The Pedestal of Holiness

cc image by +kev on Flickr

cc image by +kev on Flickr

Reflections on Chapter 19 of the Tao Te Ching:

Eliminate holiness
and abandon wisdom,

and everyone will benefit
a hundred times over.

Eliminate philanthropy
and proper behavior

and the people will return
to true devotion.

Eliminate cleverness
and abandon profits,

and thieves will disappear.

These three things are false adornments.
Recognize the simplicity
of embracing one’s natural state of being.

Stop seeking knowledge
and you will remain above worry,

Setting aside your self-interests and desires.

There is a certain energy that is there with holiness. It brings out the not holy.

If someone is on a diet, another person might be tempted to not be on a diet. It brings out that opposite. One of the things he talks about is the thieves. The thieves will disappear when you are not into your stuff. If you are not all high and mighty about your stuff, thieves will disappear. There is a desire to knock someone off their shelf. If you are not on a shelf, and you are just doing what you’re doing and you don’t have that energy around being on a shelf – then people don’t want to knock you off it. If you have a stance of holiness, people want to be unholy around you. It’s irritating. So they want to not be holy. Anytime you are on a stand about something, it makes people just want to be the opposite of what you are – just because. Just because it feels like they are not supposed to be that and they get upset about that. So there’s definitely some interesting patterns that go together there and he is highlighting them in Chapter 19.

Everyone wants to be good.

I think what happens is that people are striving for that, they judge themselves when they are not holy and that reflects in how they treat other people. I think that you can assume that anytime you have a judgement against other people, it is a judgement against yourself. They are two sides of a coin. Yin and yang. You are judging yourself and you are judging them. We are all connected so if we are pushing down one aspect of ourselves, being in the form of another person, then we are pushing out that side of ourselves.  What is happening is cause and effect. You push something and then it comes back. It is a natural pattern. It is karmic. That is just how things move in the Universe. So if you push at something, it is going to bounce back. That is why people want to knock people off their pedestal. It is just part of that whole pattern.

Try to just recognize both sides of yourself. Notice how you have moments when you are feeling philanthropic. Notice your energy around being in that space. Do you look around you and look at people that aren’t philanthropic and judge them? Did you really want to answer that question with a no? Sometimes you do judge. Sometimes you might just be enjoying the space. If you are being honest with yourself, you will have moments when you judge people. It is human nature. Just notice these things.

A lot of people would love to be wealthy.  As we climb the financial ladder, there is a tendency to judge people who are not quite as high. Again, it’s human nature to have judgments. It’s not about making yourself wrong about it, it’s just about noticing that patterns. If you pay attention to a pattern enough times, something will shift. These patterns shift as we start to recognize them.

It is all just a practice in becoming conscious of our patterns.

What are you doing each day and which of those things are valuable and you want to keep them and which of those things are things you would like to shift? It’s not about judging yourself for a pattern. When you judge yourself with a pattern, it actually sets you back. It doesn’t move you forward. The better practice would just become aware of it and to even laugh at yourself. We all do it. All of these things. We all do them at some point or another. It’s human nature. We are an evolving species. We can’t evolve if we don’t recognize what we are doing.


So what do you think of all of this? What have you been on a pedestal about? Lets have some fun and admit our judgments. Do you have any you want to share?  Please share your comments in the space below!


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  1. A really interesting post with lots of things for people to think about.
    athena Brady recently posted…Is walking a spiritual exercise?My Profile

  2. Judging…always an interesting topic. I am guilty of it myself and your point about everyone wanting to be good is so true. That’s really all it is about.
    Michele Bergh recently posted…4 Reasons Your Business Needs A Dresser TodayMy Profile

  3. To me, it’s really about letting go of expectations. If you simply act from choice without the concern for reciprocity (or akin behavior from others), you’re getting closer to your truth – and peace. Am I guilty of judgement and expectations? Sure! But I find the happiest moments come from simply being real and comfortable with individual decisions that come from my center, regardless of how others react.
    Nanette Levin recently posted…Marketing and monsters, oh my!My Profile

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