Righting


Harriet Miers withdraws her nomination for the Supreme Court

A deviation of a hair’s breadth at the center
Leads to an error of a hundred miles at the rim.
When the effort is so slight,
Why should you hesitate to set things right?

There are many people who endeavor to know Tao. In the greatest sincerity, they take music lessons, read scriptures, learn foreign languages, study nutrition, change their dress, and go to temples — all in the hopes that they will reach Tao. Sadly, they miss it by a hair’s breadth. For a person to awaken to Tao, someone must give them a spark. Perhaps this is what is called direct transmission. It is odd, but this is the only way that knowledge of Tao is passed on.

Book knowledge can help and give one a deep theoretical background, but the true understanding of Tao still comes person to person. There is no other way.

So if you have any true understanding of Tao, you got it from someone. If you meet someone else who needs that spark and you are in the position to give it, then do so. Don’t be selfish. There are so many people out there who want guidance and who cannot get it. If you can make a difference for at least one person, then you have tremendous merit indeed.

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”– Friedrich Nietzsche

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

“How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature!” — William Shakespeare

“The spark divine dwells in thee: let it grow.”
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox

“Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.”
— Samuel Johnson

“If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature.”
— Bruce Barton

“Each of us has a spark of life inside us, and our highest endeavor ought to be to set off that spark in one another.” — Kenny Ausubel

“The really good idea is always traceable back quite a long way, often to a not very good idea which sparked off another idea that was only slightly better, which somebody else misunderstood in such a way that they then said something which was really rather interesting.” — John Cleese

OK, so my Tao posting gets political today. It just seemed… right.

So because Harriet isn’t far enough to the right for the wingers, and because she isn’t really qualified anyway, but only got the nod by being Bush’s suck-up, she withdraws. She misses the dream job of her life for being a hair’s breath away from being “right” at her center….

Yes, it’s fine to give guidance to others. It is not fine to nominate your buddies to positions they aren’t qualified to hold. It is not find to push your own world view, whatever it is, so hard that you can’t accept that other people have a different world view. It is not fine to surround yourself only with people who think like you do, and then be surprised when those people aren’t qualified to do certain jobs that need to be done. It was not right to elect someone as our President who wasn’t qualified for the job, who knows only how to listen to a point of view he already holds and not those of the people who disagree with him. Those who believed him were off by more than a hair’s breath, and now find not only can they not meet their goals, but have screwed up the lives of two thousand of our soldiers and millions of other people as well. Cronies and sycophants are not those who should hold the highest offices in our land. It’s not right.

And I don’t know that it is right to assume that Tao is only passed hand to hand by some Tao gurus. The Tao Te Ching is 81 verses of lovely poetry that presents a neat way of looking at the world, one that allows you to find spirituality in a very simple, direct way. It is not a mysterious virus that you get from others and give to them. I read and write about the Tao because it gives me pleasure to do so, because it makes me think and feel and reconsider how I think and feel. If others learn from what I have to say, great. If they don’t read it, or don’t learn from it, that’s ok as well.

Ah, but I look out my window and see that the bird feeder is empty, and someone would like something to eat. So I’ll probably get some bird food and fill the feeders today. I suppose in that way I will pass some of the Tao along to the birds. And a young kid was passing through yesterday selling magazines, and grateful that I purchased one from him, saying I was the first person who had helped him all day. The neighbor’s daughter delivered the gift wrap I had purchased from her for her school sale, proudly carrying the rolls of gift wrap and handing them to me with a big smile. My yoga class last night was a wonderful sharing of good exercise and good spirits. I’m off this weekend to a friend’s wedding in San Francisco.

Yes, I share the Tao, I give others guidance and help when I can.

The true spark of the Tao? That is bright laughter, the sparkle of the eyes, the understanding and amusement that comes from living in a beautiful, fulfilling world and knowing this is all there will ever be and it is enough. It is enough to wake up to the day and and find opportunities to help others in the world, opportunities to enrich your own life and the lives of those around you. If you enjoy the process of learning about Tao, that is great and wonderful. But don’t think a book will give you the spark of life you can find from those around you.

Yes, I get my sparks where I can, from everyone I can. I love to see someone’s eyes light up when they get a joke I’ve told, or when they learn to look at life with amusement instead of being always overly serious. I’ve collected the little sparks my whole life – from my Dad, my Grandfather, others in my family, my friends, my husband, my kids, people I meet every day – there are sparks everywhere you look. I get them from nature, my pets, those birds who keep showing up even though the feeder isn’t getting filled, and so many other places.

What do I think was really wrong with Harriet Miers? She lacks that spark. No one was impressed with her, no one taken by her so much that they would fight to defend her. Sure, she read all the right books, said all the right things, changed the way she dressed, changed her hair a bit. But only by sucking up to someone was she able to even be considered in the first place, and it wasn’t enough. And it sets off, for me, what is wrong with the entire Republican party today. It is a cobbled-together mess of power lust, wealth, and moral indignation that has no true spark of life to it at all. These people don’t want life to be better for everyone, or even anyone else. They see only their own goals, their own pocket books swelling, their own agendas. And what we need right now, desperately need, are the people who have the spark of life – and want to share it with everyone, not just their buddies.