Recently I’ve come to have a greater appreciation for the feminine spirit in my life. I recently wrote about the Ruach and how the Hebrews long ago realized that the spirit of God was feminine or at least that’s how they depicted it. One of the lines in the Tao te Ching says, “the soft overcomes the hard.” Lao-Tzu knew way back then that the most powerful forces in the world were feminine.
A week ago my wife got a present from our son for Mothers Day and it was Mariah Carey’s latest Album. I was somewhat surprised. I’ve been a Mariah fan since I first heard her in the early 1990’s. My wife told me that she had heard Mariah perform on Oprah Winfrey’s show and had really liked one of the songs. My daughter was playing the album last week in our home and we both like “Touch my Body.” In fact every since I heard the song I can’t get the melody out of my head. The video on Youtube is very captivating and highlights much of Carey’s mystique as a performer, but it also touches on the larger theme of the powerful feminine spirit which animates so much of my life and our lives in general. Returning from my workout this morning I mentioned to my wife about the song and about how this had gotten me to thinking again of how much we need the feminine and sacred feminine in our lives. It is women after all who give us life, who nurture us and protect us when necessary.
Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Lao-Tzu, Gandhi, the Dalai-Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Martin Luther King were all leaders who understood this very well. Gandhi brought down the British by receiving their anger and turning it against them. Jesus said, “resist not evil,” “love your enemies,” “do good to those who persecute you.” It all flies in the face of the masculine war and endless war. I mentioned to Diane this morning that I think gay men are more in touch with the feminine and that is what is really unsettling to those men who haven’t accepted their own femininity. I hope you enjoy the video and song I can’t get it out of my head. You can view it here on Youtube.
As I traveled this weekend I listened again to Wayne Dyer’s, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your LIfe.” The chapter of the Tao Te Ching which Dr. Dyer spoke of that really caught my attention was the 30th.
Of all things, soldiers are instruments of evil, Hated by men.
Therefore the religious man (possessed of Tao) avoids them.
The gentleman favors the left in civilian life,
But on military occasions favors the right.
Soldiers are weapons of evil.
They are not the weapons of the gentleman.
When the use of soldiers cannot be helped,
The best policy is calm restraint.
Even in victory, there is no beauty,
And who calls it beautiful
Is one who delights in slaughter.
He who delights in slaughter
Will not succeed in his ambition to rule the world.
Contrast this ancient wisdom with our war on terror. This weekend at our Franciscan meeting I spoke with a friend I made last year and we spoke of the culture of death that pervades our country and how in ancient times knights returning from the crusades were required to spend time on retreat to atone for the sin of killing other men. Maybe post-traumatic stress is a natural reaction to this ungodly act. There is no way that killing a brother can be made right. We are all created by the same force, by the same creator and no one has the right much less the duty to kill another. It is unnatural and unholy.
This week I encountered once again a chap at work who is very narrow minded and rigid. He’s inflexible and I must have some of that nature in me. I know I do and that’s what burns me about him. This morning after rising I looked outside my window and there on the ground was a little bird, laying on his back, feet pointing toward heaven. He was stiff as a board. I wondered if he had flown into our window and died. I’ll bury him later, but then I mourned briefly his passing. I’m connected to all that is. There is nothing that is that is not connected to me. When I become rigid I forget that. I love the Tao te Ching and the wisdom of Lao Tzu. He was a holy man, a saint who lived before Christ.
When alive, the body is supple, yielding.
In death, the body becomes hard, unyielding.
Living plants are flexible,
In death, they become dry and brittle.
Therefore, stubborn people are disciples of death, but
Flexible people are disciples of life.
In the same way,
Inflexible soldiers cannot win (a victory).
And the hardest trees are readiest for an axe to chop them down
Tough guys sink to the bottom, while
Flexible people rise to the top.
Christ was flexible and when Christians become inflexible they do not imitate Christ
Everyone that is of the truth hears my voice.–John 18:37
What is the truth? I don’t hear the voice, but I sense it in the silence of my prayers and in the silence of my life. Martin Luther King heard his voice. All the great prophets have heard that voice and it has moved them to speak. From silence they have been moved to act and speak. I think Mahatma Gandhi must have heard that voice too.
I think Jeremiah Wright heard that voice too. Pastor Wright spoke prophetically about an America that the status quo doesn’t want to see or maybe they can’t see. The pundits and the politicians have reduced life to a sound bite. Mysticism is seeing with the eyes closed. In the 81st chapter of the Tao te Ching, Lao Tzu writes:
Sincere words do not sound nice,
Nice-sounding words are not sincere.
Good men don’t argue,
Argumentative men are not good.
The wise are not learned,
The learned are not wise.
Wisdom does not inspire the accumulation of goods;
Living for others makes for a full life.
The more you give away, the richer you are.
The Tao of heaven is to benefit, not to harm.
The Tao of wisdom is to do your thing, but not to compete.
It seems to me that those who criticize Jeremiah Wright do so because of blindness. They are not at fault. They cannot see nor can they hear.
A while back I purchased Wayne Dyer’s, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.” It’s only the second or third audio book I’ve ever purchased. I’ve really enjoyed listening to it when I’m out driving around. I listen to very little radio and very little television. I even read very little news on the Internet with the exception of Linux, open source, and technology blogs. I’ve found through this experience that I’ve become even more contemplative and I hope more peaceful. Last week I started re-reading the Te of Piglet which has been quite interesting to read again a book I first read four or five years ago. I know that Dr. Dyer’s book which is based on the Tao te Ching has really caused me to do this.
A couple of weeks ago I visited Abbey of the Genesee and while there I picked up Thomas Merton’s, “The Way of Chuang-Tzu“. I found it interesting that Merton’s interest in the Tao was much like mine. I have found many parallels in the Gospels with the Tao te Ching. My reading and listening has invited me to be more contemplative and more sensitive to my surroundings.
Literally interpreted the Tao is “the way” and that same phrase was one of the early descriptions of Christianity.
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.–Tao te Ching,Chapter 1
I’ve been thinking as I listen to Wayne Dyer’s commentary on the Tao Te Ching. So much of my life is spent in being and doing and what is really important in me and in my life is really non-being. I’m grateful for this book and these moments of insight that have come from it. Until now, the concept of non-being has been elusive. What were they speaking of? Continue reading “Non being”
I had the day off for Veterans Day. I drove some country roads I hadn’t been on in years. Eventually my driving brought me to a familiar stop. I arrived at Abbey of the Genesee and the first person to greet me was the familiar, Brother Christian. He said, “you haven’t been here in a while.” I said, “yes, it’s been a month or more since my last visit.” Continue reading “Happy is the man”
Recently when working in a client’s home I began to speak of Rumi and my client spoke of Rumi and Wayne Dyer. This discussion was joined again last Friday night at half time of a basketball game as I met my client again. He offered to give me some CDs that contained some talks by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Continue reading “The way”