Monday, February 22, 2010

319 - Go Fish

Tao may be known as directly as water is knowable to a fish. My Tao will not be the same as your Tao. We are both individuals, with different backgrounds and thoughts. As soon as Tao enters into us, it takes on the colors of our inner personalities. When it passes out of us, it returns again to universal nature. This is an ongoing and constant process, like water flowing through a fish's gills.
~ from 365 Tao: Daily Meditations, Entry 319 ~
I think this passage well illustrates one of the chief differences between most religions and philosophical Taoism. While the former tend to instruct the faithful in the importance of external perceptions and absolute truth, Taoists realize that perceptions and truth are different for each individual.

This is why there are no creeds, rituals nor scriptures for philosophical Taoists! All such things are based on externalities. What speaks to one person may not speak to the next.

Of course, this emphasis on individuality is downright frightening to many people. We're taught that there is safety in numbers and that the person who chooses to go it alone will have no safety net if he/she finds themselves in peril. While I would agree that there certainly is some truth to this fear, a group can just easily find themselves in peril without an adequate safety net too.

Our lives are an adventure. Our journeys are not for the weak of heart. There will be hard times ahead and instances when we're unsure of which fork in the road to take. If we are open to the Way, we can find the right path.

No one else -- no matter the sincerity of their intentions -- can do it for us.

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