Dao De Jing
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Verse Ten


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2007

Verse Ten

from Stephen Mitchell's Tao Te Ching, 1988

Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child's?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from you own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.

Verse Ten

from Thomas Cleary's Tao Te Ching, 1991

Carrying vitality and consciousness,
embracing them as one,
can you keep from parting?
Concentrating energy,
making it supple,
can you be like an infant?
Purifying hidden perception,
can you make it flawless?
Loving the people, governing the nation,
can you be uncontrived?
As the gate of heaven opens and closes,
can you be impassive?
As understanding reaches everywhere,
can you be innocent?
Producing and developing,
producing without possessing,
growing without domineering:
this is called mysterious power.


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2007

Can you see as a child sees
And keep the simple vision?
See the inner oneness
With absolute precision?

Holding all in your embrace
The world is in your care
Let things be just as they are
Extend acceptance everywhere

Let go all need to comprehend
The truth where all behold
Their infinite capacity
To welcome and enfold

That was my 2000 interpretation of this verse in the Daodejingle.

Jim


From: headexchange
Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:29 pm

I like Stephen Michell's version.

A friend of mine who is partially blind, recently had an operation on his eye which was not successful, and he now sees even less. He will be having another operation soon and hopefully things will improve then. He wrote to me when I expressed my concern to him saying that although blindness was difficult, he could still see - see the Light, see who he really is. And the 'poor me' thoughts that sometimes come and go in the Stillness he could observe 'from beyond the mind', which really helped. I was reminded of him with the words: Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things?

Lao Tzu speaks in paradoxes, doesn't he. Lately I've been aware that when I look within I die completely. Nothing of me remains. But this death is instant resurrection into being everything. As a person, I'm half way between these opposites. But as who I really am I go to the extremes!

Richard


From: Janet
Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2007

hi jim, richard, all,

jim, i enjoyed the poem you've shared. thank you.

richard, thank you for the beautiful story about your friend. will keep him in my thoughts...

i like stephen mitchell's version too. i had to work some things out on his use of wording before responding, having to do with the line, "Can you let your body become supple as a newborn child's?". i wouldn't want anyone to possibly confuse physical abilities as a way to Seeing/Tao (or) physical disabilities as obstacles to Seeing/Tao. to me, the line means physicality in the sense that we may look at it, for a baby, is not perceived. there is no good/bad, worse/better, ability/disability. there is no perception of these nuances.

in my own experience with health conditions, i find complete resonance with "Can you coax your mind from its wandering, and keep to the orginal
oneness?". if i don't 'think' about it, i know what i can do, and i just do what i do. if my mind wanders to what i used to be able to do, or what i wish i was able to do, its just a distraction to the present. while completely present, there is no distraction, health condition, and whatnot.

another resonse in reference to the line, "Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things?". for me, just stepping back from my own mind, it comes that there is really nothing to understand. i don't know how to explain it, other than -relief. i think we are always taught to 'understand' everything. well, what if there is nothing to understand? what if there is just allowing? for whatever the reason?

to me, its the way it really is anyhow. so, why not just enjoy it. the joy, beauty, and laughter, and even the sorrow, troubles, and tears.

anyway, thank you for the opportunity to share.

love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2007

Hi Richard,

I like what you say about extremes. I had never thought of it that way. It's interesting how you relate it to life and death. I think you've hit on the Taoist sense of it, in that they both exist in the present. All the extremes need each other€even life and death. My real identity is in the two extremes. When I die to the imaginary something here (or in between), I am born to the everything there in all its glory. My story doesn't have to take center stage all the time. It's rather boring. I have it down pretty well by now. No surprises in it.

Hi Janet,

Supple as a newborn? Well, after 67 years, how possible is that? I like Cleary's version of this line better: "Concentrating energy, making it supple, can you be like an infant?" Supple energy? I can see that is sometimes how it is. We can be flexible at any age. From what you and Richard are saying, I take it that the mind is what is in the middle. The mind is what wanders from the extremes of the present. It gets lost in its own story of itself. It loses emptiness here and the ten thousand things out there too. It ignores everything that is real.

Cleary: "Purifying hidden perception, can you make it flawless?" No one sees our perceptions but ourselves. Maybe our perception is pure and flawless when we see the extremes and let the story that the mind tells fall away for lack of attention. What we are taught to think of as flaws are just the way it is. They're flaws of the mind's story, not flaws in themselves.

Jim


From: Janet
Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2007

hi jim,

yes, i like richard's relating the extremes of life and death.

you wrapped up richard's post and my post -wonderfully. i like what you say, "let the story that the mind tells fall away for lack of attention". its an ongoing practice, imo. i don't have to figure out the story the mind tells, understand it, or change it....just let it fall away...

i also like that you pointed out, "What we are taught to think of as flaws are just the way it is. They're flaws of the mind's story, not flaws in themselves". that rings true, to me.

i was just wondering if you might also see that 'understanding' is someway, futile. when i step back, for me, there is just nothing to understand. just wondering what others might feel about that. or am i just talking outta my ass again?!

love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2007

Hi Janet,

Yes, letting go of the mind's story is an ongoing process for me too. The story is rather insistent, isn't it? But some of the story lines do get weaker as we realize they aren't real in the sense the two extremes are real. They seem more like games to me.

I also agree that understanding is not the point either. We can't understand the simplicity we see in the near view, nor can we understand the spontaneity we see in the far view. We can't understand this marvelous presence or Tao, but we can see it. Isn't that amazing? We can see it. As Douglas says, "See, and see what happens." I think we've been brought to this (being able to see) by a natural grace. It's our original nature, after all. Surely some of us are going to find our way back to it. Maybe that's what understanding is€understanding that the story is bogus, and just falling back into our original nature. Understanding to me doesn't mean having a theory of or a belief about of every detail of life. Life can't be pinned down. There's no telling where it's going next. We just have to trust that we will be able to deal with, and even enjoy, whatever it brings.

Love,
Jim


From: Janet
Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007

jimclatfelter wrote:
We can't understand this marvelous presence or Tao, but we can see it. Isn't that amazing?

YES! thanks for your response, jim.

love,
janet


Luc
Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007

The phrase 'having without possessing' reminds me of a friend of mine. He moved to a very rural area in the west of Belgium and we visited him there end of this summer. His house reminded me of a villa in the Provence in France, with a large terrace where you have a wide view over the country.
I said to him : 'Now you should be able to point out : my property runs from there to there' and he answered : 'Well, this is ALL my property'.
And it really feels like that, not ? We own what we look at, not possessing it in a material way, but enjoying it, having it here where we really really are...

Luc


From: Luc
Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007

Janet wrote:
another resonse in reference to the line, "Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things?". for me, just stepping back from my own mind, it comes that there is really nothing to understand. i don't know how to explain it, other than -relief. i think we are always taught to 'understand' everything. well, what if there is nothing to understand? what if there is just allowing? for whatever the reason?

Hi Janet,

That's true for me too. The mind wants to understand. Letting go of the idea that I must understand brings relief. And space to enjoy what happens, even if I don't understand it.
It also brings me gratitude often. I don't understand why this or that happens or appears. But if I don't engage in trying to understand it, there is gratitude that it happened to me, that I was priviliged to see or know this. Even if it might be called 'unpleasant' or 'bad luck' or any other negative label.

Luc


From: Janet
Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2007

Luc wrote:
I said to him : 'Now you should be able to point out : my property runs from there to there' and he answered : 'Well, this is ALL my property'. And it really feels like that, not ? Luc

hi luc,

yes, it does feel like that. the view is in the eye of the beholder. a whole universe.

thank you.

love,
janet


From: Janet
Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2007

Luc wrote:
It also brings me gratitude often. I don't understand why this or that happens or appears. But if I don't engage in trying to understand it, there is gratitude that it happened to me, that I was priviliged to see or know this. Even if it might be called 'unpleasant' or 'bad luck' or any other negative label. Luc

hi luc,

yes, i agree. events unfold in my presence. there is gratitude, just being.

also, in my experience, labels such as 'unpleasant', 'bad luck, 'awful', can sometimes be an initial reaction because its not how 'i would have it'. but, if remaining open to allowing events to unfold, i have seen those experiences turn. sometimes, i can see how it was all really perfect, as it happened. maybe you, and others, have seen that too.

thanks for your input.

love,
janet


From: Luc
Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2007

Janet,

Yes, when I stop resisting, every situation brings me something of value. Maybe or probably not what I expected. And I wouldn't have noticed it, or maybe wouldn't have admitted it, if I 'd stuck to my resistance and expectations.

Love
Luc


From: Janet
Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2007

hi luc,

yes, i know what you mean. i notice a resistance sometimes. its like i got a bug up my butt. but, then, i recognise it, and let go.

initially, even resisting, can bring something of value. we can see its working against the flow. we can learn from that, and bring ourselves closer to this presence, and allow for the process happening.

love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007

Resisting or not resisting€either can happen. "See, and see what happens," as Douglas says. That seems to cover it. Life is on its own course. Even resisting happens on its own. Even resisting is "going with the flow." There's no way to get outside of life and affect it from that position. I am what is happening€no exceptions. Noticing this can affect the flow. If I notice I am resisting what is happening, I may laugh at myself and relax. Or I may just accept that I am resisting the flow. I can't see that there's any way of getting a wedge into a situation that will be outside the spontaneous flow of events. There is no separate me€outside of and beyond life itself, beyond the whole. Lao Tzu says "do nothing" because there is no doer separate from all the doings. All that I do, and all that is done to and for me, is happening on its own. I can't help but laugh when I catch myself thinking otherwise. Life is living me, not the other way around.

Jim


From: Janet
Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2007

oh, jim,

thats wonderful! yes, thats right. no other way around it, even resistance. just noticing, it makes me laugh with you!

thank you!
love,
janet


From: orebor

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2007

Jim wrote:
There's no way to get outside of life and affect it from that position. I am what is happening€no exceptions.... I can't see that there's any way of getting a wedge into a situation that will be outside the spontaneous flow of events.

Spot on, I think.

Quote:
...Noticing this can affect the flow...

And even this noticing is part of the flow, isn't it, not outside it. Just the flow flowing its flow.

Great stuf, you all.

Grtz,
Orestes


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007

Quote: And even this noticing is part of the flow, isn't it, not outside it. Just the flow flowing its flow.

Hi Orestes,

Yes, absolutely, the noticing is part of the spontaneous flow.

Jim


From: Janet
Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007

orebor wrote: Just the flow flowing its flow.

hi orestes,

i like that! when you look at life that way, blame/credit to it all, just dissolves.

thank you.

love,
janet


Headless on Youtube
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