Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Search for Peace

Lao Tzu was a quiet mystic who lived in China back around 6th century B.C. He was a contemporary of Confucius and wrote the Tao Te Ching. He also had a few things to say about attaining peace. He said:

"Tao abides in non-action,

Yet nothing is left undone.

If kings and lords observed this,

The ten thousand things would develop naturally.

If they still desired to act,

They would return to the simplicity of formless substance.

Without form there is no desire.

Without desire there is tranquillity.

And in this way all things would be at peace"

Lao Tsu's teachings are hard to comprehend for the western mindset. He advocates returning to the state of the "uncarved block" or the center of your being to find peace. In other words, there is nothing that you need to do, there is no action you need to perform. You just need to go to that simple awareness that exists within all of us. It is an awareness without prejudice, without discrimination, without desire that just exists. And it is so simple that a baby can do it, naturally. And yet it is so difficult for us to attain. We have been so shaped by our culture, our schools, our parents, our desires that we have forgotten the state of the uncarved block.

"Look, it cannot be seen--it is beyond form.

Listen, it cannot be heard--it is beyond sound.

Grasp, it cannot be held--it is intangible...

From above, it is not bright.

From below, it is not dark:

An unbroken thread beyond description

Stand before it and there is no beginning.

Follow it and there is no end.

Stay with the ancient Tao,

Move with the present.

Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao."

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