I've been contemplating a New Year's resolution, to go eremetic, to stop ruminating, to stop reading, to stop Facebooking, YouTube-ing, blogging, forum-ing, basically, turning inward to paint and play music, drink tea (and a little Nigori) and contemplate clouds and rainbows from my lanai, with some qigong and meditation thrown in at appropriate times. A simple, quiet lay-Taoist lifestyle. I was even ready to ask Trey to take me off the masthead here, saying "So long and thanks for all the fish."
Part of this is due to too much participation, too much red dust and noise, even though much of it has been Tao-talk-related. Pose a simple question, raise a simple point, and you get arguments, sanctimony, tutelage and weird flavors of Tao (Advaita Tao, Zen Tao, socio-political Tao, quantum physics Tao, self-transformation Tao, self-negation Tao, TCM Tao, environmental, cultural, esoteric, orthodox, hippie, new-age Taos...it goes on and on.)
In just the past week, not just on The Rambling Taoists, but in other forums, there have been deep and sometimes disturbing discussions and postings -- some of which leave me feeling like I'm the receptionist in the waiting room of a mental health clinic -- about guilt, free will, karma, text translation and exegesis, authenticity of practice, Chinese vs. western, ancient vs. modern, Lao Tzu vs. Jesus. All of which suggests to me that the real truth in Taoism is the contradiction and paradoxes it allows. So many Taoisms, so many Taoists. (But just one Tao.)
Particularly perturbing to me is a notion expressed by Ta-Wan, that "We are little else than a sensitive spot in the universe." Even if this is the case -- which I'm not sure it is -- why would you want to believe it? Why would you want to act as if that is true? That we are no more than trigger hairs on a Venus fly trap, the responsive leaves of a mimosa tree? This is a genuine question, not rhetorical astonishment. Even with quoting the masters (who are in fact, just some guys, like us, with something probably lost in translation), or with reference to direct experience (to which another cannot be a party), I cannot sign on that dotted line; it leaves too much out.
We are more than amoeba…we are self-aware energy beings.
We are particle and wave.
We are matter and energy.
We are here, in space.
We are now, in eternity.
We are body, mind, and spirit.
We are human beings, feet on earth, head in heaven.
We are sentient and knowing.
We are cause and effect.
We think and feel.
We are the freedom in a deterministic universe.
We are poems that “be” and stories that “mean.”
We are science and religion.
We are technology and art.
We are certain in our uncertainty; uncertain in our certainty.
We are born and die against our will, but while living, we exercise and express will.
This I believe, and this I act.
You can check out other musings from the Baroness here.