Years ago and now again, I am studying the Tao and Zen thoughts but with the added pleasure of contemplating, sharing and discussing it with others. I have always been intrigued with prana, chi, yoga, meridians, crystals, vibrational energy, the metaphysical healing arts and great philosophers. This is a broad field of study.
Here and there I have focused on let’s say the Sutras, the Yamas and the Niyamas when I was training for my 200 hour yoga teacher training. Tibetan bowls, gongs, the ocean drum and timshas are items I have used during my yoga classes. Aromatherapy, color psychology and subtle energy are areas of expertise I could never learn enough about. Intrigued, I learned and still explore the chakras, sound healing, chanting, Sanskrit, mala beads and pendulums. I have researched and delved into crystals, chakra balancing, vibrational color theory and practices.
I now seem to be drawn back into the study of ancient texts and their interpretations. When I walked into my new class, I knew all would be well when I smelled the incense in the dimly lit room and noticed the tea candle lit in the lap of a Buddha statuette. The Tao Te Ching and Zen and the Art of Happiness are studied here, every other week.
In our third and last meditation of the evening, a woman played the Peruvian flute, notes floated and minds imagined as we were guided inside our inner sanctum.
My good buddy L, who shared the screen with me on Wayne Dyer’s PBS show, will be joining the fun as we return together to ponder the wisdom of Lao Tzu. This week we reflected on the 17th and 42nd verses. Verse 42 observes the principles of transformation: this is how it begins –
The Great Integrity expresses one. One manifests as two. Two is transformed into three. And three generates all the myriad entities of the universe.
And this is how it ends –
As you sow, so shall you reap. Such is the heart of my teaching in a world forced to live heartlessly.
The metaphor of one, dividing into two – the yin and the yang, the female and the male and that from that One, divided, comes everything else in the world. After reading Hegel and how he describes every transformation as a process involving conflict of opposites which resolves into a third entity, we understand this verse and its meaning in a novel way. Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis he explains. So we read the ancient text and bring modern vocabulary to it. But the philosophy and the axioms or truths are the same.
The reminder of how humans violate and disturb natural harmony but that returning back to the memory of One and how we are all from One, we end the cruelty. The One is the Way of all things.
Scholars have been studying and interpreting the Tao Te Ching for over 2500 years. In our modest dozen or so seekers on Wednesday nights, in a small but hallowed chamber, we discuss the views we all have and exchange our internal findings and conclusions.
Essential to book studies, is having an open mind and a willingness to take part in free discourse or the courage to ask questions. Listening to each other with respect and acknowledging everyone’s point of view can be challenging, but also, life changing.
Next week, Zen study and happiness.