For an explanation of who Brother Beatnik is go here.
One Size Fits All
By Brother Beatnik
February 21, 2004
You go to a shop and they have ready-made sizes. Whatever size you are, you must fit into one of the standard sizes and, if you don't fit in to a particular size, you must squeeze yourself. You must adapt yourself to the clothing, even if it is tight and uncomfortable.
Most religious teachings are like this. The founder has defined the size and limit of the teaching. The founder has defined all the rules and dimensions, and you must fit the 'size' of the teaching, no matter how baggy or loose the teaching is. This is the “one size fits all” approach to religion. The problem is that people come in different shapes and sizes (i.e., people are of different spiritual levels, temperaments and personalities).
What often happened in the past was that, if people didn't fit the teaching, they were accused of being the wrong shape. Therefore the drastic step of surgery was taken to make them fit the standard size. That is the shape of their life was forced to fit the shape of the teaching. Thus the body became the clothing and the clothing became the body! The secondary and primary were switched around in importance and living ones were sacrificed to dead letters. The body (the individual's life) became unimportant and the teaching (the clothing) became all-important. So, instead of tailoring the clothing to fit the body shape, people started tailoring the body to fit the clothing! Thus the clothing (teaching) became a sacred straightjacket and people were regularly sacrificed for the sake of the clothing. (A similar approach has been used in the field of medicine. If an individual did not meet the requirements of “normality”, lobotomies were performed on the brain to correct the “abnormal” behaviors.)
Teachings of Tao are not like this. Taoist sages made no final statements. They did not set limits or boundaries to Tao. All the discoveries of Tao have not been made. Sages of Tao did not ban further developments and advancement in the knowledge of Tao. Sages of Tao journeyed in the Tao, but they did not come to the end of Tao. How could they set limits to its vastness?! Thus sages have always added to the science and technologies of Tao. The poetry of Tao flows without interruption. The teaching of Tao is like a living evolving organism, not a dead fossil in a museum!
Each student of Tao is free to make his own discovery of Tao. Each follower of Tao is free to express Tao in her own life in her own unique way, through art, poetry, music, and creativity. Each practitioner of Tao is free to discover new spiritual laws of Tao. You are free to experiment with what works and what doesn't work. In the end, there are as many ways to Tao as there are people under the sky. You have to find your own way to Tao. Follow your own Inner Light and you will find your own voice. Your life is your own song. Sing your own song. You know the way.
The book of Tao is not a closed book. Tao is open-ended. You are free to write in its pages and express your spiritual understanding and intuition in its pages. The revelations of Tao are continuous. Sages of Tao have done this for thousands of years. The knowledge of Tao goes on increasing because Tao is limitless. Tao exhausts knowledge.
The teachings of Tao are not a straightjacket to confine. Teachings of Tao are like keys to free the prisoners. Teachings of Tao are like light to those in darkness. Teachings of Tao are like wings to fly. To chain yourself to the concepts of Tao goes against the grain of Tao. A bird that has tied its legs with a piece of string is limited by the length of the string. You must cut the strings of attachment, if you want to enjoy the freedom of Tao.
Fly away home!