25 Jul All Change is Progressive Change – July 26 2018
Posted at 20:33h in Daily Thoughts
The nature of the Tao
Is to eternally return,
The manner of the Tao
The life of all creatures
Flows from Existence,
But Existence itself
Is grounded in stillness.
The Tao Te Ching, A New Version for All Seekers,
translated by Guy Leekley
At a certain point in my twenties I had a very clear vision of a flame in the center of my chest that was just about to flicker out. I knew somehow that if it did go out, I would be dead in some fashion. Not physically, but in my soul, perhaps. It scared me, deeply. And so I began to seek help. Of a spiritual nature. The church in which I’d been raised and I had long since parted ways, so I went elsewhere.
My first foray into Eastern thought was through the ancient Chinese teachings. The I Ching and the Tao Te Ching. The Tao Te Ching is an expression in verse form of the philosophy of Taoism, often translated as ‘the Way.’ The way toward what? we may ask. The way toward harmony with the universe. It is very Vedic in this regard: the idea that by looking for it, we may uncover an experience of oneness, or at least akin to oneness. ‘Universe’ may be seen as meaning ‘one song,’ and though the term ‘harmony’ implies at least two voices, at least the voices are singing in the same key.
The symbol for Taoism is the yin/yang symbol, a circle divided by an S-curve into equal parts black and white. This represents the ever-changing nature of the universe, the flowing of life from one ‘way’ to another. If there is a storm, it is certain to be followed by calm. Night most assuredly is followed by day. Like that. This is the gist of what I was able to ascertain early on in my reading, that the only certain thing was change. I cannot tell you how angry this made me.
In retrospect I can see that I was looking for an experience of life that was free of pain, of discomfort, of uncertainty. I was in fact looking for a perfection that, once attained, I could freeze in time and just stay there; as if I could take a Polaroid of everything just so, and finally know peace. The idea that this was impossible, that no matter what I accomplished it inevitably would change, this idea made me crazy. It was frightening. It made me question why I would even try. If change is the only constant, then what’s the point?
When I began my study of the Veda, I found a similar idea. The Veda, too, says that change is inevitable; however, it adds something to this idea. The Veda says that there only ever is one thing going on in nature, in me, and that one thing is change. But it says further that all change is progressive change. Evolution. Everything always is moving in the direction of greater wholeness, greater happiness, greater productivity, regardless of how it may appear at any given moment.
With this idea we may learn to embrace change, rather than to seek some impossible perfection. We may learn to see change as a friend and ally, rather than as the enemy. If all change is progressive change, then by definition this next moment will be more in the direction of evolution than the moment that has just passed. Regardless of how it may appear. With this as a given, my job becomes to recognize the evolution of each moment, affirming change, while at the same time letting go of all that has come before.
Change is inevitable.
All change is progressive change.
All change is for my own good, for the good of all, for the good of nature.
May I attune myself with this change now.
Today I will look for evidence of evolution in my life, even in those places my life seems to be going to hell in a handbasket.
Leaf, Madison County, MT
All original material copyright © 2018 Jeff Kober