Reflections on Chapter 56 of the Tao Te Ching:
Those who know, do not speak.
Those who speak, do not know.
Close your mouth.
Shut the gates.
Untangle your knots.
Soften your brilliance.
Become one with the dust.
This is the profound union.
No one can get close to you,
yet they cannot be distant either.
No one can help or harm you.
No one can honor or disgrace you.
Thus you achieve the highest state of humankind.
Silence is golden.
These first two lines are some of the most quoted lines of the Tao Te Ching. There is a reason people say that silence is golden. When you are holding that space of silence, you are fully receptive and this is so valuable. If you have been reading these chapters long enough, you know that Lao Tzu repeats certain principles.
One principle that is repeated is to take the lower ground. Be yin.
Allow that yin or receptive aspect of yourself to play a bigger part in your life. I have been playing with my meditation practice lately, playing with different aspects of awareness as I am writing the Awareness Series. When you are in the silence, it changes everything. When you are present, aware and receptive, you are so much more potent.
Multitasking is the bane of our modern busy life.
I’ve got a busy job. It can get very busy at work, so I am playing with NOT multi-tasking to see if this helps me not to feel so busy. When I am in a meeting, it is usually on the phone so I multitask. I am practicing to just be very present on the calls and be still. Although it seems like I am getting less done, I am able to perceive so much more when I am not busy and distracted. I am able to take things in and have things stick in my mind.
I am more potent when I don’t multitask.
I have found that I have more ability to get things done correctly when I am not multitasking. I wonder how much time is wasted in lost productivity because you did something wrong? I don’t think that is counted in productivity reports at big companies, but I think it should be. Repeating tasks instead of just paying attention in the first place is a huge time suck. That is not even to mention the stress that your body goes through when you live in that state.
We are all learning, putting one foot in front of the other, exploring, growing.
We all learn different things at different times, so being receptive to others is about paying attention to where they are at so that you can be more present to them. You can hear what they are really saying. There is so much more to what someone is saying than their words. If you are only listening to their words, you are missing so many nuances.
Bring yourself back when you forget to pay attention to people.
I was reading an article on meditation the other day, and they were saying that meditation is not about getting it right . That is not the goal. The goal is to bring yourself back. I’ve been playing with this app called Mindfulness Bell. It is a really cool app. You set a timer for any period of time and you can set it to ring a certain number of times randomly throughout that time period. At first, I was thinking when the bell rings that I should be keeping track of whether I am being mindful or not. Then I decided to just let the bell be my reminder to be aware.
There is a totally different mindset between those two things.
The first way of tracking my progress has a punishment feel to it. I am either doing it right or wrong. The second one just is about bringing you back gently each time. That is my plan now. It is a reminder bell to be present. If I can do this more often during my typical day, I think it will be much better.
We must stop outputting data all the time.
The American culture is so based on production. So many distractions! We busy ourselves. Someone mentioned on Facebook the other day about being sick of hearing how everyone is just so busy. It got me thinking, “Why am I so busy all the time?” I am always saying that, “I am so busy”.
I think we are so busy because
we just keep upping the ante on how much we can get done.
It is overwhelming. In the quest to get more things done, there is less sleep, less meditation, less enjoying nature. There is less of all that stuff that gives your brain a chance to disengage – to be receptive instead of productive. It is so important to give yourself the space for down time. I am working on this. Perhaps you will join me in making today less busy than yesterday.
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