Know the male
But keep to the role of the female
And be a ravine to the empire.
If you are a ravine to the empire,
Then the constant virtue will not desert you
And you will again return to being a babe.
Know the white
But keep to the role of the black
And be a model to the empire.
If you are a model to the empire,
Then the constant virtue will not be wanting
And you will return to the infinite.
But keep to the role of the disgraced
And be a valley to the empire.
If you are a valley to the empire,
Then the constant virtue will be sufficient
And you will return to being the uncarved block.
A mountain correlates to male and a valley to female. In a simple physical way, being on a mountain peak is precarious. A thrill may lie in going there, but once there, the only place to go is down. A valley on the other hand is safe and comfortable. Indeed, I can’t fall off a valley—how secure.
I certainly have a strong emotional bias toward the male, white, honor. These symbolize survival. Female, black, disgrace symbolize the weakness of the lower position. When I realize the biological origin of this survival bias, I can more easily avoid getting caught up in it. Sure, the emotions still surge initially, but when reason kicks in I’m more likely to defuse them with the TRUTH.
Keeping to the role of the disgraced goes against every survival driven ego instinct I have. I so much wish to be on top of life. But then I’m in constant fear of falling. However, it’s being a valley to the empire that brings deepest peace. The peaks, like life, always wear down into the valley of death. My only problem with death is that it’s a fall from life to which I desperately cling—what futility. Giving up some of this helps return me to the infinite.
I tried for years to improve upon myself. The better person I became, I thought, the further away from the role of the disgraced I could get. I failed in this pursuit of perfection and gave up. As the years go by it becomes easier to keep to the role of the disgraced. I realize I’m nothing special—just a life form here for a moment and then gone. Settling into such unimportance actually brings me closer to being the better person into which I was trying to mold myself. All that effort to BE somebody, even a ‘good’ somebody, was really an ego driven vain pursuit. And all it ever left me with was a deeper sense of isolation. When you’re on the mountain top, you are all alone.
I hold onto male, white, honor for the sense of permanency these promise. It’s nature’s trick to keep me hopping about. In the jungle this would not get out of control. But, I’m not in the jungle. Seeing through nature’s hoodwink is essential if I’m to find rest. Being a valley to the empire delivers that sense of permanency. The infinite lies there.
Keeping to the role of the female is not hard. It is like maintaining balance; to maintain balance take slight, but constant, attentiveness to the purpose at hand… and, likewise, it takes only a slight lapse to fall.
Life offers but two choices, flow along the valley or climb upward. Climbing satisfies an urge to control life. This urge is strongest when I lack trust / faith. So, maybe there isn’t a choice after all. I don’t seem to be able to will myself into deeper faith. It comes and goes by the grace of God.
I seem to do just the opposite, i.e., ‘know disgrace but keep to the role of honor’. If fact the more ‘disgrace is known’ the more earnest the facade of ‘honor’. Likewise, the deeper I know honor the easier it is to keep to the role of the disgraced.
The only time I can forgive is when I keep to the role of the disgraced. Taking the lowest position removes me from the ‘righteous race’ we run with each other.
When the uncarved block shatters it becomes vessels.
The sage makes use of these and becomes the lord over the officials.
The sage is reason (or Buddhi as the Bhagavad Gita calls it). My life is a continuous process of dealing with vessels (things). When my sage mind is awake, I can makes use of these without getting too emotionally embroiled with them. It becomes easier to make use of things without clinging to them; besides being materials, things are also ideas, people, feelings and so on. The stuff of existence.
There is a kind of viscous circle to this. If restless, then the lord is lost. [see ch. 26]. If I retain my rational sage mind, I can makes use of things without losing the lord. When restless emotions rule, my mind interprets experience to support my emotional biases. Yet, when I can see reality calm and clearly, I don’t make mountains out of mole hills; I can avoid emotional over reaction and bias. For example, getting somewhere is not a matter of life or death so I need not react as though is was. Whew, no wonder it takes so long to grow up.
The role of the lord, or king, is to provide a connecting ‘power’ between the disparate vessels of the empire. A true lord would be inclusive, not exclusive with every official finding a secure niche in the scheme of things.
Therefore the greatest cutting
Does not sever.
In order to makes use of vessels I must differentiate. When such cutting discriminations are emotionally passive, (“female” in the pure sense) they don’t sever the uncarved block. The greatest cutting allows me to distinguish one thing from another, but remain emotionally neutral. Should one act from knowledge of the constant, one’s action will lead to impartiality [see ch. 16]. When I lose this neutrality, I take sides and sever the uncarved block.
It is the way of heaven to show no favoritism. [see ch. 79]. Whenever I feel favoritism toward one side, I automatically sever myself to some extent from the other side. Being lord over all requires a rather universal acceptance. While being human must entail a certain degree of favoritism, i.e., I like bread more than rice, I can minimize emotional severing when I act from knowledge of the constant. Avoiding such exclusivity brings much more joy.
The emotions which power severing the One and choosing sides must originate in our tribal instinct. Though it also must have a lot to do with one’s fundamental sense of security. The more secure I feel, the less likely I get caught up in favoritism.
Pride, even without ambition, severs me from the whole. In order for me to be up, something else must be down. The opposite of pride is taking the lowest position which is the role of the disgraced. Here, all creation lies above me; what else can I be but the uncarved block? Giving up position and pride go against some deep survival instincts though, so I just let go when I can, and even let go when I can’t. It’s an odd kind of game, life.