Tag Archives: faith

The Tao Is Indifferent, But I Am Not — 010621

Early this morning, on the day historians are calling the Warterloo moment of the United States, I queried the I Ching three times.

I asked, “What should we know about Biden, radical dems and the CCP?” Next, “What should we know about President Trump?” Finally, I asked for myself, “What should I be aware of NOW?”

In sum, from its universal perspective, the Book of Change doesn’t seem to care which leader prevails. It endures, either way. Its ends will be accomplished, no matter how far humans stray from the law. The Tao is all-inclusive. It encompasses and (in the end) brings us all home.

HOWEVER, from my mortal perspective, I care deeply. I woke up today feeling heartsick and afraid, overwhelmed by the magnitude of events. To me, the gravity of immanent danger in combination with the corruption and/or cowardice of entrenched upper classes is beyond appalling.

The danger is very real to me. During WW II, my maternal grandmother’s Viennese relatives were exterminated in German death camps. As relatives who died in Stalin’s concentration camps or Mao’s equivalent all know: fated to fail as they always are, in the short-term, lustful fantasies of world domination come at a tragically high price.

First I’ll share relevant passages from the Tao Te Ching which express a sage-like overview on today’s events. Then, in the reading section, thinking it may resonate with you as well, I’ll share the answer to my personal question.

In poetic versions of Lao Tze’s Tao Te Ching, the fifth passage begins, “Heaven and Earth are heartless / treating creatures like straw dogs”.

Here, heartless doesn’t necessarily mean cruel so much as detached or indifferent. “Straw dogs” were ceremonial dolls usually discarded after their use.

Here’s how the meaning came through for me:

The first two verses of the following Passage are also to the point:

Yet, though the Tao is impartial, you can take heart from this (and have a caution):

FAMILY is the original answer to today’s personal question, “What should I be aware of NOW?” it reads”

Inside the FAMILY one learns to play out given roles. This makes later success in roles on the job and in the larger community possible. Clearly defined relationships make communication easy. Respectful cooperation with others earns trust and acceptance from the human family. Avoid roles not suited to your nature.

In my case, within the human family, I don’t have a lot to contribute to today’s DC confrontation. As much as I wish participants well, I dread crowds. I’m not suited by nature to be either an event organizer, a politician, attorney or news commentator.

So I contribute as I can, doing what I love to do . . . writing. In the long-term, there’s an underlying false paradigm driving today’s event. My eventual contribution – when folks calm down enough to wean themselves off of stimulating conflicts – may be to advocate adoption and dissemination of the correct, compete and accurate Quantum Paradigm which will correct the mistakes driving today’s chaos and eventually create a better future.

What are you suited by nature and skills to contribute? Are you actually doing it? If not, why?

* * *

Advice of the 4th Line reads, “Any attempt to serve will benefit leaders and followers equally.”

This line confirms not only that my efforts will benefit others, but that in the long-term, it’s a blessing, not a drain, for me to keep writing.

Advice heeded, the line changes to Community:

Commitment to COMMUNITY is a necessary part of individual growth. Choose leaders who can express common goals with clarity. They will know how to assign work according to ability so that all prosper. In the harmonious community, Creative Power expresses through the skillful work of individuals. Avoid all selfishness.

Community is built on the foundation of Family. Again, the issue of roles arises. And, again, I invoke Creative Power to suffuse my work with wisdom in a way others will find beneficial.

* * *

Advice of the 6th, Top Line reads: “Rise above worldly concerns. Create good work of lasting value.” This gets my personal YES!! Financial compensation would be nice, but it doesn’t motivate me. God always, miraculously, if not a moment too soon, provides. I will somehow continue to get by.

What really floats my boat is the hope that the creative work which flows through me will be found valuable in the long-term. Ever since 1977, when a School Board Association mentor made the comment, I’ve been told I’m ahead of the times. So be it. In the meantime, it’s my job to be sure what’s needed is ready and available for when the times are finally ready for me.

Advice heeded, the line changes to Completion:

Perfected actions reach COMPLETION. From this balance, however, new elements spring forth which create future imbalance. In this way, the cycles of nature are continued. This is not cause for sadness. Perfection lies in the whole life process, not in the beauty of a single peak moment. Avoid rigid attachment.

Who knows? Cycles large and small are nested, wheels-within-wheels. Certainly 2020 saw the end of a major cycle. The year 2021 marks the beginning of a new one. Will I survive to see its completion? so long as the work endures, it doesn’t matter.

Do you plan on surviving? If so, how and why?

* * *

Advice heeded, the composite of changing lines results in the final outcome of Change.

Day and night replace each other in endless cycles of CHANGE. The same natural law generates flux in human events. The unprepared see change as a threat, but the well-prepared face the unknown calmly. They know that after degeneration reaches critical mass, regeneration follows. Welcome the new. Avoid short-sighted fear.

This hexagram is the outcome of the first post, We’re At Critical Mass, in The Lessons of 2020. The year 2020 saw a culture building to a constitutional crisis. The Waterloo moment of January 6, 2021 marks its culmination.

Whatever the outcome of the election controversy, it is best to Avoid short-sighted fear.

Welcoming Change doesn’t necessarily mean liking it. It’s enough to remain open, rather than resisting whatever may come. Accepting the future brings, giving it space to evolve, leaves me open to recognize and make the best of new opportunities.

I hope you choose to remain courageously, confidently open to the opportunities in your future. May 2021 be kind to you all.

Look for The Lessons of 2020: Using the Wisdom of CHANGE to Build a Better Future later in January of 2021.

If you’d like a copy of the Common Sense Book of Change, or extras to give others, click here.

To order Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change, click here.

Okay, then. That’s all for now. Talk with you again soon. Take care, all.

History Repeats Itself – Renaissance or Another Dark Ages?

A recent post described the unfortunate end of Abelard, the medieval philosopher best known for his tragic love of Heloise.

Out of synch with his times, this celebrated cleric taught that men gain knowledge – including faith – through reason. For this, he was convicted by his monastic superiors of heresy. Abelard’s books were banned and burned. He died shortly afterwards in prison.

St. Augustine’s exclusively faith-based Rules of the Knowledge Game were balanced with Abelard’s opposite approach only after St. Aquinas harmonized the two extremes. According to the new Rules, no matter where you start, each approach leads to and reinforces the other.

This broad-based approach to knowing as a two-way street set the foundation for the flowering of arts, sciences and commerce known as the 12th Century Renaissance.

But, I suspect you’re wondering by now, is medieval history relevant NOW?

It’s highly relevant, particularly when taken in the context of patterned, repeating cycles of human behavior. Learning the basic lessons of history is an important way of leveraging the future.

Back to the 12th Century Renaissance. It was during this time of creative balance that universities evolved to replace monasteries as centers of learning.

I’ve thought about this a lot. The Origin and Future of Universities was the dissertation topic of my choice. In my proposal, I drew a bell-shaped curve that cycled above and below a median-line that represented historical times of creative balance between extremes. It looked like this:

bell curve sized

In the late 1970’s, when I wrote my proposal, universities were at a critical point of intersection. There was still a window of time left during which to mitigate a predictably dangerous direction of change, before a narrow window of opportunity closed.

Humanistic psychology and holistic health movements were leading the way towards another reintegration of faith and logic — a reconciliation of intuitive and rational ways of knowing. On the one hand, I held hopes that another creative renaissance was on the horizon. On the other, I foresaw the possibility that the curve would cross the median balance point and continue its downward slope, plunging the world into another dark ages of fanaticism and intolerance.

Departmental politics prevented me from writing the dissertation of my choice. (That story and its implications, however, are a different subject.) What’s pertinent here is the outcome. The window of opportunity has closed. Proof abounds. For example, during the Arab Spring, disillusioned Muslims who at first had welcomed violence as an opportunity for positive change were horrified at the repressive results. One Egyptian commented to a reporter that his country had entered a new dark age. News here and abroad continues to confirm that downward trend.

What remains are the mitigating possibilities open to I Ching users. The Chinese Book of Change keeps self-honest seekers in synch with the times, giving them survival insights and hints as to where to look for respite from the worst that might yet come. It keeps hope for the positive change we persist in holding dear to our hearts alive.

Here’s the key. Patterns codified in The Book of Change repeat on every scale of magnitude. That is to say, the same seasonal cycles repeat in an individual’s life. They also repeat in families, in the work place, in governments and even in the history of civilizations.

So even when the times are dangerously out of joint, individuals can still change for the better. So can intentional communities. So long as there’s this hope, it’s never to late. In the early dark ages, for example, monasteries were islands of hope, civility and sanity in a violent, barbaric world. Their equivalents might again serve the same purpose.

Further, personal, organizational and historical rhythms aren’t necessarily in synch. This explains why the same view is welcome at one place or time, but not in others. Abelard’s emphasis on reason, for example, would have been in synch in 17th century universities even though they were fatally out of harmony with beliefs held in the monastic circles of his day.

This information holds good or bad news, depending on whether it’s recognized and how it’s used. On one hand, acting as if personally preferred realities are fact, regardless of whether or not they’re in synch with the times, is unrealistic. For example, New-Agers who ardently believe the near future promises a widespread renaissance of human upliftment are quite probably mistaken. Worse, they may be misleading followers who will find themselves unfit and unprepared to survive in an increasingly intolerant, dark ages environment.

But on the other, positive side, it’s still possible, even as a dark age of fanaticism is gaining ground, to maintain personal balance. Personal renaissance – literally re-birth – is possible at any split second in time. Even when social trends are devolving into extremes, individuals aren’t required to forsake the ideal of personal integration just to fit in. In fact, personal and community survival may well depend on the capacity to maintain stable balance even in the most unbalanced of times.

Of a certainty, heightened, intentional balance will be essential to personal survival, even and especially as dark times cloud collective reason and threaten to extinguish faith.