Lao-Tzu is thought to be the author of the Tao-Te-Ching, an ancient Chinese wisdom text. Lately, I have been revisiting this text for inspiration and insight into life on this lovely planet. In the introduction to Alan Watts’ “What is Tao,” Mark Watts writes:
Living close to the earth one sees the wisdom of not interfering with the course of life, and of letting things go their way.
What if we consider the entire natural world as a process that defies intellectual comprehension? Often, when I attempt to describe how something is, I find myself contrasting it with something else, someone else.
What if, in seeking to experience the processes of nature inside and outside myself, I resist the urge to compare, instead cultivating inner calm through silent contemplation of the true nature of self and other. As soon as I think I know, what if I ask, “Is this true?” And when I correct my analysis so that I believe it to be ‘more true,’ what if I again ask, “Is this true?”
In the Tao-Te-Ching, Lao-Tzu wrote:
When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.
Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Recognizing that the analysis of each thing depends on the analysis of another, we see how very subjective our thoughts and beliefs can be. And by extension, maybe we realize that every ugly thing is also beautiful, each beautiful thing also ugly. Ying and yang, dark and light, birth and death, beautiful and ugly. Everything is connected, related, inextricably woven together in an amazing web; maybe it is enough to notice just that.