Friday, March 29, 2013

The Simple Way I: The Kingdom Is Within

Scott Bradley

The Simple Way is that way espoused by Zhouzi, whom I have made up; it should not be surprising, therefore, that it is also the way I am presently working to actualize. This series will be an attempt to once again articulate what that way is, and possibly grow in it in the process.

The Simple Way proposes no definitive metaphysics. Whatever it says about Reality is not an attempt to say what it is, but to enable a kind of psycho-spiritual attitude and orientation which will help to facilitate an experience of peace and harmony. It is not about Truth and makes no claim to Truth. Like Laozi, it does not know what Reality is, so it gives it an artificial name, Dao, so as to be able to speak about what must remain utter Mystery.

The Simple Way does not envision itself as a means to uniting with something exterior to the human experience. If there is satori, it comes not as a bolt from above, but from a realization of the human potential. It may be that the human is capable of re-union with the Totality, but this is facilitated by being thoroughly human. We need not 'find' anything else.

Because it does not pursue Truth, the Simple Way does not need to discriminate between various 'ways' on the basis of their 'truthfulness'. Whatever discrimination there may be is based on efficacy, and only the individual can decide what works best for them.

At the same time, the Simple Way, like every 'way', is a particular way, and as such must understand what it is and what it is not. If, for instance, someone were to say there is a personal God to which we must submit, the Simple Way would discriminate and declare that foreign to its way of orienting itself to Reality. It would not say that this belief was 'untrue', but that it is not helpful within the context of its own approach. Whether or not it is helpful within the context of a theistic way is best left for those who espouse it to determine.

It is difficult to speak of any one dimension of this way without touching upon numerous others since they all emerge from a single vision. Here, two points are being made: First, because it is not about knowing Truth, we do not need to get it 'right' to get it. Though the view from the mountain-top might be the goal, there are many ways up the mountain.

Secondly, this way begins and ends in the human experience; it neither seeks nor requires eternal verities; it is enough to be human. To be thoroughly oneself is the ultimate. The rest will take care of itself.

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

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