Just before I was laid off work last August, I had signed up for a class in the Tao te Ching at my local spiritual center. Knowing that I would be taking this class was uplifting as I’ve taken numerous classes in various spiritual philosophies for years, but knew nothing about the Tao. One more piece of this never ending puzzle would be nourishing and stimulating, and I would have a warm environment to go to and be with like-minded people who were also searching.
The class was taught by one of the senior ministers, Rev. Kim Kaiser who, in the earlier part of his life, was a practicing Zen monk for 13 years. What I didn’t know was that Rev. Kim had not studied the Tao, prior to preparing for this class, so in a sense we were all learning together. The class was only 4 weeks in length, but the experience of learning about the Tao will last a lifetime. It has changed the way I understand the beginning of everything that exists, and it was a stunning revelation.
There are several things that stand out in my mind about what I learned, and although the Tao can be either gender, or both, the description that Rev. Kim shared with us was of the Tao expresses itself as a mother holding a small child in her arms, lovingly.
When I was young, and saw a round and soft black woman hold a child, it was the most beautiful thing I could imagine. It was an experience that I longed for but never had. Now I have the image of Mother Tao, holding me in her arms, and expressing the love that I had never felt from a mother. It filled me with warmth all over, extending beyond my body. I wondered if this is the energy that links everything together; to really have a sense of oneness.
The other day my kitty, Paris Rose, was sitting on my lap watching the morning news, while I was sipping my coffee. That wasn’t unusual, but I had Wayne Dyer’s book, “Change your Thinking, Change your Life” in my hands, and was reading his explanation of one of the verses from the Tao. It was my time to connect with my Mother, through Wayne, and noticed the determination Rosie had to be on my lap, nudging my book over with her little face, and make room to lay down comfortably.
This wasn’t a new action for Rosie; she did quite regularly, but it was new for me to pay such close attention to her gentle persistent, and how she ultimately succeeded in achieving her goal.
I moved the book over to read the short chapter, and allow for Rosie to share that experience with me. When I finally set the book aside, I looked at my kitty, differently than I had in the ten years. She was clear about her intentions, and without saying a word, or being aggressive, she fulfilled her desire, quite naturally.
After sitting with her for nearly an hour, quietly, and watching, I noticed her slow and deep breathing. She breathes properly, without being reminded. How could I have missed all of the subtleties of the way my kitty navigates through her life, so naturally?
The Tao speaks of doing nothing, and accomplish everything. That was quite a perplexing notion to me, and because I’m a child of the Way (Tao), I don’t suppose that notion will vanish any time soon, but I aspire to it, as I’ve seen it in action.
When I was laid off, I was intent to do many of the things I had envisioned doing when I retired. Being busy was my mode of operation from the time I was a child, so it was natural for me to get on with my life, and it was exciting. I felt free.
I’ve become involved in many new ventures, from studying Aikido, to joining Toastmasters and Redwood Writers, and of course socializing way more than I have in the past. It has all been worthwhile, to some degree, and I’m becoming accustomed to all of the changes, but I’m still in search of my life’s real meaning. Being busy doesn’t necessarily constitute fulfilling my destiny.
I often reflect on the day that Rosie nudged my book to the side so she could rest comfortably on my lap. It was a great learning experience. I think about my own life, and how to navigate through it with such ease, and meet my needs at the same time, but without effort. To do that I’ve discovered the need to be quiet more often, to watch the development of my life, and to listen to my intuition to see what it is saying to me. I feel it is connected directly to the Tao, which has all of the answers I will ever need. If I rest in the loving arms of my Mother, peacefully, breathe deeply, and let my energy flow, all will be well, and I will gracefully experience the natural flow of life, like the trees. They grow their leaves when it’s their time to do so, and they don’t ask why they didn’t get them sooner.
About the author shari2845