The Tao Te Ching and Community

IMG_0567I love Lao Tzu’s offering of life as a river:  a stream bed of obstacles, deep holes, shallow riffles, sudden rifts that set the stage for waterfalls, and so forth.  In my mind’s eye, I can imagine myself as a streamlet, running that gammut in the course of my days.

But then I back up, float higher into the sky.  And suddenly, the landscape reminds me that I am not the only rivulet of water running with gravity toward the lowest elevation.  There are many souls, and for better or for worse, our streams conjoin.  Sometimes we are each other’s obstacles; sometimes we help lift each other over obstacles.  Sometimes we run beside eachother; other times we are opposing currents.  Sometimes we hold hands when faced with an unexpected cataract.  For better or worse, we are a community.

What is community? How can a sense of community benefit the individual, and how can the individual benefit her community? Are there ways of moving through life that skillfully maximize the benefit in both directions?  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at community from a variety of angles as we encourage gratitude for and love of community.



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