I Belong to This

The universe appears as mostly empty space. 
Yet it is filled with a hidden
and inexhaustible energy
that has existed since before the beginning
of beginning-less time.
So we can relax and let our tension drain away, 
for we belong to this.

The Tao Te Ching, Chapter 4

Trust is becoming more central to my life.
It’s not that I think my every whim will be indulged,
it’s that I trust that I belong,
not as a coat belongs to its wearer,
but as a cell belongs to the body.
Life is really not my job, is it?
(though it seems so to my mind.)
The Tao is doing it all.
I can imagine the body saying to the cell,
“Relax, I’ve got this.”
More often now, I hear the Tao whisper,
“Relax, Bill, I’ve got this.”
I trust that when the time arrives
for me to let it go at last,
I’ll hear that gentle whisper yet again,
“Relax, Bill, I’ve got this.”


If you don't strive to be noticed,
no one will compete with you.

From The Tao Te Ching, Chapter 3

marathonI’ve never been a fan of competition, though I’ve competed in track and distance running in high school, university, and in several decades of my adult life. There’s a certain energy in striding alongside another runner, pushing and being pushed. I loved the feeling of running a marathon! I’ve always wondered, however, why that pleasure had to be usurped by winning and losing. Why medals, accolades, triumphs, and disappointments? Why not just run, play, and then forget it?

They say that competition made this country great. How’s that working for us?

Haven’t we all had enough of, “We’re number one?” Aren’t we sick of the word, “loser?” If we eliminated. “winner,” and, “loser,” from the dictionary wouldn’t we be better off?

The Tao knows nothing of winning and losing.

Showing the Colors

We can’t speak of beauty without knowing ugliness. 
We can’t speak of virtue without knowing vice.
We can’t speak of life without knowing death.
We can't achieve without knowing failure.
We can't find silence without knowing noise.

From The Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2

leavesThe colors of the autumn leaves,
a friend recently informed me,
have been there all along.
They’ve been waiting for the leaf
to loose the tightness of its grip
upon the tree, for the chlorophyl
to ease its constant effort to produce.
When that happens, they shine through at last.
I understand, I think.
I am healthy and happy, but no longer grip
my life as once I did.
Production isn’t a priority any more.
I think the beauty may be showing through,
no longer hidden by my ceaseless efforts.

Walk Instead of Talk

Talking about a path is not the same
as walking that path. 
The Tao contains both the talk, 
and the walk.

From the Tao Te Ching, CHapter 1

path in the woods






I’m starting once again, as I have countless times throughout my life,
to take a journey through the chapters of the Tao Te Ching.
Beginning at the beginning, with the usual single step,
in the thousand mile journey, I am reminded
of the amount of words that fill my life.
That’s fine. Words are part of my calling and gift,
but they are so dangerous.
I am known as an author, a wordsmith, a poet –
words that trap me and narrow my experience.

As I walk this never-ending path again,
I make a gentle intention to be more quiet
and let the experience of the moment settle
into a wordless appreciation;
a gratitude that needs no grateful words.
So I will stop now, and write again next week,
with words that might come from wordlessness.