The Bottomless Heart

redon_birth_of_venus

“The best hearts and minds are fathomlessly deep”

Most people have a limited conception of themselves. How we describe and conceive of ourselves often shackles us, preventing us from being so much more than we tepidly imagined. Whenever we have reached the limits of our mind, we must always know there is more; whenever we reach the bottom of our heart, we must realize it carries on without end.

People cling to tiny hearts and minds because infinity scares them. Not comprehending the patterns of Heaven, it all appears chaotic to them; a frightening morass, beyond comprehension. Thus, they dwell in confined personalities, restrictive social structures, and rigid classifications, because they are too afraid to confront the majestic spontaneity of the boundless.

The Wayfarer is not like this. He does not shirk things just because they do not give up their secrets readily. He is drawn to the fathomless like a magnet, for that is where he makes his home. Always approaching what he does not understand, and venturing into places he has never known, he consistently expands the purview of his heart/mind until it is without limits. With such depth within him, he is able to see that same depth within everything. What to others seems ordinary and prosaic, to him openly confides the enigmatic secrets of life. Being fathomless, he is a mystery to all around him. Incapable of being comprehended by narrower men, he cannot be corrupted, exploited, or understood. Only those who follow the Way will understand.

How can we cultivate minds/hearts of fathomless depth ourselves?

  • Meditate
  • Overcome attachment to material things, materialistic viewpoints and assumptions
  • Take emptiness as the foundation of your mind. Do not presume to know anything until you have investigated it carefully; and even then, proceed with caution
  • Be impartial – reject attachment to preferences – show kindness and compassion to all beings without exception
  • Refuse to let fear prevent you from seeking the truth. Losing boundaries and definitions is always scary –you must learn to love loss

TAO TE CHING 44

river town

Fame or your being –

Which is closer to your heart?

Your life or your wealth –

Which is more valuable?

Gain or loss –

Which is more destructive?

Loving excess

Incurs great waste

The more you hoard up

The more immense your losses

Know what is enough

And you won’t be disappointed

Realize restraint

And you won’t be endangered

 Thus are you able to last

As long as the ancients

Teaching Poem II

great sage

Benefit may attract you in the beginning

But Integrity will compel you in the end

Turn enemies into friends

Opponents into allies

Use the enemy to defeat the enemy

Use opposition to achieve harmony

Do not draw out conflict

Always look for the most enduring solution

Temporary measures

Are easily swept away

But build a solid foundation

And nothing will uproot it

TAO TE CHING 43

branch

The most flexible thing below Heaven

Gallopingly overrides

The most rigid thing below Heaven

That which has no form

Penetrates

That which has no space

Through this I perceive

The benefit of non-action

Wordlessly teaching

Non-action’s benefit

Few below Heaven can master it

geo

Wanting to contract

It is essential to expand

Wanting to weaken

It is essential to strengthen

If you want to abandon

It is necessary to foster

If you want to deprive

It is necessary to endow

The is known as The Mystery of Enlightenment

 

Yielding flexibility overcomes relentless force

Fish should not be separated from the watery depths

A country’s weapons of advantage

Should not be revealed to the people

TAO TE CHING 33

pretty

Understanding others is wisdom

Understanding yourself is enlightenment

Conquering others require physical force

Conquering yourself requires a determined spirit

Knowing what is enough is wealth

To move fearlessly forwards

Requires inner resolve

Never stray from your centre

And you will last long

Die without ceasing

And you’ll be immortal

TAO TE CHING 30

fighter

Those with The Way

Help people to master themselves

They do not use force or weapons

Against the world

For such actions

Always turn against us

Where armies camp

Thorns and brambles arise

After a great war

There is always a harvest of calamities

An adept achieves their purpose

Then ceases

Does not presume to depend upon force

But brings things to resolution

Without arrogance

Without hauteur

Without pride

Without attachment

Without aggression

Such things flourish

And then decay

This is called Not Tao

Not Tao soon ends.

TAO TE CHING 29

deep blue

Desiring to take All Below Heaven

And make it do your bidding

I comprehend that such ventures

Never end well

All Below Heaven

Is a vessel for divinity

And should not be tampered with

Those who tamper with it

Destroy it

Those who seize it

Lose it

Hence, sometimes leading

Sometimes following

Sometimes hot

Sometimes cold

Sometimes strong

Sometimes weak

Sometimes overcoming

Other times giving in

Therefore the sage

Spurns excess

Spurns extravagance

Spurns indulgence

Tao Te Ching Teachings: Straw Dogs Part Two

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“The Sage is without bias

Regarding the mass of men

As if they were straw dogs”

As The Sage – The Taoist – aspires to mirror Heaven and Earth in all things, so does he mirror them in their dispassionate sobriety – their undifferentiated awareness. In Chapter Two, it was said that The Sage nurtures all beings, and rejects none. But, if The Sage were biased or predisposed to partiality, how would this be possible? He would nurture some, and then leer at others; show special affection to some, and then scorn others. Thus, it is because the sage is free from bias that he is also free to disseminate his compassion in all directions.

But what of The Sage regarding men as straw dogs? How benign could it be to compare someone to a sacrificial object? A straw dog is assembled from separate parts. But, once it is burned, all those separate parts become one, dissolving into immaterial smoke. The Sage understands men to be the same. We are assembled together from assorted aggregates: our parents’ DNA and chromosomes, individual atoms, cells, organs, organelles, bones, senses, nerves and specific colorations of awareness. It is amazing we are even considered a ‘single’ entity – even each of the individual organelles within our cells could all be considered living beings in their own right!

But, once we are burned up by the experience of life, all of those unique aggregates of ours that were carefully woven together begin to unravel. Burned to ashes, worthless as even maggot food, it is only the smoke of the Tao that enlivened us that still remains. That is the dog behind the straw dog – the changeless symbol behind every ephemeral life.

Seeing men like this, The Sage is able to love all beings without being deceived or attached to them. Unattached and with a clear mind, he is completely free, and thus, capable of freeing others. This is what Don Juan Matus would call ‘ruthless kindness.’ A kindness that always helps, but does not indulge people.

TAO TE CHING 27

heavensss

Skilled travelers
Leave neither
Trace nor track
Skilled speech
Is without taint or error
Skilled mathematicians
Need no tools for counting

A good safe
Has neither bolts nor bars
Yet cannot be opened
A good knot
Has neither rope nor string
Yet cannot come undone

In this way, the sage, throughout eternity
Skilfully rescues all men
Without abandoning any of them
Skilfully liberates all beings
Without neglecting any of them

This is called The Concealed Practice of the Enlightened

For this reason,
The good person
Is the inept person’s teacher
The inept person
Is the good person’s raw material

Not revering one’s teacher
Not loving one’s raw material
Even if intelligent and discerning
One will be greatly misguided!

This is called The Crux
Of the sublime spiritual mystery