The way begets one; one begets two; two begets three; three begets the myriad
I’ve noticed through the years that what ever I’ve spent time working on seemed to follow a similar course, regardless of the apparent difference, i.e., welding versus playing flute. At first and on the surface they seem totally different. But my journey through them is the same; it is a journey from awkwardness and chaos to simple elegance. It’s like retracing the way. Going from myriad to three, to two, to one, and finally closing in on the way. This all seems to be a matter of my perspective. Expectations, desire, forcing it, and so on all make for chaos and obliterate my awareness of the way.
The myriad creatures carry on their backs the yin and embrace in their arms the
yang and are the blending of the generative forces of the two.
This speaks directly to how inseparable reality is. When I look at a coin, it’s easy to see the unity of opposites. The ‘heads’ is on one side and the ‘tails’ on the other and it’s both sides that make the whole reality of the coin. A coin with just one side is unthinkable. Yet, the mind has the greatest difficulty comprehending (or accepting?) how ALL things, like the coin, are the blending of the generative forces of the two, yin and yang. Instead, we are instinctively driven to choose sides: good without bad, health wihtout illness..
I notice this effect in life, when I can slow down enough to pay attention to what’s going on deep within me (and others). For example, I push forward with ambition when I feel ‘things’ slipping away. A general sense of loss drives action toward gain. Conversely, when I feel stuffed, and over the brim, I seek to retreat, procrastinate and slack off. Knowing that counter forces within drive surface forces helps moderate judgments and see the other side. Hasty one sided judgments lead to hasty reactions and stress—what a waste.
The correlations illustrate the co-“generative” nature of yang and yin. Pondering correlations deeply brought me to realize how thorough and fundamental this blending really is. Whatever I perceive now gives me pause, for I know that what I’m sensing is a counter-point to a dimly visible underside.
We are biologically programed to judge a book by its cover. We embrace in our arms the yang while oblivious to carrying on our backs the yin. I suppose under natural primordial conditions, that was the most effective approach, survival wise. Those who didn’t react fast enough (“yang”) perished. Under civilization, almost the opposite is true. I get into far more trouble through acting too fast than too slow. The more I see reality as a blending of the two generative forces, the wiser my actions.
There are no words which men detest more than ‘solitary’, ‘desolate’, and
‘hapless’, yet lords and princes use these to refer to themselves.
As long as I aspire to climb upward, I’m surrounded by those below me and those above me. I’m able to escape life; I can make excuses, blame those above, ridicule those below, turn to ‘mommy’, and just generally ‘pass the buck’. As I become the lord of my life, there is no one to blame anymore, I take responsibility and do what I must—duty becomes inevitable. Which is why I’ll describe myself as ‘solitary’, ‘desolate’, and ‘hapless’. It is also why I must return to the way to endure. The multitude all have a purpose. I alone am foolish and uncouth. I alone am different from others, And value being fed by the mother [see ch. 20].
Thus a thing is sometimes added to by being diminished and diminished by being
Rushed activity fits in with this well. Most action is diminished by being added to through haste. Haste make waste. When I think of art (any form), a thing is sometimes added to by being diminished sure comes to mind. My instinct which insists that ‘more is better’ is the enemy of balance, elegance and perfection. Knowing when to stop takes long to learn.
Christ said: ‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.’ I’ve found loss to be very freeing deepening experience, while gain tends to plug my life up—and clinging to gain even more so! Letting go is so hard. As Buddha stated in his 2nd Truth: ‘The illusion of self originates and manifests itself in a cleaving to things’. Anything that seems to diminish self triggers my survival instinct, even if it’s just the illusion of self that’s threatened. The beauty and the justice of this is that when I surrender this self illusion, my life is added to by being diminished. Of course, to do this means to actually let go of stuff which is what bolsters up the illusion of self in the first place.
What others teach I also teach. ‘The violent will not come to a natural end.’ I
shall take this as my precept.