To Live in Harmony

by Christopher Lovejoy on January 12, 2014

In my experience, to live wholly in harmony is to live and love and learn in full awareness of the present moment, free of the past and future, where “everything exists and nothing is judged”.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 72

I feel sorely tempted to give this instructive verse a title, as follows: On How to Be Yourself Limitlessly, from A Sense of Awe, with Love and Acceptance, by Way of Harmony and Humility.

When people lack
a sense of awe,
disaster will follow.
When people do not fear
worldly power,
a greater power will arrive.

Do not limit
the view of yourself.
Do not despise
the conditions of your birth.
Do not resist
the natural course of your life.
In this way, you will never
weary of this world.

Therefore,
sages know themselves,
but make no show of themselves;
love themselves,
but do not exalt themselves.
They prefer what is within
to what is without.

Edited slightly to enhance flow and to reflect more inclusive language

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

Here, I’m sensing yet another philosophy of life in a nutshell.

My Impressions of the Verse

Much is left to implication in this compact verse; as such, much wisdom can be gleaned from it.

When people lack
a sense of awe,
disaster will follow.
When people do not fear
worldly power,
a greater power will arrive.

This first proposition might seem rather odd to someone who keeps a tight rein on their thoughts for the sake of logic and reason. Let’s loosen up a little and see what associations come up for us.

A sense of awe requires a mind at peace. I’m currently staying at a location where I have a commanding view of an entire city. At peace, this view inspires awe as much as it evokes appreciation.

Lacking a sense of awe implies lacking a sense of being at peace. Could it not be said that disaster lies around the corner for a mind that has not found peace. Keep in mind: as within, so without.

As for worldly power, what is there to fear except fear itself? Acceptance of who you are, where you are, is key to making time and space for a power more boundless than worldly power ever could be.

Do not limit
the view of yourself.
Do not despise
the conditions of your birth.
Do not resist
the natural course of your life.
In this way, you will never
weary of this world.

When I gaze through giant bay windows at the view below and beyond, “I am that” in my awe, and I do not limit this view of myself. The more I focus outward, the more inwardly spacious I feel.

Although I was born with a relatively low weight (just over five pounds), and would rather have been born somewhat bigger so that I feel more robust in my later years, I do not despise this condition.

The natural course of my life has taken me to places that has pushed me into resistance, even reactivity, but always, in retrospect, I can see how beneficial it has been for my learning and growth.

With a sense of awe and total acceptance, how can I ever weary of this world?

Therefore,
sages know themselves,
but make no show of themselves;
love themselves,
but do not exalt themselves.
They prefer what is within
to what is without.

I know myself well enough not to make a show of myself and I love myself enough not to exalt myself.

Although I like most of what I see when I look outward, I know that my true creative power resides within as the source and cause of what I see when I cast my gaze on the objects of my desire.

I give my attention to the experience of seeing rather than to the objects seen – and I find myself everywhere I look.

Implications for Personal Fulfillment

Love yourself, make no show of yourself, and find it within yourself to be in awe of the world even as you find it within yourself to accept the world as it is with a discerning eye.

The seeking is over; start finding yourself as the infinite being that you are.

If you’re presented with something in your experience that makes your eyes pop, that leaves your mouth agape, or that knocks your socks off, embrace it! Announce it to the world!

“Wow! Thank you! How does it get any better than this?”

Cultivating a sense of wonder, a sense of the sacred, a sense of awe, is really just a matter of putting your attention on wondrous, sacred, awe-inspiring ideas, places, persons, and objects. As you flow from one idea to the next, from one place to the next, from one person to the next, from one object to the next, in a state of awe and wonder, perhaps, if you’re lucky, the acceptance part can be taken for granted.

With verse 72 in your pocket, following your highest excitement, your deepest inspiration, your most blissful watercourse, never looked so good.

Next up: The Net of Heaven (Living in Heaven’s Net)

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

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