Reflections on Chapter 35 of the Tao Te Ching:
When you follow the path of Tao,
the world of all things naturally follows.
All things follow without harm
and in complete peace.
The worldly lure of music and cake
cause people passing by to stop.
The Tao has no taste, no sound
and is invisible,
yet its effect on the world is never ending.
Let there be cake.
This chapter is about the lure of the shiny things.For some reason, it is built into our human condition to want chocolate when we know it’s bad for us. It is built in to desire the things that are not good and then to be challenged by the things that are good for us. There’s a pattern to it, so you have to wonder – what is the real purpose of that?
No pain, no gain.
To some degree, this is right. In some ways, it is true because it is always more challenging for us. Overcoming the hurdles is something we build into our life. Before we came into this life,we gave ourselves certain challenges. Chocolate is easy. Cake is easy. It’s the easy choice. For me, it is overcoming the easy choices that is my challenge.
I have been reading a book called The Power of Habit. It’s a really good book. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. One of the things he constantly alludes to in the book is that so much of what we do every day is habit. If we can establish habits that are good for us – the habit of regular meditation, the habit of eating healthy, etc. If we can do those things that, in our minds, we think are so difficult to change about ourselves, the things that are clearly healthy for us, then our lives will be better.
It’s all about the cake.
In this chapter, he is talking about how a lot of people eat the cake because it is the easy road. So a lot of people go that route. It is very normal. If you have gone that route, you are pretty normal. But what he is talking about here is not about being normal. What Lao Tzu is guiding us to do in these chapters is to be the sage.
In what ways is your practice developing the sage?
I ask myself! In what ways am I developing my sage? It’s an every day practice! It’s not like – OK, today I am a sage! It’s a development. You just continually move forward and keep developing. And, really, every day I am a sage! I am not one and I am one! It’s really just symantics. All of us are and are not. We are all God, and therefore we are all sages. We are all not God, and therefore we are all just human beings.
I think that Jesus really talked about this as well. That was his big thing!
We are all the same! I think it is funny and ironic that Christianity has gone the way that it has, on some levels. I think that there are a lot of Christians who really don’t put Jesus on a different level than themselves. But I think that what Jesus was trying to say is that we are God’s children. We are all that. He said that! I don’t even read the Bible and I know that! So he must have said it A LOT. lol…
It’s this continual practice, like the moon. I mentioned in an earlier chapter about the moon and how it is always there. It is our reminder of habit. It is our reminder to ask ourselves, “how am I doing today?” A reminder to ask ourselves, “how has my month been?”
It is about being constant.
I got sick this week and didn’t blog for a few days. In the end, I think I missed like one or two days only, It felt like a lot more. It was just a temporary lapse in my good habit of blogging every day. That is normal. I accept my patterns of ebb and flow and I just keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other. Today, I am writing this post. I am back again. I am constant in my pattern of ebb and flow and all is good.
What is your relationship to habit? Write your comments in the space below and share!