Monday, March 26, 2012

Real Life Tao - Ripples in the Pond of Life

Trey Smith

As you can see, I'm taking a short break in my seeming never-ending quest to struggle through the Old Testament for the Tao Bible series. Over the past day or so, I have discussed some of the ways a person's perspective influences how they might approach and understand Taoist philosophy. As I continue to ponder these aspects, I realize that my work as a child abuse investigator, in part, was one of the factors that eventually led me to Taoism.

When dealing day-in and day-out with dysfunctional families and individuals, it becomes very clear that what we learn in our formative years exerts a great impact on the rest of our lives. Parents who today abuse and/or neglect their own children were, far more often than not, abused and/or neglected themselves when they were children. Women who today are victims of abuse from their spouses or partners are far more likely to have grown up in a home in which their mother was a victim of the same type of abuse.

What we have here is the proverbial ripple effect. Large stones or small pebbles thrown into a lake decades before cause the ripples that play out so many years later. Had that stone or pebble not been thrown, then many of these families wouldn't be in the trouble they are in now.

When I first began to study the Taoist framework, this was one of the core ideas that jumped out to grab me -- this notion that everything is connected and every singular act impacts the whole. Had I not worked as a child abuse investigator -- my very own ripple effect -- I may not have been as open to Taoism as I was.

You know, wherever we are today, it is related to where we were yesterday. We cannot divorce the people we use to be from the people we are now. Every moment creates a ripple of some size -- some large and some small. But here's the thing. When that ripple begins, we don't know its size. What appears large, may quickly peter out. What appears tiny, may one day seem like a tidal wave.

For me, this is why the Taoist sages stressed the importance of being fully aware of each moment. We never know which ripple may dramatically alter the course of our lives. If we don't pay attention, that seminal moment may seem to disappear in the blink of an eye, only to reappear when we least expect it.

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