Monday, July 22, 2013

All Things Are One VI: Fearlessness

Scott Bradley

The proof that one is holding fast to the origin can be seen in true fearlessness.
(Zhuangzi 5:10; Ziporyn)
'Confucius' continues his description of the consequences of taking onboard a full understanding of how all things are one by virtue of their universal participation in the ever-transforming. This is their "origin". What this may 'be', we do not know; nor do we need to know; it is enough to know that we do not know and to use our not-knowing as an opportunity to surrender in trust. What else is life, if not this, a spontaneous and unreflective self-affirmation?

"True fearlessness" is similarly unmediated. It is not bravery. It is not a willingness to sacrifice, to lose something in a noble cause. It is rather born of an understanding that there was never anything to lose in the first place.

Here, as with most all that Daoism has to say, the 'understanding consciousness' requires qualifications. So much seems counter-intuitive. So much seems counter-indicated. Yet, because the actual experience is understood as spontaneous, were one to have it, no qualifications would be necessary.

"True fearlessness" is not stupidity. We are not encouraged to cross the road oblivious to traffic. If it is born of the impetus to life itself, then fearlessness similarly participates in the will to life that life is. We are encouraged to preserve and nurture life so as to experience its joys to the fullest. Not being filled with fears and anxieties about face-saving, illness, death and loss is a great way to start.

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

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