Overt and Hidden

“There is something that is overt and
That exists beyond heaven and earth.
Formless, motionless,
It stands alone, forever, it does not change,
It exists in every place, it never tires.
It can be called ‘Mother of the universe,’
Because I don’t know its name.
If I am compelled to call it by a name,
I will call it Tao, ‘all-embracing.’
‘All-embracing’ exists forever,
‘All-embracing’ is far-reaching,
‘All-embracing’ returns to every beginning.
Therefore Tao is ‘all-embracing,’
Heaven is ‘all-embracing,’
Earth is ‘all-embracing,’
Man is ‘all-embracing,’

In the universe, four things are ‘all-
And man is one of them.
Man adheres to the laws of earth,
Earth adheres to the laws of heaven,
Heaven adheres to the laws of Tao,
Tao adheres to the laws of its nature.”

Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching

The Great Tao

   “The great Tao is everything, both on

the left and on the right.

     Through it, all things come into being, and

it does not abandon them.

     When its work is completed, it does not

possess them.

     It loves and nurtures all things,

     But does not rule them.

     It never exists, so it can be called small,


     All things return home to it,

     And it does not claim to own them,

     So it can be called great, apparently,

     It never aspires to greatness,

     And therefore it accomplishes greatness.”


Lao Tzu  – Tao Te Ching

When Seeing Blinds Sight, Going Stops Arrival . . .

“If I must cross every skyline to find out what is beyond, I shall never appreciate the true depth of sky seen between trees upon the ridge of a hill. If I must map the canyons and count the trees, I shall never enter the sound of a hidden waterfall. If I must explore and investigate every trail, that path which vanishes into the forest far up on the mountainside will be found at last to lead merely back to the suburbs. To the mind which pursues every road to its end, every road leads nowhere. To abstain is not to postpone the cold disillusionment of the true facts but to see that one arrives by staying rather than by going, that to be forever looking beyond is to remain blind to what is here.

To know nature, the Tao, and the ‘substance’ of things, we must know it as, in the archaic sense, a man “knows” a woman–in the warm vagueness of immediate contact. As the Cloud of Unknowing says of God, ‘By love he may be gotten and holden, but by thought never.’ This implies, too, that it is also mistaken to think of it as actually vague, like mist or diffused light or tapioca pudding. The image of vagueness implies that to know nature, outside ourselves as within, we must abandon every idea, every thought and opinion, of what it is–and look. If we must have some idea of it, it must be the most vague imaginable, which is why, even for Westerners, such formless conceptions as the Tao are to be preferred to the idea of God, with its all too definite associations.”

Alan Watts – Nature, Man and Woman

Lose your mind, stop your go, find a place central within and unfold. It’s not bliss-ninny ohmmful denial of life’s demands or all those great plans. It’s a presence-centered way of being, always-the-lover-on-the-verge but mentally sharp in response to life’s provocation, always deeply looking. Not so much the frenzied, grab-it-all-fast and figure and finagle and fret. But respond from the soil of your life’s lessons. Define what matters here and now and cultivate the awareness of how alive and beautiful is that one glimpse of sky you reach. And watch, look, breathe it all in as you realize that the craving quest finds it all within.


Then from there, from that fullness the going, grabbing, exploring times hum with one who is always right here now, drinking deeply in love’s peace.

Is this where we end the addictive processes, in the feast of here, now, opening heart in love not because we’ll get a prize but because being is the prize?



Freedom To Be The Failure That One Is ? !

A quiet moment, birds singing, front lawn mowed, back yard begun and I have to rest a moment, this book is always waiting, so I read. One passage of brilliant and deep illumination cannot go without noting. Here it is:

“For enlightenment, or accord with the Tao, remains unrealized so long as it is considered as a specific state to be attained, and for which there are tests and standards of success. It is much rather freedom to be the failure that one is.

Unlikely as it may seem, this outrageous and nonmoral freedom is the basis of all mental and spiritual wholeness, provided…that it seeks no result. But so full an acceptance includes also this seeking, along with just anything that one happens to be doing or feeling. The apparently extreme passivity of this acceptance is, however, creative because it permits one to be all of a piece, to be good, bad, indifferent, or merely confused, with a whole heart. To act or grow creatively we must begin from where we are, but we cannot begin at all if we are not “all here” without reservation or regret. Lacking self-acceptance, we are always at odds with our point of departure, always doubting the ground on which we stand, always so divided against ourselves that we cannot act with sincerity. Apart from self-acceptance as the groundwork of thought and action, every attempt at spiritual or moral discipline is the fruitless struggle of a mind that is split asunder and insincere. It is the freedom which is the essential basis of self-restraint.”

Alan Watts (of course!), Nature Man and Woman (from the chapter titled “The World As Non-Sense.”)

I am reminded of moments even just this weekend where I was split on “what next?” And with good reason. But I realize that the moment I accepted myself unconditionally, gave myself permission to feel what I feel, to act on it with wisdom and grace, in that moment I was released to flow into decisiveness and rest. We can make a mountain, even, out of self-acceptance. Or we can rest and trust the process of surrendering to all we realize about ourselves. There is this deep abiding with self, a deep releasing of all we value (simply in the moment) that enables what is always there awaiting emergence – that wellspring of resonance with Source or Spirit or Tao and it is a tremendous opportunity to be with. Be with faults, be with failings, be with what didn’t work and why (even if the “why” is ugly-seeming), be with desires, be with even the most troubling mental disturbance and, in that being with, resting in non-judgement. Not running. Not refusing to see. Not making a decree against. Just withness. In that moment, it is as if these roiling elements simply want mommy to come along and witness. They sigh. They settle after a few whimpers. They melt gradually. They fade. And in this process self-acceptance is not forced or brought about by some acrobatic mental exposition. It simply emerges. Then we taste freedom.

So, in this sense, this freedom is “amoral.” There is no bothering with good or bad. It’s a being-withness in acceptance that provokes a release, and it is that release that enables the very thing Watts highlights as a by-product of not effort supreme or hog-tying the ego – the emergence of self-restraint, when it matters most. And when it will produce the ripest, richest fruit.

It becomes a dance with Source, with love, with whatever you suppose to be Divine. With Tao. Not grasping, grabbing to be the grand evolved one. Just unfolding, witnessing and letting go of judgement.

Why does it matter? Don’t we just need to go get the groceries, fight corruption and plan out the summer? It matters because the peace and energy such a process releases is worth more than any notion of enlightenment or success. We become – while plotting, revolutionizing and shopping – the feasts we’ve always known we could be and life cooks us up from her grandest kitchen of delights. And yes, of sorrows. And it turns out that the “failures” provide some of the best ingredients in a rich stew.

But now I ramble…time to get back to work.

Not Just "Out There," But Within.