Our original nature is the super hero we have been hoping for to deliver us. We come forth from the womb with everything we need to find what we need to do what needs to be done in each situation as it arises throughout our life. Adam and Eve were Jesus of Nazareth and turned away from the adventure they were born to live because it wasn't what they had in mind. Story sound familiar? It should. It is our story. Nope. Not that life. We all said. This life! This is the one I want! And we cut ties with our original nature and freelanced it into the far reaches of the wasteland. Look around. If this isn't a wasteland, I'm hallucinating, because I see a wasteland rolling out forever in all directions. It's time to find our way back to the face that was ours before we were born. You have probably heard me say it before, here it comes again: The way back to Eden winds through the heart of Gethsemane and across the face of Golgotha. That means we have to die to the life we have in mind for ourselves, in order to live the life our original nature was born to live, the life that still waits to be lived-- even now, even yet. We have what remains of the time left for living to reconcile ourselves with the life that is our life to live, put ourselves in accord with The Way that is our way out of the wasteland into the land of promise for those ready to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, the way it needs to be done, because it needs to be done, using the gifts of our original nature, for the joy of doing the work that is ours to do, and the satisfaction of having done it, moment by moment, through all the days that lie ahead-- beginning right here, right now. We live in an emergency room with exactly the gifts needed by everything that comes through the door. It only takes believing it, and living as though it is so, for it to be so every day. Stop thinking "original sin," and start thinking "original nature," and let yours start making the difference that makes a difference in your life and in the world around you!
We find our way to the life that is ours to live by paying attention to what stirs our soul, and to what nauseates us at the very idea. It is the Hot-And-Cold game all the way to the grave. Are we getting warmer or colder? That is all we need to know. To not know, or to not care about knowing, seals us into a lifetime of rigor mortis that is satisfied with being dead long before our time-- and we become those Jesus was talking about when he advised leaving the dead to bury the dead. We have from now until the time we actually die to be alive in the time left for living-- by knowing what calls our name, and living in its service with each breath we take.
Developing our relationship with our original nature means developing our trust in ourselves in giving rein to our spontaneous sincerity and action. Whatever is sincere-- without contrivance or calculation, and no idea of personal benefit, profit or gain-- and spontaneous, is likely to arise from deep within, and is a reflection of our sense of what needs to be done in the situation that is unfolding before us. As we trust ourselves to our inner sense of what is called for, we will be living from instinct, intuition and grace, without being able to explain our motive or our reasoning beyond saying, "It felt like the right thing to do at the time." Living in the service of the right thing to do at the time is the kind of life that transforms the world.
Carl Jung said, “It is the individual’s task to differentiate themselves from all the others and stand on their own feet... To do this, they must first return to the fundamental facts of their own being-- irrespective of all authority and tradition-- and allow themselves to become conscious of their distinctiveness." To do this is to unite with our original nature, which is the heart of Taoist teaching from 3,000 years BCE. We live to become who we are within the context and circumstances-- the authority and traditions-- of the time and place of our life. The work is eternal and on-going between the individual's responsiblity to himself/herself, and their responsibility to the culture of which they are a part. This is the tension between "the primary mask" and "the antithetical mask" W.B. Yeats identified, between who we are asked to be by the culture into which we are born, and who we are asked to be by our original nature that we are born to exhibit and express within the culture. We are born to the struggle of giving birth to ourselves within a hostile and restrictive environment. And so, Jung can say, “The idea of a second birth is found at all times and in all places. In the earliest beginnings of medicine it was a magical means of healing; in many religions it is the central mystical experience; it is the key idea in medieval, occult philosophy.” And, “As a pioneer, you must be able to put some trust in your intuition and follow your feeling even at the risk of going wrong.” And, “The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life.” And, I would add, the summation of our struggle to be healed, and whole, and saved, and well. Jesus said, "Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?" "We are the sculptor and we are the stone," (Alex Carrel)-- our work is to carve out who we are-- to live out our original nature-- within the culture that supports our existence.
Martin Palmer translates the first few verses of the Tao te Ching-- the ones normally rendered, "The Tao that can be said/told/explained/defined is not the Eternal Tao"-- in this way: "The path that can be discerned as a path is not a reliable path." That is beautiful, and puts me in mind of Jesus' statement, "The spirit is like the wind that blows where it will." Not even the wind knows what it is doing next. God's will is like the spirit that is like the wind that blows where it is called to go. God's will is not some legal decree set in stone through all of time, the ten commandments not withstanding (Jesus' "You have heard it said, but I say unto you..." is evidence enough of that). God's will is born of the moment, dancing with the time and place of its execution. Now it is like this. Then it was like that. And in the future it will be something else. And so, we have to be alert, awake, aware, because we do not know the time of our visitation, or what will be asked of us then, and in all times following. What has been the case will not necessarily be the case. We can't count on anything but our sense of which way the wind is blowing, our feel for what is being called for, and our faith in our ability to dance to the tune of the here and now-- with Jesus' "Who do YOU say that I am?" and his, "Blessed are you if you know what you are doing!" ringing in our ears.