Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Way!

Trying to explain my belief in Taoism to the two Jehovah's Witnesses on my stairway yesterday got me to thinking.

How WOULD I explain what I have gotten from studying the Tao to someone who has never heard of it?

There's a lot of talk about balance and moderation and staying within the circle. About accepting change and going with the flow.

Tao means "the way." It's central theory is that we all come from the same source and return to it, hopefully learning something in the lifetime(s) in between. You might have heard of "universal consciousness." Christians probably mean something similar when they talk of us all being sons and daughters of God, that we all have God within us.

The Jehovah's Witnesses were actually interested. I told them just to substitute the word "God" in for 'Universal Consciousness." An oversimplification but something to let them know that I was getting from the Tao what they were getting from....well, honestly I didn't ask for particulars.

They seemed okay with that. And honestly, I felt at "one" with them, so whatever I am beginning to believe seems to be that which we are all looking for in our own ways and different religions. They glowed with their fervor and left me to glow in mine.

They did pose a question I found interesing. "Why are we here on this earth?" As I explained about spiritual enlightenment and personal growth (but was wise enough to leave out the multiple lifetimes part!) they asked why Our Father would have put us here if not to enjoy it? SHouldn't we enjoy life here on earth and follow the rules our loving Father has given us to serve him?

Well, I have my issues with that, since I believe (and this here is borrowing from the Hindu!) that we have chosen our OWN circumstances on this earth in order to advance our spiritual enlightenment in this world. In other words, we CHOSE this life to help us find God. But I wasn't going to argue semantics with them.

And I do like the part about enjoying our time here on earth. Food for thought.

The biggest difference between the Eastern religions I have been studying and the Judeo/Christian-Muslim beliefs is that the Eastern religions (Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh) believe that spiritual enlightenment - or God - can be found through many different paths. We choose the path - or religion - that helps us personally achieve God.

There is no one right way to find God. I like that.

I'm pleased to be getting closer to whatever it is I am seeking. I know I am getting way too "New Age" for most folks and so end with a quote from the Tao that I believe sums up what I am learning from it.

(Verse 29)
The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides in the center of the circle.

It was all mumbo jumbo to me two years ago too. But after further study (of both the Hindu Bagavath Gita and the Tao), yoga and meditation I am beginning to feel the truth of the words.

And learning that faith is a feeling more than a knowing.

You want real words? Something you can take with you into real life?

Here then, is my basic personal translation of the mumbo jumbo above.

"When other people are acting like assholes, does it really help any if you act like an asshole as well?"

Try it - I'm telling you it works!


  1. I love it, I really do. I'm very interested in different belief systems, religious and otherwise, I've just never made the time to study them. You and I have a very similar fundamental belief in that we all choose different paths to what we define as God. Nice blog post.

  2. Thanks. I only MEANT to post the last quote but then I got carried away with my thoughts.

    ET still said it best. "Be good!" The rest is detail!

  3. My motto used to be "Be as good as you can." However, I've seen in the intervening decades that the leeway there was intended to let irresponsible people off the hook. Sometime you have to accept responsibility. The Tao - and the Bible - as I understand them place the responsibility to a great extent with the individual. "Don't try to remove a speck of dust from your neighbor's eye if you have a large wooden beam in your own." The Dalai Lama says our situation here on earth is guided by our attitudes toward the people and things around us. In other words, if you are taking time sitting at a computer to read this, what do you really have to complain about?

  4. Individual responsibility. Ouch. But yeah...not blaming others. Been thinking a lot since your post on those two guys in Stuttgart. I got a good one now too. After all this talk on not letting the ego interfere and knowing it isn't all about you - just letting it flow off of you like the water from a lotus blossom kind of stuff. I called the school today to ask HOW to abmeld. And got the line on Schulpflicht. It took a few choice words - to the principal - until I remembered to breath and move forward. Honestly- it felt GREAT! To move on yes, but to momentarily vent my anger at the small-mindedness. So- I definitely have a WAYS to go - but at least I am working on it. And yes, there is a BLOG there!

  5. PS - I never did thank you. Remember the meeting two Aprils ago when we were all supposed to list ten things noone else knew about us? Well, that's when YOU mentioned Taoism. never know when and where you find your guides.

    In return, I also strongly recommend the Bhagavad Gita. Am now on the Upanishads too. Some lines are very Tao-like. (Although my Hindu friend says the Buddhists misunderstood!)

    I think I MAY be a Hindu, not a Taoist.....but hard to know until I actually find a teacher. In the meantime, no need to label, just following the path wherever it leads!

    Thanks for getting me started though.

    (Oh- and yoga helps too - if you have the energy and patience to bear with the beginning, after a certain pahse you do go beyond the physical aspects of it and reach a higher understanding of it. Oh - and I am barely started on that path too. BUt already excited as to where it leads!