Spectrum (repost from 2005)

Pure light is all colors.
Therefore, it has no hue.
Only when singleness is scattered
Does color appear.

When we see pure sunlight streaming down on us, it is a pure radiance so bright that we can discern neither details nor hues from its source. But when light strikes the gossamer wings of a dragonfly, or when it shines through misty rain, or even when it shines on the surface of our skin, it is polarized into millions of tiny rainbows. The world explodes with color because all the myriad surfaces and textures fracture the light into innumerable, overlapping dimensions.

The same is true of Tao. In its pure state, it embodies everything. Thus, it shows nothing. Just as pure light has all colors yet shows no color, so too is all existence initially latent and without differentiation in Tao. Only when Tao enters our world does it explode into myriad things. We say that everything owes its existence to Tao. But really, these things are only refractions of the great Tao.

Colored light, when mixed together, becomes pure, bright light again. That is why those who follow Tao constantly speak of returning. They unify all areas of their lives and unify all distinctions into a whole. There cannot be diversity within unity. When our consciousness rejoins the true Tao, there is only brightness, and all color disappears.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

Look at the dust particles floating in the sunlight, like little bits of glitter. See the gnats shine as they zig zag in the light. Look at the light shine off the leaves of the plants. Look at it glisten on the coat of the cat in the window. Watch light reflect off glass, refract off everything. Tao is the same, reflecting and refracting everywhere.

I often think how fortunate we all are, to have such a wide variety of things to see and do in the world. Yet people are so unhappy, feeling stuck in their jobs or their lives. Even I feel stuck sometimes, until I look up and realize how much great stuff there is going on all around me. Quit thinking things will be better if you were doing something else, and learn to appreciate where you are and what is around you. Even a prisoner can go inside and explore what is within themselves – what is within us reflects what is around us and refracts the Tao as much as anything.

There is so much in life to enjoy. And yet it is really all part of the same thing, the Tao. It all seems so different, but it is all made from the same stuff, electrons, protons, neutrons. And so with people as well – all of us seeming so different, but really all so much the same. Why can’t we just learn to enjoy the differences, celebrate our wonderful diversity of interests and ideas instead of believing we are right and they are wrong, or we are better and they are worse, or we are good and they are evil. We are one, yet many, together, yet always alone. And we fear being alone as much as we fear being together. Perhaps we need to get over the fear and accept that once we overcome the fear of diversity, we can overcome the fear of unity as well.

We all come from and return to the same source. Even the gnat. Isn’t it time we use the magnificent brains we’ve been given to at least enjoy life as much as the gnat? Live in the light. Zig zag around and see what you find. Whee, you can fly. Yeah! Like that.