This is the moment of embarking.
All auspicious signs are in place.
In the beginning, all things are hopeful. We prepare ourselves to start anew. Though we may be intent on the magnificent journey ahead, all things are contained in this first moment of our optimism, our faith, our resolution, our innocence.
In order to start, we must make a decision. This decision is a commitment to daily self-cultivation. We must make a strong connection to our inner selves. Outside matters are superfluous. Alone, and naked, we negotiate all of our live’s travails. Therefore, we alone must make something of ourselves, transforming ourselves into the instruments for experiencing the deepest spiritual essence of life.
Once we make our decision, all things will come to us. Auspicious signs are not a superstition, but a confirmation. They are a response. It is said that if one chooses to pray to a rock with enough devotion, even that rock will come alive. In the same way, once we choose to commit ourselves to spiritual practice, even the mountains and valleys will reverberate to the sound of our purpose.
Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao
I’ve never found much that is spiritual in being preached at. Talked with, discussion, question asking, yes, but not when someone is preaching at you. Especially if they want you to accept some literal meaning of whatever they are preaching, instead of taking from it your own spiritual lessons. Religion is meaningless without personal interpretation and relevance to your own life. There are beautiful, wonderful, spiritual concepts in all religions, and then they are twisted up into this package that one must accept in whole instead of taking from it the parts that matter to you.
I guess that’s why I like the idea of Taoism. Here is a thought, an idea, a focus for meditation. Take it and see what it means to you. See how it applies to your life, to the world around you. Observe. And then, when you integrate that idea into your life, here’s another. And you can always cycle back to the previous ideas and refocus again. See the spiritual in everything, in the ordinary, even in a rock. And then the world does reverberate for you. One of the definitions of reverberate is “to have a long or continuing effect”. I think that is what most of us actually long for that is lacking in our lives. We don’t always feel that we can have a long or continuing effect. But Tao teaches that everything in life has an effect. The goal is to focus it so that you achieve the results you want. But if you are in Tao, then the only results that can matter are the ones inside yourself, since the inside reflects the outside and vice versa. So how you interpret what happens is as important as what happens, and that is what can make the difference in your life. There are lessons to be learned in all that happens. How we respond makes the difference.
I hope to respond with optimism, and faith, and resolution, and innocence. All moments are new beginnings.
(revised from the original post Jan 1 2005)