Finally it’s done! Like the Tao Te Ching’s “A tree barely embraceable grows from a fine tip” [#64], this project began nearly 60 years ago. Now, perhaps it may serve as a “fine tip” to help you approach what chapter 16 and 52 describe as “Nearly rising beyond oneself”.
Who are you? Before answering, consider the influences you’ve been inundated with all your life: politics and religion, facts and traditions — all the ins and outs of civilization. Deeper down come the personal needs and fears, desires and worries, friends and enemies, loves and hates… everything that is possible to name and remember! All these elements make up who you think you are.
Now, what would it feel like to return to who you were before taking on all this cultural ‘baggage’? As much as you’d like, you can’t just discard the cultural story bred into you from birth. Returning to an impartial original self needs to be undertaken over time in order to replace the cultural ‘offspring’ with the ‘origin’. As the Tao Te Ching (#52) hints, “Already knowing its offspring, return to observe the origin. Nearly rising beyond oneself.”
TaoistThought‘s 288 short essays gradually grind away at cultural baggage by addressing various aspects of daily life from a Taoist point of view. Read one short essay every few days and sleep on it. Drawing this process out over a few years gives your sub-conscious mind a chance to see outside its biased cultural box.
TaoistThought provides much outside-the-box grist for your mind’s mill. You provide the grains of experience — your stories, ideals, beliefs and biases. The Tao Te Ching (#16) describes this journey to rising beyond our biases…
Knowing the constant allows, allowing therefore impartial,
Impartial therefore whole, whole therefore natural,
Natural therefore the way.
The way therefore long enduring,
Nearly rising beyond oneself.
Honestly, this journey is actually just exchanging your old ‘baggage’ for new ‘baggage’. Frankly, the human mind needs baggage (a story), otherwise it goes crazy. The ideal baggage to carry is stuff that doesn’t burden your life, but rather lightens the load of living. A Taoist story provides that for anyone ready to trade in their biases for greater impartiality. Not surprisingly, this journey unfolds gradually. As chapter 64 also observes, A thousand mile journey begins below the feet. For me, arriving ‘there’ is irrelevant, only the journey feels meaningful.
If you are interested, here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1722202033.