Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Uglier Than Sin

Some of you may have read my post from earlier today (Wen Tzu - Verse 165, Part I) and thought, "He's finally fallen off the deep end". I certainly will acknowledge that it sounded kind of 1960s flower-power hippyish. La la la. Everything is beautiful. Don't worry, be happy. Smile and the world smiles with you.

Of course, some of you may point out that our world is beset by ugliness, bigotry, oppression and outright evil. I don't deny it; to do so would be Pollyanna, at best. There is a lot of negative energy out there and each of us is responsible for a piece of it.

But none of these perceptions cancel out my original thesis -- everyone (or thing) innately is beautiful. If all things are manifestations of the One, then all things contain the inner essence of the Way. While, in an ultimate sense, Tao is neither beautiful nor ugly, in the sense of human expression, it contains a supreme beauty of purpose. It is beautiful because it is the source of all life and, without life, none of us would be here.

One of the vexing problems in our world is that most people cover up their beauty with layers of ugliness. They lie, cheat and hurt to satisfy their ego-driven desires. In many ways, it can often look as if they have blotted out any vestige of beauty from their being. Rather than resemble the delicate aura of a spring flower, they ooze the poison of a festering wound.

But regardless of the evil committed in their names, the beauty of the One continues to reside deep within them. They can't eradicate it because to do so would mean that they would cease to exist at all (and I don't mean they would simply die in this realm).

So, when Lao Tzu implores us to treat good people and bad people in the same manner (e.g., Tao Te Ching, Verse 49), he is saying that we must look for the inner beauty in each person. It's there, somewhere. If we can find it, we may help the other person rediscover it too.


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