thank you for the post.
Hello V, thanks for the info. I did a bit of research on the topics you mentioned, and it is becoming clearer. My translation of the Tao also is becoming clearer, some of the things being said are so true like chapter 38, but the way it is explained is genius.
i agree. i still recall the emotional experience of reading the Tao Te Ching for the first time. it was a paradigm changing experience as far as such things apply.
In this context I am starting to see some parallels with christianity, for example the polarities of living/behaving under grace or under the law but I feel that the Tao is much more straightforward and clear in this, and also more universal as human nature is much more explicit in it.
i, too, found some commonalities betwixt the two traditions. that said, i tend to find a great deal of commonality amongst the worlds religious paradigms. there are some exceptions, of course, and much of the doctrine is different between them so it is in the area of morality and ethics that i tend to find the parallels.
One thing I am still at unease about is the whole ego business:
1) Psychological therapies vary, but in general their main aims are repairing the ego, increase self awareness, and to put the ego in a place of balance. Healing takes place more often than not through people (or indirectly by people), damage caused by human beings has to be repaired by other human beings.
When you are talking about becoming the ego-less one, do you repair the ego first or do you skip this process altogether?
it really depends on if one is approaching this from a Western hemisphere psychological point of view or an Eastern Hemisphere psychological point of view. a being cannot become an 'ego-less one' for the whole notion of "one" is tied up with the ego to begin with.
with regards to Tao, the ego is a part of the conditioned physical form and, as such, one is often instructed to return to a "child-like" state which includes mental and physical flexibility and non-ego, as a baby would possess.
it is said that all the other religious paths teach the path of Leaving whereas the Tao is the path of Returning.
naturally, i should point out, that the views which i express are my views and mine alone. they are based on reading and practice and should not be considered to be correct unless you verify them for yourself.
beings can certainly help one with regards to healing psychological trauma however it is ones own being that must finally engage in the effort to effect the healing, in my view.
2) The effort /striving part of the deal, which is present in all religions that I know of, and which is something that I personally dislike, especially when it is prescribed.
many people do yet i always find it somewhat strange. would you dislike the idea of practice to become a more skilled football player? religious "practice" is precisely that and, like every skill, one becomes more skilled and adept through proper practice.
When you suggest that one should train towards this path of the ego-less, isn't that an effort of the ego?
in my view this would be dependent upon the motivation or intention that a being has to begin the practice. if one engages in the practice with, for instance, a hope that they will be able to make money and use others to gain political influence, i would suggest *that* is a practice which is motivated by ego.
Yet this principle of inaction is the opposite of striving and effort, and how do you achieve anything without working for it, do you see the dilemma.
well, think of it in this manner.
when you first begin to learn to play the piano your skill is quite small and with practice and time, ones skill grows and blossoms. during this time it is quite possible to read a symphony and, though appreciating it, one is not able to play it yet. we can see how wonderful it will be once we have mastered the techniques to play the notes; until then we can only listen to others play them
this is similar to how both the Taoist wu wei and the Buddhist equanimity are presented. they are not teachings that one can simply "pick up" by reading a few texts on it and it is mostly due to the conditioning which our consciousness has undergone which prevents us from doing so. as such, we must engage in an active participation in our practice to achieve any sort of attainment. i suppose that it should be said that there are paths which are more quick or more slow and though we may all wish to take the quick path, we may not be able to do so. nevertheless, with determination and resolve we will arrive at the end of the path as well
both traditions assert that one can gain a valid congition of the teachings and, in Buddhist parlance, "enter the stream". in both traditions the emphasis is placed on the practice for that is the most direct and, in my view, effective means of gaining the Peach and crossing to the Other Shore.
generally speaking Taoist texts use the term "hard work" not to be indicative of physical effort, rather, that the work is difficult since it is an internal cleaning of the consiousness and acquired behavior.
People that have a genuine passion achieve great things without being burdened but they are still under the influence of the ego, and I feel that this principle of inaction is different and beyond that.
So in simple words, how do you achieve effortlessness effortlessly?
have you ever watched a skilled craftsman make something? when i watch a glass blower or blacksmith create from raw material it seems so effortless for them yet they were not born knowing how to do this. in many cases it takes years of practice and dedication to become skilled at ones craft though some take to it like ducks to water, as they say. we call these prodigies (sp?) and stand awestruck by their talent. nevertheless, for the rest of us, we can train and become talented and effortless in our endeavor should we so desire.
Something else, I just thought of the christian/western concept of love, there is nothing more freeing than love, it frees you from the fear of society/family/mankind/death/etc, could you argue that the effect of love has on people has some similarities with the way of the Tao, I'm not saying it is necessarily the same, just seems to have similar results. I am thinking that love reachs out, wei-wu-wei not necessarily. What do you think?
i think that i have a different understanding of the emotional response called "love"
that's no worries though.. the way that love seem to me is that it is an emotional response that is shared between human beings and higher primates (google Koko the Gorilla for more) that is based on several factors, not least of which is the other beings response to you and so forth.
most often, when i hear people describe their feelings of love, what it seems that they are describing is the opening of the Heart Chakra but thats my own bias showing through there