The Tao of Dark Sages
by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
Sue-tzu is not feeling well and asked me to see you all this morning. But I am not sure why I am here before you. Why are you here?
Good morning Mark-tzu! Sue-tzu gave us homework and told us to come back this morning.
Good morning, Scott-tzu. If Sue-tzu told you to come then I guess we should deal with your ‘homework.’ But still, I don’t understand why you are here in the first place. Why are you here?
Like what I told Sue-tzu yesterday — we hoped you’d teach us. And this led to the assignment to understand and experience what it means that hope is the same as despair.
But we won’t teach you. We have nothing to teach. So, your hopes are dashed — which is fortunate for you, since now you can realize the futility of hope!
With respect, Mark-tzu, we’ve heard that before. Sue-tzu told us the same years ago and in the end she consented to teach us by way of pointing toward the moon.
Is it possible that Sue-tzu might have grown in wisdom since then and come to see the error of her ways? As Bob Dylan sang of his former political beliefs: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now!”
I suppose, but she did start teaching us yesterday! And she asked you to do the same today!
Alright, then. I teach. Why are you here? ‘To be taught’. Why do you think that being taught will help you? Nellie?
Good morning, Mark-tzu. When I first sat before Sue-tzu I had not a clue how I could overcome my depression and sense of hopelessness; and she started me on a path that has led to real peace. So, her teaching helped me. She taught me how to help myself. So why don’t I? Just help myself? Because I seem to have come to a plateau and can’t quite seem to move further on.
Yet you know that what you seek does not reside in me or anything I can teach you. It does not reside in us or anything arising from our discussions. It resides in you and you alone. It is your awaken-ing, Nellie, and no one and nothing—not even the Unknown — can make it happen for you.
There is no ‘message’ or ‘formula’ or ‘transference’ or ‘divine intervention’ that can do it for you. A verse from the Bible comes to mind, even though it is fraught with mis-direction: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling!” You’re on your own, Nellie; unless your conscious experience differs radically from mine.
Yes. But ‘all truth is paradoxical’, Mark-tzu. And there is some dialectic involved here; what you have just ‘not taught’ me has ‘taught’ me a lot. Maybe ‘facilitator’ is a better word than ‘teacher’.
If you're interested in reading more from this series by Scott Bradley, go here.