The Principal Principle

by Christopher Lovejoy on November 3, 2013

Good or bad, right or wrong, black or white?

We could ignore the moral dimension of conscious human life.

We could forget all about following a straight and narrow path, running wild with reckless abandon, and we could pretend that good and evil don’t exist, except as judgmental constructs of the mind.

But then, we would be faced with more than a few troubling consequences; all of this ignoring and forgetting and pretending would likely land us in ice cold water (in scalding hot water?).

In my post, The Supreme Virtue, I describe the human pinball, suggesting that almost everyone has gone to reactive extremes at some point in their lives, even as the most noble among us follow the Tao.

Verse 62 revisits this principal principle, dropping a few hints along the way as to why this principle is “the most noble thing in the world”.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 62

Even in a spirit of levity, operating automatically in reactive mode, too many of us, it seems, fall prey to performing subtle acts of judging, blaming, and shaming that feel perversely pleasurable.

As impressionable young children, we cannot help but allow our caregivers to imprint us with the substance and style of their judgments and judging, leading us to carry this fateful imprinting through adolescence into adulthood and beyond.

Even if we fancy ourselves mature and responsible in public, the imprinting holds sway in private. Rather than holding and releasing emotional charges, we’re more inclined to indulge them and express them.

The incessant lust to judge, to blame, to shame, to condemn, to punish, goes hand in hand with the lust to indulge and express these charges reactively, if only subtly, and perhaps even recklessly, conveniently forgetting that such charges can be handled responsively and responsibly.

Deep down, most of us know better when we confuse the sin with the sinner, condemning the being rather than the doing.

The Tao is the treasure house,
the true nature,
the secret Source of everything.
It is the treasure of the good person
and the refuge of the bad.

If persons seem wicked,
do not cast them away.
Awaken them to your words,
elevate them with your deeds,
repay injuries with kindness.
Do not cast them away;
cast away their wickedness.

When new leaders are chosen,
do not offer to help them
with your wealth or expertise.
Help them to meditate on The Principle;
offer to teach them about the Tao.

Why did the ancients
make so much of The Principle?
Is it not because it is the Source of all good
and the remedy for all evil?
Is it not the most noble thing in the world?

Edited slightly to enhance flow and to reflect more inclusive language

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

As far as I can see at this point in my life, “the most noble thing in the world” – the loftiest, grandest, most sublime and high-minded thing in the world – requires more than a little perspective.

My Impressions of the Verse

I find it more than a little interesting that a three-letter word (hint: it starts with the letter T) is invested with so much significance.

Can this investment be justified?

The Tao is the treasure house,
the true nature,
the secret Source of everything.
It is the treasure of the good person
and the refuge of the bad.

If someone is wedded to the material world of the senses, this passage will not make a bit of sense.

If a woman is driving along and suddenly heeds an inner voice not her own to change lanes, and then realizes seconds later that she would’ve been crushed by an 18-wheeler had she not heeded, I think she can be forgiven if she no longer places so much faith in the senses.

This incident is but one of many that can lead someone to inquire more deeply into the nature of this world in relation to other worlds, and eventually, to acquire a broader context of understanding informed by connections with The Other Side from The Great Beyond.

With such an awakened context, the secret Source remains mysterious, and yet … not so mysterious.

The moral dimension of conscious life in human form takes on added significance with a fresh other-worldly perspective inspired by knowing that we are all individualized and unique expressions of One Being whose fundamental nature is one of peace, love, joy, and bliss.

If persons seem wicked,
do not cast them away.
Awaken them to your words,
elevate them with your deeds,
repay injuries with kindness.
Do not cast them away;
cast away their wickedness.

In human pinball mode, where reactivity rules the day, this passage can only ever be interpreted as a string of meaningless words.

Wickedness is the ultimate contrast for the cultivation and expression of unconditional love. In responsive mode, in remembrance of this most divine virtue, this passage honors the One.

When new leaders are chosen,
do not offer to help them
with your wealth or expertise.
Help them to meditate on The Principle;
offer to teach them about the Tao.

If a principle is a fundamental truth that serves as a basis to be a certain way, then The Principle is the fundamental principle that serves to guide us into harmony with the Way.

Offers of wealth and expertise are fine as far as they go, but support from beyond requires pure intent.

Why did the ancients
make so much of The Principle?
Is it not because it is the Source of all good
and the remedy for all evil?
Is it not the most noble thing in the world?

Why did the ancients from Atlantis and Lemuria before The Great Flood make so much of The Principle? Did they realize they could not get away with being separate from the Source of life and love?

Implications for Personal Fulfillment

I’m here in this dense world because I have need of contrast to know myself fully, to sully The White Being in The White Room so that I can truly know peace and love, joy and bliss, grace and gratitude.

Thankfully, I have eternity in which to do it.

In knowing ourselves more fully through time, from one lifetime to the next, in places where fear and separation prevail, energies are blocked or thrown out of balance. Horrific wounds are sustained even as unspeakable suffering is endured. This is the dark story of humanity.

In the global spiritual awakening that is here and now, we have need to balance karma, to heal the wounds, to be of service to others, to release false beliefs around perceived lack and limitation.

We come into this world with nothing and we leave this world with nothing, save the cherished memories of a lifetime and the memories of those challenges we faced and met (or didn’t face and meet), with no judgment from the soul if we didn’t get it right the first time (or even subsequent times).

I exist, and in some form, I will always exist with the contrast of time and timelessness; all is forever contained by the One and the One is forever expressed by all; what I keep putting out is what I keep getting back; and with the exception of these three ironclad laws, change is the only constant.

Until I find the strength and resolve and courage to come into my own power in harmony with this ongoing change, the One, and those aligned with the One, are always there, ready and willing and able to lend their energetic hands and hearts to the basic task of making whole.

In the meantime, as I continue to hold and clear a sacred space within, containment and replenishment remain forever possible and desirable.

I trust peace and love infused with Presence to guide me and inspire me as I go.

Next up: Without Difficulties? (Living without Difficulties)

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

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