Now I need to broach the subject about going against our grain. Since Tao is traditionally about going with the flow, I am very sensitive about sharing the contrary and committing potential blasphemy, but I got to go with my flow.
A grape needs to be squeezed and transformed to produce wine and so does our ego identity. Unfortunately, there are many spiritual eluding paths before for us that avoid this grape-ego-press.
Typically, water flows down the path of least resistance. It cleaves to the easiest trail as it flows, and stays away from everything else as much as possible. In one sense, it resists clashing with any kind of opposition while flowing around and down the most comfortable path it can find. In a bigger sense, it is actually going against the natural flow of gravity, as it maneuvers around things instead of going straight through them.
Likewise, many spiritual philosophies seek a path that stays away from conflict, and lives only within a self-serving and “egoic preservation” comfort zone. This is done in the name of going with the flow. Add a little embellishing condiment to this and call this state of mind, becoming egoless.
Please do not misunderstand what I am trying to convey here. I am not saying that there isn’t a time when we sit with passivity and do not act upon a situation. I am saying that human beings “conveniently” take this thinking to extremes to avoid life’s ingenious winepress, and the deconstruction of ego.
When socializing and interacting with people, this type of thinking would rather hide, by taking on this passive spiritual egoless character identification, then stir up potential revealing conflict.
A socially disengaged individual never says and does anything wrong. Hmmm…. I wonder why? This person may say, “why interact with conflict, that’s not spiritual”, instead of interacting and experiencing potential discord, the winepress upon one’s ego, and the conniving lie about oneself being realized.
Is the path of a Taoist about controlling and avoiding ego, or exposing ego?
“I will just go with the silent Tao-flow of no conflict, floating on the wings of the indescribable, into the vastness of nothingness, and not get involved with this ego stuff”, this thinking might say. “I will go the way of emptiness”. My gosh, what an ego-trip, disguised as being egoless!
Is the path of the Taoist just a way to suppress, subdue, and abstain from ego? Is this the same as the water seeking the path of least resistance, like a grape avoiding the winepress?
You have heard it said, “Quiet the mind” but I say “Stir up the mind” and see what floats to the surface. You may have also heard, Honor your Mother and Father, but I say, tell your Mother she is a bitch, your Father that he is an asshole, and explain to them why this is.
Let’s come clean and get real with ourselves. Stop Tao-tiptoeing around the elephant in the living room. Stop living under the Maya-Veil of a bunch of diplomatic lies, especially about ourselves. Don’t hide thyself. Plunge into the winepress.
So a question to ask is; which flow of the two paths do we choose to float down? Flow number one, where we maneuver around things including ourselves, like water, or flow number two; allowing the natural gravity flow of honest expression to live, totally and authentically embracing what is, whatever that is, even if it becomes a disruptive vat, that crashes against the grain of our ego and others?
I personally think it is a balancing act of a learned skill to know; when to choose the path to surrender into passivity, or taking the other path of surrendering into truthfully speaking your mind.
With much practice, eventually this skill is sharpened further, with both paths flowing together simultaneously into one river of no-thought Tao expression. I wonder what that would look like.
Let us all with bravery turn to this page of the living book of life.
You can check out Shawn's other musings here.