As always, the Tao is a well spring of truth and inspiration. Its complex simplicity can speak to your heart no matter what you are going through. After a chaotic day, I was trying to decide what to post. I flipped around in a few books for a while and then came back to the Tao. I immediately opened to this passage and a light went off in my head. Enjoy!
“The Great Way is easy,
yet people prefer the side paths.
Beware when things are out of balance.
Stay centered within the Tao.
When rich speculators prosper
while farmers lose their land;
when government officials spend money
on weapons instead of cures;
when the upper class is extravagant and
while the poor have nowhere to turn–
all this is robbery and chaos.
It is not in keeping with the Tao.” The Tao Te Ching, chapter 53.
I often look at my life and wonder why I always seem to choose the side paths. The Great Way is easy. It’s outlined for us, written on our hearts by God. Whispered to us each day by His loving Spirit. Yet we always seem to say, “Yeah, yeah. That’s all good. But what about what’s over here…No I hear you. Just hold on a sec while I check it out…” And then everything gets thrown out of balance. Part of me says it’s the experience of life. But I ask that part, aren’t we supposed to learn from experience? Why do we seem to get caught up and sidetracked more often than we follow the simple advice of our hearts? For me personally, a lot of it has to do with my thinking that I know what’s best for me. I can handle this. I don’t need God or the Tao or any cryptic sayings of old dead men to tell me what to do. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Only, those old dead men knew what they were talking about. Say what you want about human progress, but people really haven’t changed. All that’s changed is fashion and technology. People are much the same today as they were thousands of years ago. All that technology has done for us is added another level of distraction to an already distracted populace. Now, when the government spends money on weapons instead of cures and the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible, the people scroll past it on their social media apps, only stopping long enough to give it a cursory “like” or to comment about “how horrible it is!” But that’s as far as the outrage is likely to go. And this…all of this…is not in keeping with the Tao. It seems there’s no sense in showing all that robbery and chaos when there’s a cute picture of a kitten covered in toilet paper instead.
This is a continuation from yesterday’s Wisdomism. Hermes has told us to look with our hearts and be sober in order to see through and overcome the ignorance and deception running rampant in our world. Here, he gets a bit more specific on just how to do that. Enjoy!
“First you have to strip off the garment which you are wearing, the web of ignorance, the fabric of evil, the knot of destruction, the girdle of darkness, the living death, the sentient corpse, the portable tomb, the robber in your house, him who hates through what he loves and bears malice through what he hates.
Such is the hateful garment you wear, which binds you in itself lest, when you look up and see the beauty of truth and the Supreme Good which lies within, you should hate the evil of this garment and realize its treachery. This has ensnared you making the seeming senses, insensible; for it has blocked them up with much gross matter and filled them with loathsome pleasure, so you do not hear what you should hear and see what you should see.” Corpus Hermeticum Book 7
This “garment” we all wear is our connection to our egos which are entrenched in the physical world and continually seek material pleasures and comforts. We willingly blind ourselves to the deception around us in order to immerse ourselves in the distractions of the material world. Look around you. Do you see the multiple distractions that surround you even where you sit reading this? Humanity has not progressed. We have merely added more bells and whistles to distract us from the truth. And there are those who do not have our best interests at heart who continually play on and add to those distractions in order to keep us in a state of willing subservience.
You asked for enlightenment and it was granted to you. Did you think it would be so easy after that? Did you expect to dine with Sophia and not have to pay the bill? Awakening is only the first step in a lifelong journey. In that journey we are supposed to transcend our humanity. To become one with God, as it were. This, we all know, is impossible. Because in the end, we are all human. Utterly, hopelessly, beautifully human. Despite our divine origins, our humanity remains. We feel. We love. We suffer. We sacrifice. And so you asked for enlightenment thinking that all the answers to life’s problems will be answered in a moment of brilliant clarity. This is not the case.
Enlightenment is understanding is awareness. Once you gain this sense of awareness, you start to become aware of things. And it is a dangerous thing to become aware of things. Things are devious by design, you see. And they hate when we become aware of them. It’s like peeking behind the curtain and seeing the puppet master pulling the strings. Things are a sham, you understand? It’s all a show. Smoke and mirrors. But things have a purpose and they defend that purpose with purposeful ferocity. That purpose is distraction. Things distract. There you have it. And once you enlighten up, you can see past those distractions.
Nothing is more ferocious than a distraction that fails to distract. Awareness infuriates all sorts of things. And things try even harder to distract. And those things ripple out into your world, alerting other things to your enlightenment. And then those things start to distract. But still you progress. You trudge on through hard times and good. You persevere. You grow in your enlightenment. And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, then things get really pissed. So they start doing drastic things to pull you back down into distraction. Or what existentialists would call “the human condition”. Not surprisingly, since we are human we slip and we fall. Plummeting back into things. Southern Baptists have a good term to describe this: backsliding. Now to the Southern Baptists backsliding is when you quit drinking and start going to church only to start drinking and quit going to church. It’s much the same for enlightenment.
The fact of the matter is we are all mired in things. Even we are things. Distracting ourselves from our true purposes. Even distracting us from our own enlightenment. So people say, “Don’t let things get you down” and they always smile as they say it without ever knowing it is the key to understanding. Don’t let things get you down. And when things get you down, you get back up again. That’s right. No one is accepting the e-vite to your pity party. They’re too busy sending out their own.
Don’t forget, you asked for this. You wanted understanding. You wanted awareness. You wanted to see the puppet master. And so you have and now there is no turning back. Don’t blame things. Things can only be what they are. Things will get nasty. Things will get difficult. Suck it up and forge on through. For an aware individual, things will always get better. For an enlightened person everything offers understanding. So remember: When things get you down, enlighten up. Eventually, you’ll get there.
Tags: awareness, Distraction, e-vite, enlightenment, existentialism, hero's journey, human, human condition, humanity, Philosophy, pity, progress, Religion, self realization, self reflection, Sophia, Spirituality, things, truth, understanding, Wisdom
I’ve been away and I apologize. After a lifelong dedication to my craft, my passion for writing and words took a heavy blow a few months ago. My passion and dedication waned. I became full of self doubt and loathing and actually began to rethink my purpose. For those of you who know me, this will come as a shock. I have followed the writer’s path for as long as I can remember. So much so that writing is what I’m really great at. So why the blow to my passion? On some level, I think I felt betrayed. I mean, I dedicated my life to writing and all it gave me in return was a handful of preformed plays and poems published in magazines no one will ever read. Yet all around me, talent-less hacks are ghostwriting themselves onto the NY Times Best Seller List for no other reason than they are famous. They have no talent to offer the craft, only novelty. And that’s what our society has become obsessed with: Novelty.
Novelty is distraction without substance. Art sans Creativity. It’s whatever is cute, funny and/or viral at any given moment. Novelty is devoured like mental junk food and then forgotten with the next helping of Novelty. Art in all its forms has suffered for this love affair with self-induced mental retardation. After battling this trend for a while, I couldn’t take it anymore. Self doubt began to set in. And once self doubt had a firm foundation, it opened the door for Distraction. By this point, I had given up and gladly invited Distraction in.
I jumped head first into a myriad of distractions: movies, video games, books, Captain Morgan. In short, I became obsessed with Novelty too. Because giving up my passion left a hole in my soul. And I tried to fill that hole with Novelty. It didn’t work. I didn’t start feeling more “alive” because I was going with the flow. I didn’t start seeing the beauty of the Great Machine and all of its distractions. My acceptance of living a “normal everyday life” didn’t bring me peace. No. The more I inundated myself with Novelty, the more miserable I became until I had retreated so far inside of myself, I couldn’t see the light of day.
So what happened to restore my dedication, to rekindle the fires of my passion for my craft? A literally paralyzing experience gave my brain a hard restart. When I came to, all I could do is look at the time I wasted and cry. But through the tears I saw the truth. I saw that passions and life goals should not and can not be driven by external influences. Self worth can not be measured with material wealth or some preconceived status on the Social Scale. In the end, we are all accountable to ourselves and ourselves alone. We know the paths we are supposed to walk, or at least we used to. Novelty and Distraction are like mental white noise droning out the still small voice that so desperately whispers to us. The more distracted we are, the less likely it is we will ever hear that voice and self correct our paths. But we have to try. Because in the end, we are the only ones who know what we are supposed to be doing with our lives. Everything else is just Novelty.