Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If We'd Only Look

When most people question me about Taoism, one of the first comments they make goes something like this: I've vaguely heard of it, but I don't recall reading or hearing anything specifically about it. In other words, unless a specific idea or concept explicitly is denoted as "Taoist", far too many people fail to recognize it.

But Taoist principles are all around us, if we'd only look.

Here's a great example. I recently got a book from the library, "Wildlife in the Garden" by Gene Logsdon. Though I've only read the first few pages, I would be utterly shocked if the word Tao, in all it's various forms, appears anywhere in this book. Though this precise word most likely will not appear, Taoist principles have permeated the first 20 pages or so.

This section on page 14 really encapsulates the Taoist perspective on life rather well:
In a very real sense, no creature loses life, but instead is constantly reabsorbed into other forms of life. Real death can come only through a final, fatal disruption of the food web itself. This is the vision, the place of ecology: to witness and defend the sacredness of the natural web of life. It is a vision that is neither totally scientific nor religious, but one that combines both the pragmatism of the former and the solace of the latter. There is a way in which we can live forever, says the ecologist, if we will but preserve the inviolability of the web of life.
So, if you want to learn more about Taoism and Taoist thought, it's not altogether necessary to find materials explicitly about the topic. You only need to keep your heart and mind open to the bounty around you. Most sources will impart the basic ideas without ever identifying it as such.

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