Monday, October 28, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 23, Part 10

Trey Smith

"He whose inner being rests in the Great Serenity will send forth a Heavenly light. But though he sends forth a Heavenly light, men will see him as a man and things will see him as a thing. When a man has trained himself to this degree, then for the first time he achieves constancy. Because he possesses constancy, men will come to lodge with him and Heaven will be his helper. Those whom men come to lodge with may be called the people of Heaven; those whom Heaven aids may be called the sons of Heaven.

"Learning means learning what cannot be learned; practicing means practicing what cannot be practiced; discriminating means discriminating what cannot be discriminated. Understanding that rests in what it cannot understand is the finest. If you do not attain this goal, then Heaven the Equalizer will destroy you."

~ Burton Watson translation ~
At first blush, the author seems to be talking in paradoxes. Practicing what can't be practiced? Understanding what cannot be understood?

For me, what I think the author merely is suggesting is wu wei -- living without conscious ego-based designs. An ideal, to be sure, but one that we certainly can approximate...if we have a mind to.

To view the Index page for this series, go here.

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