctuaries, retreats, oases from a torn and broken world. A photograph might be such a doorway, a portkey, from there to there. An art museum. A library. A city park. A country meadow. The world is filled with such healing places. Balm for our wounds, consolation, comfort, for our souls. It is wrong to not seek them out and soak up what they have to offer. A break from the press of our days, a relief from the weight of life, a place to, in the words of Robert Ruark, "recover from the past and store up for the future."