Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Simple Way III: Yes

Scott Bradley


One thing I think can be said of the Simple Way is that it is, in fact, simple. What could be simpler than 'Yes'?

'Yes' represents the unconditional affirmation of all that is. It is what Byron Katie calls "loving what is". It is the awareness that all is well. This wellness is not conditional; it does not require that we make it so, or that we are aware that it is so; it is so. Yet 'wellness' does not truly exist outside the human interpretive mind; it is an orientation of that mind in trust toward what is necessarily beyond its understanding. In the end, trust in wellness has no 'reasons', just as the flower has no reason to turn its face to the sun — what we explain, it does because it is its nature to do so. Life is affirmation. In affirming life, we live it; in living it, we affirm it. 'Yes' is ultimately an instinctual agreement with what is, and therefore is itself an expression of what is. It is harmony. And, as Zhuangzi says, "it adds nothing to life." It is life. This is the essence of simplicity.

'Yes' may begin as a cognitive assent, but can also become who we are. At least I believe so; for it has yet to become who I am. Still, we all have 'moments'.

What the Simple Way 'lacks' is a method. Somewhere in the Zhuangzi it says that the "sage has no need of methods". This is to be expected of a sage, but how did she become so? Perhaps it was by some method, but the key word here is the indefinite 'some'. It is curious how so many commentators seem desperate to discover a subtextual method in the Zhuangzi and Laozi. We are told that these sages most certainly must have pursued some form of meditation, the pervasive knowledge of which precluded any need to make definitive mention of it. Better, to my thinking, to leave things as they are: ambiguous.

Discover the 'method' that works for you. That's part of the adventure. And, in the end, perhaps that's the only end, to live the adventure without an ‘end’. For, as Wang Fuzhi tells us, "there is nothing but this wandering".

You can check out Scott's writings on Zhuangzi here.

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