Thursday, September 24, 2009

Verse 70: Look Inside

Verse Seventy
My teachings are easy to understand
and easy to put into practice.
Yet your intellect will never grasp them,
and if you try to practice them, you'll fail.
My teachings are older than the world.
How can you grasp their meaning?
If you want to know me,
look inside your heart.

~ Stephen Mitchell translation ~
Humans are social creatures. Not a one of us could survive without being nurtured by others. We need our families and friends to draw strength from and to provide a shoulder to cry on when times are tough.

In order to live together in society, we need rules, parameters and, in some cases, a "social contract". We need to obtain the skills of socialization and we're instructed in these ways by our families, religions, schools and even the government. Yet, despite all these many facets of external learning, the most basic lessons of being a person in this universe come from no other place that inside ourselves.

There is no book, blog, video or teacher that can uncover the secrets written inside our own hearts. To be certain, there is no issue with seeking the counsel of others, but, at the end of the day, we have all we need already. It's there in its utter simplicity.

I think the simplicity factor goes a long way toward explaining way we so often overlook it! We live in a complex society that revels in its own complexity. Simplicity is too often viewed as ignorance or ineptness, but, as Nina Correa sees it:
We try to make life so complicated, don't we? It seems like we're always looking for some problem to solve. Maybe that's because we've been told all our lives that we're only valuable human beings if we can solve a problem? So, we create problems that aren't even there? Laozi suggests how simple life can really be if we don't go around looking for ways to complicate it.
And how do we complicate things again and again? By letting our egos occupy the driver's seat! We allow our wants and desires to control our thoughts and movements. Instead of living effortlessly, we try to manipulate and force life to match our wills and this creates untold amounts of friction, conflict and stress wherever we go.

In a manner of speaking, our egos are the part of us most influenced by outside forces. It is the part of our being that soaks up all the information that's shared with us through the socialization process. But, as Nina Correa cautions,
Do you look to parents, teachers and Masters to tell you what you should do in order to have a happier and more fulfilling life? All those people have done is listen to those who preached to them, and then pass on the rules that were told to them. Do you think they have any greater understanding of what life's about than you do?
If you want to know the way to live your life in touch with Tao, look inside. The message has always been there waiting for you.

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

1 comment:

  1. "Not a one of us could survive without being nurtured by others."

    A schizoid could:

    I was once diagnosed with schizoid. Although I have some of those symptoms usually and most of them from time to time, I don't think that diagnosis was correct. It's interesting, though.


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