Finding “the Way”

Shrewdness incarnate, Chinese historian and philosopher Lao Tzu talked about “the Way”, a kind of direction-less path synonymous with Tao. I’ve always appreciated the principles of Tao, especially since there essentially aren’t any…

Returning from two months in Paris and finding myself in Victoria, it seems I have lost my “Way”. Not sure I ever had it. Taoism is an odd thing in today’s world. Alan Watts used to philosophize that Westerners were incapable of understanding or following its path. In a society so preoccupied with doing and producing it seems antithetical to cultivate the ideas of “not-doing”.

Of course Lao Tzu didn’t really mean doing nothing, rather I think he meant doing without pretense or expectation; acting in the moment, in accordance with nature (that which is around us and our own).

It’s all very Wu-wei wishy-washy…Not stepping into the same river twice, finding “the Way” without having direction, etc…The wisdoms of the Tao Te Ching are based on the dichotomous and dualistic nature of language. Like the Greek Heraclitus, they are parlances designed to free you up, and get you to think. But how do you think beyond language? That was the old master’s trick. A conundrum beyond conundrums. A riddle wrapped in an enigma. A tree falling in the woods. All that jazz.

All this to say that perhaps the first step to finding “the Way” is to stop worrying where you’re going and just get lost in yourself.

That’s my advice to everyone today. There is, however, no guarantee I will follow it myself…

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7 Responses to “Finding “the Way””

  1. ricki Says:

    Alan Watts tells a story in one of his books. He is walking with his wife (first one I think, he had a few) and trying to put into words the principles of Tao and getting all tied up into knots about it. She listens patiently at first but starts getting edgier as he goes around in circles. Finally she tells him that he should just shut up and do it. And he is amazed at her wisdom. Duh.

  2. The Necromancer Says:

    Duh, indeed. Like Wittgenstein said: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” He knew a thing or two about language. Wittgenstein also said, in response to Sartre’s famous refrain “Hell is other people”, that “Hell is oneself.” Not bad for an Austrian…

  3. Michaelm Says:

    Have you read this?
    I loved it.
    Thinking you may as well . . .

  4. The Necromancer Says:

    MM: Haven’t read it, but looks pretty interesting. Though all those “Tao of…” books are also kinda gimmicky. Not sure Lao Tzu would have thought much of them.

  5. ricki Says:

    I googled “The Tao of Tao” to see if anyone had done that yet. Seems not….

  6. isis2024 Says:

    Hell is both other people and yourself…mostly cause you just see yourself in everyone else. Disliking qualities of others that you don’t like about yourself and being attracted to those qualities in others you wish you had. Perhaps finding your way then is to love yourself exactly as you are…then everyone else reflects that love instead…

  7. The Necromancer Says:

    Tout a fait.

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