The whole world says that my way is vast and resembles nothing. It is because
it is vast that it resembles nothing. If it resembled anything, it would, long
before now, have become small.
A way (that) is vast and resembles nothing is the last thing my biological nature wants to hear. It, instead, wants simple clear solutions to life’s problems. I’m hungry, I want food—period. And so the world goes round, each of us grasping the obvious answer to our current quest.
This is why even the word God diminishes what it tries to speak to. It is no wonder people can entertain questions about or debate on the existence of God. If it resembles anything it becomes small enough to bicker over. I suppose the word God is like a flag in that both are symbols around which the tribe can rally around. God can be on our side in this struggle or that! How can the tribe use something that resembles nothing?
Given a choice between a way that resembles something and one that resembles nothing, I instinctually go for that which resembles something. After all, nothing is nothing, and so what use can it be. I always have nothing. Nothing is not something my instincts tell me I need. Rather, I’m always looking for something. It’s laughable. It is the way that resembles nothing that brings contentment. No wonder happiness eludes us.
I am a dual sided reality. One is small and resembles something, and before long it will die. The other is vast and resembles nothing, and so is eternal. The small side is a biological construct which pushes and pulls its way from its birth up to its death. The vast side is like a bowl within which the small side exists. As my small side approaches its end, my vast side becomes more real. It is like an eternal home which awaits me. I can see how we came upon the concept of Heaven.
I have three treasures
Which I hold and cherish.
The first is known as compassion,
The second is known as frugality,
The third is known as not daring to take the lead in the empire;
Being compassionate one could afford to be courageous,
Being frugal one could afford to extend one’s territory,
Not daring to take the lead in the empire one could afford to be lord over the
Now, to forsake compassion for courage, to forsake frugality for expansion, to
forsake the rear for the lead, is sure to end in death.
One thing I notice about taking the lead and extend(ing my) territory is that after the rush of success or victory has passed, I end up a bit depressed as though there were a death in the family. I suppose the death that occurs is the loss of the ideal or goal I had been pursuing. And the more intense that ideal, the deeper the sense of loss when I succeed. In short, realizing my dreams and ideals has never delivered me the bliss it promised.
One need or the other always drives me to take the lead and push toward a goal. It is a sense of loss or lacking that I struggle to resolve. Death is the essence of loss, and so ironically, not only is forsak(ing) the rear for the lead, sure to end in death, it also originates there. This is a circle of futility, which always leaves me back where I started.
It is only when I’m content with the way things are that I find my greatest compassion and frugality. I’ve no need to take the lead, for I’m content to follow. No wonder There is no disaster greater than not being content [see ch. 46]. I cherish these three treasures because I only have them when I’m content with loss—and this only happens when I let go and conform to the way (that) is vast and resembles nothing. Instead of struggling to hold onto life, I struggle to hold to the way.
I experience two kinds of frugal and compassion. One type is active and involves definite needs. The other is very passive. For example: if I am content with what I have, I am frugal naturally because I don’t reach out for much more. If on the other hand I cling to something for security, then I’m frugal (stingy, tight, selfish) out of fear of loss. In short: if I fear loss, I’m frugal out of fear of losing—if I’m at ease with loss, I’m frugal because I lack a need for more.
The deepest compassion I have experienced is an acceptance of loss. I can only feel loss, either my own or another’s, and remain content if I’m connected with something deeper than the ‘thing’ lost. If the loss is death, then I can only be at peace with it when I know that which is dearer to me than life itself. There is also an active compassion that feels loss and bemoans it, and strives to rectify it. This compassion is, at its heart, a struggle for my own survival but played out (projected) through another’s loss.
Death is where compassion begins. To feel loss and accept it—own it—and then go on with life is true compassion. To feel loss and fight it is like going through the throws of death. After all that, you still end with death, and meanwhile have squandered life in that futile pursuit.
Through compassion, one will triumph in attack and be impregnable in defence.
What heaven succours it protects with the gift of compassion.
I can only feel compassion when I’m at peace with myself. Being at peace, I am less prone to act impulsively. This greater mindfulness helps bring triumph in attack when I must attack.
I realized, in my late 20’s, that I lacked compassion—or at least I longed for more of it. And I had no idea how I might increase it. And I still don’t know. I have more compassion now, and it’s a gift. I had no hand in finding the compassion which I’ve found. Though, it seems directly related to how content I am. But, I had no hand in finding the contentment I’ve found. These are blessings, the lack of which makes life the roller coaster it is. It seems all I can ‘do’ in this regard is be thankful for the blessings I have. But, then even the ability to be thankful is a blessing. I’m not thankful when I’m not content. How helpless we are, and I suppose it is this very helplessness which we struggle against.