Peacefully, Blissfully

by Christopher Lovejoy on February 24, 2013

Restlessness is a way of life for those who would move quickly and efficiently from one task to the next, from one device to the next, juggling the objects of their fascination in a performance worthy of a clown act. Fluid and flexible though they may appear, they displace being with doing and having.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 26

How might I welcome and allow a peaceful inner posture with blissful benefits? And why is this important?

Here’s a better question, which I think addresses the why: what could be more peaceful and blissful than having the freedom to live your life authentically, with integrity and intimacy, without feeling as if people and circumstances controlled you without your permission?

But let us not put the cart before the horse.

If “a peaceful inner posture of presence” is the cart, then “remaining alert, assured, and blissfully responsive to change” is the horse …

If heaviness is at
the root of lightness,
then stillness is the
master of unrest.

Realizing this,
peaceful, blissful persons
are centered, poised
in the midst of activity;
although surrounded
by much abundance,
they are not swayed.

Why would anyone
flit about like a fool?
If you let yourself
be blown to and fro,
you lose touch with
the root of your being.
To be restless is to
lose your center.

Edited slightly to enhance flow and to reflect more inclusive language

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

Restlessness is a symptom of anxiety taking up residence inside the heart of your soul. The antidote is to renew your friendship with stillness, the master of unrest. In times of risk and stress, welcome the master of unrest into the heart of your soul.

My Impressions of the Verse

I changed some of the words in this verse to suit my taste.

‘Stillness’ sounds more harmonious to my ear than ‘the still’; ‘peaceful, blissful’ more aligned with my intentions than ‘successful’; ‘much abundance’ less offensive to my ear than ‘opulence’; ‘anyone’ more inclusive than the archaic term ‘lord’; and so on.

Revised to my liking, this verse gives fair warning, a timeless warning: keep to your center lest you lose touch with the core of your being.

If heaviness is at
the root of lightness,
then stillness is the
master of unrest.

When I contemplate these words, I cannot help but imagine cupping a smooth stone in one hand and gently grasping a feather in the other, as I meander peacefully and blissfully along the shore of a great lake, conspiring with the master of unrest to empty my mind of thoughts.

Realizing this,
peaceful, blissful persons
are centered, poised
in the midst of activity;
although surrounded
by much abundance,
they are not swayed.

Not swayed … not distracted, not consumed by those trials and temptations that would have me extinguish my calm and my poise, my peace and my bliss, my love and my joy.

Why would anyone
flit about like a fool?
If you let yourself
be blown to and fro,
you lose touch with
the root of your being.
To be restless is to
lose your center.

Why indeed, but can you sense the irony here?

If I should take my leisure along the shore of a beach in the midst of a strong wind, would it not be natural for me not to resist the force of the wind so as to allow myself to be blown hither and thither?

In the company of others, the meaning changes: as I stay true to myself, I cannot lose touch with the root of my being. I cannot lose my center and fall prey to restlessness in my encounters with others.

Implications for Personal Fulfillment

In addressing the question, “how might I welcome and allow a peaceful inner posture with blissful benefits?”, I suggested by way of analogy that a peaceful inner posture is the cart being pulled by the horse that remains ever alert, assured, and responsive.

A peaceful inner posture of presence can be cultivated with daily practice, but a peaceful inner posture of presence requires poise to remain alert and responsive to promise and possibility for the sake of opportunity in the ongoing flowing stream of life.

Allow me to elaborate.

With presence, I might only ever remain at peace as I dwell, here and now, enveloped by a sense of promise (the cart of calm at rest).

With a peaceful inner posture of presence, I can also be blissful as I flow, as I go with the flow, inspired by a sense of possibility, being mindful of resistance to the new, the unusual, the strange, the unknown, the uncomfortable, the unknowable (the horse in motion).

A peaceful inner posture of presence with blissful benefits is the cart being pulled by the horse easily and effortlessly, at times gently, at times briskly, but always easily and effortlessly, even as a perceived obstacle (inadequacy, challenge, problem, difficulty) arises along the way.

A peaceful inner posture with blissful benefits is the apex of personal fulfillment – a blessed continuity of experience that attracts and invites opportunities worthy of this posture, informed by a healthy, vital relationship with that area of influence known as “my comfort zone”.

For genuine learning, growth, and expansion in consciousness to occur, my comfort zone can only ever serve as a gauge for further action.

That is, I cannot ever afford to fool myself into thinking that my comfort zone represents the ultimate in personal fulfillment.

The ultimate in personal fulfillment is always a dynamic proposition – not a static one – involving as it does moving into and out of the comfort zone, knowing when to remain in the comfort zone, and knowing when to move out of the comfort zone.

To be myself is to know myself; to know myself is to be myself – especially where comfort zones are concerned.

Theoretically speaking, the practice of cultivating a peaceful inner posture with blissful benefits comes in four parts: know your comfort zone; know when to remain inside it; know when to move outside of it; and know when to anticipate moving in and out of it.

Practically speaking, such a practice involves an intimate familiarity with the boundaries of your comfort zone in a variety of situations and circumstances while, paradoxically, being willing to push and expand those boundaries from the core of your being.

A study of personal fulfillment is a study of the peaceful inner posture of presence with blissful benefits, with due respect given to comfort zones.

Verse 26 is a reminder of the value of being peacefully present, of remaining alert, assured, and blissfully responsive to change in the midst of activity.

Next up: Following the Light (Living By Your Inner Light)

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