Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The First Step

Yen Huei said, “I’m improving!”
Confucius said, “How so?”
“I’ve forgotten benevolence and righteousness!”
That’s good. But you still haven’t got it.

Another day, the two met again, and
Yen Huei said, “I’m improving!”
“How so?”
“I’ve forgotten rites and music!”

Another day, the two met again, and Yen Huei said,
“I’m improving!”
“How so?”
“I can forget myself while sitting,” replied Yen Huei.
Confucius looked startled and said,
“What do you mean by that?”

“I have freed myself from my body, answered Yen Huei. “I have discarded my reasoning powers. And by thus getting rid of my body and mind, I have become one with the Infinite. This is what I mean by forgetting myself while sitting.”

“If you have become One”, said Confucius, “there can be no room for bias. If you have lost yourself, there can be no more hindrance. So you really are a wise man! I trust to be allowed to follow in your footsteps.”


That story was written by Chuang-Tzu in the 6th century. Unity within the self is a goal all Taoists want to experience physically, but there are no specific details or special steps to follow in order to achieve Oneness. Chuang-Tzu thought trying to get rid of one self was a positive manifestation of the complete self, so mind-fasting followed no special path, or intentional or forced activity. The art of letting the mind alone, letting it move freely without restraints, or restrictions, was the course of no course. It was like clouds flowing through the sky. From the non-doing, Oneness of the mind manifests, and other aspects of self appear from behind the clouds. These other fragments of consciousness are attached to the mental enzymes that create physical manifestations without effort. Zen awareness forms around and through the physical action of consciousness and Oneness of self expresses the results of this mental fasting in everyday activities.

What all that means 14 centuries later is an individual choice. The point is there is no path to Oneness until we create it, whether it is through a solid belief structure, or a flexible and floating belief system. which adjusts itself as new qualities of consciousness manifest through my non-efforts. In that truth there is no duplicity, unless we create it. There is no sin, unless we perceive it, and there is no peace unless we accept it. The work of Chuang-Tzu, Confucius and all the other Taoist expressed their beliefs about the nature of Oneness and then made a choice to live them. The nature of self is to live each experience.

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