We find what needs to be done, not by thinking, not with reason and logic, morality and ethics, but by looking and listening, by seeing and hearing, by sensing and intuiting, using instinct and imagination. "Waiting for the mud to settle and the water to clear" is time spent sitting quietly, welcoming the stillness and the silence, emptying ourselves of forcing things to happen out of time. Emptying ourselves of fear, desire, duty. Just waiting, just looking, just listening, without being hooked or hijacked by anything, trusting ourselves to act when the time for acting is upon us. This is believing in the reality of flow and timing, and in ourselves and our ability to know when the time is at hand, and to allow ourselves to be swept onto the field of action in response to what needs to happen now. Can we be so bold and so courageous as to do nothing until the time for the moment of action is upon us? Can we wait, trusting ourselves to be moved by forces quite beyond us? Do we have that kind of faith in more than meets the eye? Or words can say?
Adjustment and accommodation, Kid, adjustment and accommodation. Give me a time and place from the beginning to now when and were things were as they ought to be for more than a wink in geological time. Adaptation is what life does best. All life. Every life. We are built/equipped for adaptation. And we believe deeply that things ought to be just what we want them to be-- and would be if we only had the Elder Wand. We have the Elder Wand. Only it doesn't work on the world and other people. It only works on us. It is our perspective, our point of view, our attitude, our disposition, our way in the world. Now, when we think about "our way" in the world, we think bout having our way, getting our way, "doing whatever we want." "Wanting-getting-having" is what we think we are here for. That is wrong. We are here to do what needs to be done in each situation as it arises with no correlation to what we want or don't want. We hear that but it does not register. We do not comprehend it. And we turn quickly back to the service of getting My Way Now! Well. We can think of "our way" as the way we are in the world. The way we carry ourselves. The way we respond to what is going on. The way we live, and move, and have our being. Our way in this sense is either in accord with The Way, or out of accord with The Way. There is a Way beyond our way that flows through all situations and circumstances, calling/beckoning all things to align themselves with it-- to be one with the Tao of time and place, in Ecclesiastes' sense of there being a time and a place for everything. And when everything is out of time and out of place, we get what we have in this time and place, with doctors wanting to be actors, and poets wanting to be famous, and everybody wanting to be something they are not. The world is out of harmony, out of balance, out of flow. And our place is to put it right with itself, by being right ourselves with the flow of life and being in each situation as it arises. Basically, that means, sitting still and being quiet. When we live from silence we have a better chance of being aligned with Tao, with Flow, than when we live from the noise and complexity associated with having Our Way Now. But this is a hard sell to those bent on having My Way Now. It is like an old man walking around saying, "Adjustment and accommodation, Kid, adjustment and accommodation," to those who can't hear what he's saying. So he adjusts and makes accommodation, and keeps walking around looking for ways of doing what needs to be done, even here, even now, even yet, even so.
We cannot guarantee the outcome. "Time and chance happen to us all." Our place is to align ourselves with our original nature and the flow of time and place, life and being, with no stake in the outcome, letting the outcome be the outcome, and following that with more of the same, alignment with the flow, doing what needs to be done, and letting that be that. This approach is at complete odds with the American Way, which is to say, "Damn the shoreline! Full speed ahead!" No. The shoreline is the limit, and has to be taken into account, has to alter our plans, has to turn aside our wants, and we have to take "No!" for an answer whether it suits us or not. We live from the perspective of "My Way NOW!" It is killing us and destroying the world, and will be the end of the civilization that takes it to heart. We have to change our mind-- individually and collectively-- about what is important, or else. My money is on or else. Not that I will get anything out of collecting the payoff.
I believe in what I'm doing even though I believe nothing good will come from my doing it. I believe the value in what I'm doing is not--and cannot, should not--be tied to the results of what I'm doing. Results are not a valid measure of value. There is value in doing what needs to be done, where and when it needs to be done, the way it needs to be done, regardless of whether it has any impact for the good on the way things are. I submit Jesus as a case in point. And all of the other people throughout history who have given themselves to their "art," and, in so doing, apparently "wasted their time and effort." Living in the service of what needs to be done with the gifts available to us in the time and place of our living, is to live a life of highest value, whether it "matters" or not. What are your gifts-- the ones you love to serve? Live to serve them day to day, and let the outcome be the outcome. You get to do what you love to do all the way! What could be of higher value than that? Throw yourself into each moment as though it matters how you live it! Believing that it does matter! Whether it "matters" or not! That is what truly matters! And, if it doesn't matter at all, it, at least, brought out the best in you, and that matters beyond all reckoning! Being true to ourselves, no matter what, regardless of our circumstances, in each situation as it arises, is the only thing that matters! The. Only. Thing.
People who think following the Tao is the secret to success, and glory and having it made, have to go back and start over. They are the people who rush to embrace "the prosperity gospel," as a quick and easy way of getting what they want. What they want is the first thing that has to go, in following the Tao and in being Christians. Our Way (My Way NOW!) has to be sacrificed in service to The Way (the Tao, the way of the Christ). Try living, say two minutes, without doing it your way. What does a bull ride last? Eight seconds? We can't last that long not doing it our way! Doing it our way is second-nature to us. It is the only way we know of doing it, whatever "it" is. And, it is what has to go in living in accord with Tao, with Christ. Which means that we have to live out of the silence always. We find The Way by being still, quiet and empty. That is the practice that takes us into the heart of Tao, and of Christ. Practice being still, quiet and empty. Throughout the day, every day. When you get that down, you will be one with Tao and with Christ. And it won't be what you have in mind. Being empty means having nothing in mind. Uh-oh.