The Master allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out of the way
and lets the Tao speak for itself.
-Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, #45
Once upon a time there was a poor farmer in China who had a son, but no horse. One day a beautiful stallion appeared at his door. “Oh, good luck, good luck,” said the villagers. “Good luck, bad luck, who knows,” replied the farmer. One day his son rode the horse, fell off and broke his leg. “Oh, bad luck, bad luck,” cried the villagers. “Good luck, bad luck, who knows,” the farmer said. The next day the army rode through town, recruiting youths for a faraway war. They took many of the villages sons to the distress of their families, but passed over the farmer’s son, because of his broken leg. “Oh, good luck, good luck,” said the villagers. “Who knows,” said the wise farmer.
Taoism is difficult to absorb for the modern, western mind because its tenets are so opposite to what we are taught in the world. Most of us are raised to be ambitious or aggressive about we want in life, and to react negatively when things don’t go ‘our’ way. Taoists believe in a more organic approach; to not label things or events as bad or good, but instead learn to use everything in a continual evolution. If we hold to tight to one aspiration, for example, we may be unable to recognize an even better opportunity when it comes along. Sometimes the best things that happen in life might have been called accidents or mistakes. It’s like a silver lining approach to life – whatever happens can be good if we simply decide to perceive it that way. All events can be part of a process of growth and change.
When we attempt to force something out of life, or out of ourselves, we are, perhaps unknowingly, deciding to disregard that the Universe, the Tao, might have something better in store for us. In fact, many people even practice magic, attempting to reroute the powerful flow of the Tao for their own desires. Rather, Taoism teaches one to become at rest in the midst of this universal flow, finding gratitude for the now and allowing the future to take care of itself; allowing the great ‘magic’ of the universe to weave the ultimate web of life. It is much the same idea of living in faith, described in other religions. Many of our great sages attempted to explain this.
Trying to control the future
is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.
when you handle the master carpenter’s tools
changes are that you’ll cut your hand.
-Tao Te Ching, #74
This doesn’t mean we have no say in our own lives. We are still responsible for making decisions and choices every day. But our free will is arguably limited if we are not aware of all our choices. Are we always clear on what we are choosing? Are we following our own selfish desires, to the detriment of other people and the world around us? Are we making the effort to find that stillness and peace within us, and seek the answers there first? Are we aware that this Way of life is truly is an “Art of Peace”?
Peace originates wth the flow of things – its heart is like the movement of the wind and waves. The Way is like the veins that circulate blood through our bodies, following the natural flow of the life force. If you are separated in the slightest from that divine essence, you are far off the path.
-Morihei Ueshiba, The Art of Peace
To Surf the Tao, this flow of all things, we must first become aware of the Surf in the first place. Becoming aware of the Spirit, that vibrating harmonic of life all around us and within us, is different for each person. There is a great flowing Source of energy just waiting for you to choose its Way of love, peace and harmony. When you are in this Flow, your life will naturally become one of prosperity and peace.
Remember, we are human beings, not human doings. I will allow Lao Tzu sum up, for he said it better than I ever could, “The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment. Not seeking; not expecting, she is present and can welcome all things…The Master sees things are they are, without trying to control them. She lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle…Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”