Adjustment, Accommodation, Acceptance, Compromise are the marks of aging well. They are emphasized with references to flowing water, snow-laden Spruce trees, boats on the ocean and leaves in the wind. We do our best to make the best of what comes our way. Getting up and doing what needs to be done, no matter what, anyway, nevertheless, even so. This is the path our species walked from the jungles and the caves, the deserts and the ice ages, to right here, right now. Easy is not a part of that path. One step at a time is very much a matter of it. Walk on! Walk on! It's what we do best! If I get there first, I'll wait for you-- if you get there first, wait for me! And we can laugh together at the time we had getting together, and the times we thought we wouldn't make it at all.
I’m looking for where knowing comes from when you just know something, like when it’s time to give away your fly rods and equipment. Like we just know what the right thing to do is and we are right about it. People can be aligned with the Tao, not by trying, but by simply knowing what’s what and what needs to be done in response. We just know some things but don’t know how we know. I think the Prophets knew things in this way, and called the people to do what was right. If the Prophets had been influenced by Lao Tzu, they would have understood differently what they called “God.” The Tao Te Ching spends a lot of time talking about good and bad in a yin/yang kind of way. Living aligned with the Tao is like living aligned with God’s will without having to imagine God as a human being the way we all ought to be human beings. The Tao doesn’t pick sides or play favorites, yet those who live in accord with the Tao have an easy time letting be what is and doing what needs to be done about it, anyway, nevertheless, even so. Abraham Heschel and Reformed Theology, with their, “God this,” and “God that”, as though God is a concrete, actual, spiritual being, soon wear thin with me. They are talking about their idea of God, the way God would be if God were God t he way God ought to be God. “Just shut up,” I say to them, “and sit quietly for a while.” Emptiness, Stillness and Silence are the way to the way, which makes them the way. I see “the pathos of God,” (Heschel's phrase) as being shared among all people who know of the way and of how it is not being followed at any point in time. But, I think the Tao is beyond pathos, and just keeps doing its thing, which is not doing anything at all but being what it is, waiting, waiting, waiting for those who know what it is to seek it out and live in accord with it, joining it in letting be what is and doing what needs to be done about it as they are able, as best they can… My task in the ministry was a path that led me here/now, but there is only so much a person can do for another person, in that the Tao is a very personal matter that cannot be told, or said, or explained beyond “Emptiness, stillness, silence.” “Balance and harmony.” “Spirit, energy, vitality.” “Yin/Yang.” “The One (The Source, the Tao) produced the Two (Yin/Yang) and the Two produced the Three (Heaven and Earth and Human Beings) and the Three produced all that is.” “Darkness within darkness. The gateway to mystery.” … This is not a mass movement of awakening world-wide, or even congregation-wide. “Listen to me,” I said, during my preaching years, “when I say, ‘Do not listen to me! Listen to YOU!’” That was my sermon, heard only by those with ears to hear. Which is the way it is. Which is the way. Which is all I’m still saying. Heard only by those with ears to hear that are evoked into hearing by those saying what they know needs to be said whether anyone hears or not. That is the Tao in action. In life. In real life. Real time. A mystery that makes no sense.
I take Yoda to be the polar opposite of Dr. Spock. And am certain that we would be better off with Yoda running the show. The catch is that Yoda would have nothing to do with running the show. Yoda knows. "It is easier to conquer a country than to run a country," (Genghis Kahn). Because in running a country you have too many people to keep happy. And you cannot teach the people to make themselves happy-- to be responsible for their own happiness. It is the place of the people to know that happiness doesn't come from having or doing, but from being. Being happy stems from the right way of being. And no one can tell anyone the right way to be happy. They have to know it for themselves. It is a inside job. Where does knowing come from? From emptiness, stillness and silence. From observation and recognition. From realization and comprehension. From seeing, hearing, understanding. From being at one with the Tao. At one with the Source of life and being. The people who make the journey from here to there are the people who know what's what and what needs to be done in response, and do it when, where and how it needs to be done, without being told to, because it needs to be done, and it needs them to do it with the original nature that is theirs and the innate virtues they have had since birth, waiting for this moment to evoke in them the need to do what is needed, for the joy of doing it and the satisfaction of having done it, in each situation as it arises all their life long. The trouble with this process is that we have minds of our own, and our own fears and desires come into play to call us away from doing what needs to be done into the service of having their own way, and that's all it takes for the show to devolve into turmoil and chaos for ever after. I asked my physician once why people don't listen to their doctors, and he said, "People have minds of their own." The sole reason things are as they are. Around the world, across the universe. To the end of time, and perhaps beyond.
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