Harmony is Divinity

by Christopher Lovejoy on December 16, 2012

If you resonate with the ancient wisdom and the beloved mystery, this post is for you.

If you find value in living with enlightened sagacity and lasting contentment, this post is for you.

If you’re curious about the meaning of living infinitely and living impartially, this post is for you.

If you’re intrigued by the prospects of living passively and living egolessly, this post is for you.

If you’re comfortable with the practice of living naturally and living with enough, this post is for you.

If you appreciate the wisdom of living with unity and finding peace with the void, this post is for you.

If you understand that living and trusting is a prelude to living autonomously, this post is for you.

If you’ve taken a leap into living beyond form and being profoundly spacious, this post is for you.

Before we proceed, however, I would ask that you set aside preconceived notions of earthly nobility and heavenly divinity.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 16

This verse is about living, loving, and learning by way of peace, harmony, fulfillment, destiny, constancy, impartiality, nobility, and divinity. More succinctly, this is a verse about realizing the essence of who you are with a constant perspective, fully and fearlessly.

As I mention in my post, Living Beyond Form, harmony with the Way is the ultimate prize, but as this verse makes clear, such harmony reaches the apex of divinity only when peace, fulfillment, destiny, constancy, impartiality, and nobility have been negotiated and incorporated.

This verse is quite advanced in its wisdom, containing as it does multiple layers of meaning that build on one another. If you haven’t yet contemplated the wisdom found in the verses previous to this one, I strongly suggest that you do (by following some or all of the links above).

All in all, verse 16 feels very much like a culmination of the verses that come before it.

Become totally empty.
Let your heart be at peace.
Amidst the rush of
worldly comings and goings,
observe how endings
become beginnings.

Things flourish, each by each,
only to return to the Source …
to what is and what is to be.

To return to the root is to find peace.
To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny.
To fulfill one’s destiny is to be constant.
To know the constant is called insight;
not knowing invites eternal disaster.

Knowing the constant
provides perspective.
This perspective is impartial.
Impartiality is the highest nobility;
the highest nobility is divine.

Being divine,
you have unity with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
This way is everlasting,
not endangered by physical death.

Edited slightly by yours truly to enhance the flow of text

Ref: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

“This way (being at one with the Tao) is everlasting, not endangered by physical death.”

This transparent state of being, of going and growing with the flow, is not only beyond any concern with death, it also precludes encounters with oblivion. A sound familiarity with afterlife phenomena will enhance your appreciation of this earthly conclusion (i.e., the way is everlasting).

My Impressions of the Verse

My overall impression of this verse is favorable, not only because it offers a summary of verses 1 through 15, but because it rewards the lover of spontaneous wisdom with a divine perspective on ultimate fulfillment.

Become totally empty.
Let your heart be at peace.
Amidst the rush of
worldly comings and goings,
observe how endings
become beginnings.

In stillness, I find my peace, and with peace, I can observe, receive, and release the world as a witness. With every ending – the end of a cycle, a job, a home, a project, a relationship – comes a new beginning, even from that transition known as death.

Things flourish, each by each,
only to return to the Source …
to what is and what is to be.

People, places, and things come and go. Change is a constant in the world of the 10,000 things.

Not only is change a constant, but change is in a perpetual cycle of growth, decay, and renewal.

To return to the root is to find peace.
To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny.
To fulfill one’s destiny is to be constant.
To know the constant is called insight;
not knowing invites eternal disaster.

Paradoxically, the taproot of Being includes non-Being.

The taproot of Being descends into the stillness within.

A separate peace is the hallmark of a destiny fulfilled.

A fulfillment of destiny reflects allegiance to constancy.

Such a constant knowing requires insight into Being.

The taproot of Being descends into the stillness within.

Ignorance of this cycle keeps eternity out of reach.

Knowing the constant
provides perspective.
This perspective is impartial.
Impartiality is the highest nobility;
the highest nobility is divine.

Knowing the constant is knowing that change is constant. Keeping to the Law of Change is impartial and brings a sense of nobility, but the highest nobility projects mastery of this law, which is divine.

Being divine,
you have unity with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
This way is everlasting,
not endangered by physical death.

Being divine is synonymous
with transcending all things temporal,
of being in the world, but not of it,
of being forever in harmony with
the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

The alchemical process of transformation and purification eventually gives way to perfection, where divinity is harmony and harmony is divinity.

Implications for Personal Fulfillment

In light of verse 16, personal fulfillment is not so much about compensatory wanting, gaining, and keeping, as it is observing, receiving, and releasing in the midst of expressive being, having, and doing.

Caught inside a perpetual chase in a never-ending hunt, we often fail to grasp and realize the extraordinary power of observation.

If perception is manifestation (as energy flows where attention goes), then we would do well to harness the creative, perpetuating power of seeing, hearing, touching, and feeling. Stale perceptions keep things the same; fresh perceptions breed possibilities.

Such possibilities, however, can rarely be realized without being open to receive them, while being prepared to release them at any time.

This feels very different from tapping into desires, setting goals, making plans, and focusing relentlessly on desired outcomes, but then, wise maturity and mature wisdom have gotten good at living, being, and knowing what is real, true, good, right, fair, and pure for them.

In a world of constant change, we are (at times) tempted to shut it up or shut it down. If, however, we can hold our ground with some measure of maturity and wisdom, we’re usually rewarded with fresh insights into who we are and what we’re made of.

If such insights can be carried with constancy, we find ourselves presented with opportunities to guide others.

Next up: On Providing Subtle Guidance

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This post is one of many in an ongoing series that began here.

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