Reflections on Chapter 25 of the Tao Te Ching:
There is a primaeval force
that existed before Heaven,
Before Earth was born.
Standing alone yet never changing –
It permeates everything and never nears its end.
It could thereby be considered
the Mother of the world.
I do not know its name –
I call it Tao.
For lack of a better word, I would call it Great.
Being great, it is far-reaching.
Being far-reaching, it goes very far.
Going far, it must return.
Thus, Tao is great.
Heaven is great.
Earth is great.
Womankind is also great.
In the Universe, there are four great ones
And Womankind is one of them.
Woman follows Earth.
Earth follows Heaven.
Heaven follow Tao.
And Tao follows itself, back to its beginning.
Everything evolves from Tao and everything goes back to Tao.
Evolution is a wonderful thing. Being a parent, my daughter is living out the patterns of her ancestry, and yet she is creating her own. She is creating a new pathway. I feel the same about my parents. Each generation, in some way, surpasses the previous generation. My hope would be that it would always go in a positive direction and I really believe that it does.
For example, there are things that my parents struggled with that we don’t have to go through now. Same with their parents. They have learned the lessons and now we get to move on. I feel like each generation learns and develops from the previous generation and all of that stretches back to Tao. It originates from Tao and Tao is that.
Christianity teaches us to externalize. Not all of Christianity – I have certainly come across some Christian belief systems that do not teach this. But much of Christianity has God externalized. God is out there. When we begin to realize, as we work with the Tao and these chapters, we know that Tao is just flowing through us all the time. You can call it God, Allah, whatever. It is there. All parts of the Tao are perfection.
All parts of everything that you come across, everything, is perfection.
If something feels bad, it doesn’t feel perfect but it is perfect. I think what is so challenging for us to remember is that how we feel about something and our emotional response to it is on the surface. Underneath all of that is perfection. We don’t always see the stuff that is underneath it. We don’t always see all the reasons why things happen. Many times there is a reason for things to happen that we can’t even know.It is outside of our scope.
Our scope is very narrow.
As much as we might expand it in this lifetime…even if we multiplied our scope by 100, it would still be very small. I think that is something that we really need to accept about ourselves. It’s OK, perfect even, just the way that it is. The reason why it is perfect is because we don’t know. We don’t know what else is around the other corner and we don’t know what is behind all of that.
Imagine if you met someone on the street and they are just nasty and they just bark something at you. All you see is how nasty they are. What you didn’t see is that their father died yesterday. They are barking at you because they are having a hard time dealing with it, but you don’t see that. It is like that with everything in life. If you come across something and you don’t understand it, our tendency is to make a decision about it. We judge. On the surface, it looks like this so you decide that is what it is. That is fine. You can’t help it, really. It is our nature to judge. That is how we make our way in the world. Your judgments may change, however, if you learn more of the picture. Discover the reasons why.
So how does all of this relate to the chapter? There’s a following. Each level of beingness – we have the beingness that is the Tao. Then we have our planet. As a member of our planet, this is what our reality is – a planetary reality. Then we have the country. Who are we as a nation? Who are we as a state, as a town…getting more and more narrow. Finally, who are we as a family? Who am I in my family? In my marriage? As a parent? Finally, who am I? Who am I today? Who am I this minute? Right now?
All of those levels are true and if you follow them, you find Tao. That is the path to Tao. You can go upward or downward, it doesn’t matter. It is all Tao.
The path to Tao is looking at everything around you and recognizing how everything is connected. Just noticing those connections and becoming aware of them. Trying to keep that awareness. It can very difficult sometimes to do that when you are having issues or you’ve had a rough week. That’s all perfect, though, as we know.