Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Simple Way I: Embracing the Mess

Scott Bradley


I call my evolving philosophy of life The Simple Way and most all I write here is an attempt to articulate it using other ways as a springboard to that end. Here, and in the posts that follow, I hope to articulate it more fully.

As usual, clarifying disclaimers seem to be in order. The first is by way of apology for the personal character of this endeavor. This is about me, because it is my philosophy. It cannot be anything other. This is its downside — no one likes to read a pile of personal, introspective blabber. Yet what I say here may be of value to you in the development your own philosophy of life. This is its upside — this Simple Way is the way for only one person on planet earth and makes no claim to be otherwise. It is not truth.

Rather than making further disclaimers, I will begin by explaining how this way is fundamentally about embracing and transcending this mess; in that way it makes no claim to any special 'spirituality'. I am a mess. It is probably the case that I am no more a mess than you — possibly less so — but that is immaterial; what matters is that I understand how that I am a mess. How so? Suffice it to say, for instance, that I speak of harmony because I express so little.

Zhouzi, my fictional master of the Simple Way, asks, "So what?" What does your mess have to do with the unconditional reality of your inclusion in an all-embracing Dao? There are, quite simply, no conditions to meet. It is already true of you, just as you are. No 'betterment' is required. No battles need be fought and won. At any and every discrete moment, no matter how you judge yourself to be, all is well in you just as it is everywhere and in everything. It is possible for this to be more than an idea; it can permeate and liberate your being in the world.

And when it has, transformation arises. "Arising" is what happens without our making it happen. It is wu-wei (strugglelessness) and ziran (spontaneity).

We walk two roads. Embracing the mess is not an endorsement of messiness; it is its remedy. Only we realize this healing naturally, not as if by way of some primitive self-abusing surgery. The road of self-cultivation is always informed by the road of total self-acceptance and affirmation.

Thankfulness arises.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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