do you imagine the universe is agitated?

maroun habib

 

Do you

imagine the universe

is agitated? Go into the desert

at night and look out at the stars. 

This practice should answer

the question. 

 

The superior

person settles her mind as 

the universe settles the stars in the sky. 

By connecting her mind with the subtle origin,

she calms it. Once calmed, it naturally

expands and ultimately her mind

becomes as vast and 

immeasurable as

the night

sky.

 

from Hua hu Ching, Chapter 5

 

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the truth of tao is everywhere

dragon aurora over iceland

 

Just as

the world can reveal itself

as particles, the Tao can reveal itself

as human beings. Though world and particles

aren’t the same, neither are they different.

Though the cosmic body and your

body aren’t the same, neither

are they different.

 

Worlds and particles,

bodies and beings, time and space:

all are transient expressions of the Tao.

Unseeable, ungraspable, the Tao is beyond

any attempt to analyze or categorize it.

At the same time, its truth is

everywhere you

turn.

 

If you

can let go of it

with your mind and

surround it with your

heart, it will live

inside you

forever.

 

from Hua hu Ching, Chapter 33

 

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strong within, gentle without

shaun tan

 

True joy is

experienced by those who

are strong within and

gentle without.

 

The hexagram Tui teaches us how to come into possession of joy. In our search for success and happiness we are prone to think that we must take aggressive actions to achieve them. The instruction of the I Ching is just the opposite: only those who practice innocence, acceptance, and detachment inherit true joy in this world.

We often see around us how forcible effort brings about what appears to be progress. Our egos tempt us to believe that these gains are lasting and valuable, but the truth is otherwise. Whatever is won by the desirous, ambitious, demanding manipulations of the ego will soon be lost. Others can always be temporarily browbeaten into doing things our way, but only hearts won by friendliness and sincere goodwill are true over time.

The I Ching teaches us again and again that joy and success cannot be forced or stolen. They are achieved gradually—but steadily—by those who relate correctly to others and to the Higher Power. To relate correctly means to steadfastly practice innocence, detachment, acceptance, modesty, and gentleness. Life is full of shortcuts, but this is the only route that leads to true joy.

The image of the hexagram is that of two lakes joined together to keep from drying up. It is an encouragement to us to join with like-minded friends now in the discussion and contemplation of higher things. If we engage in an ongoing conversation about proper principles with our friends, our relationship to truth is steady and our ego cannot seduce us into the doubt, fear, and anxiety that lead away from joy.

In your heart, be firm in holding to what is good and honest and correct. In your thoughts and actions, be gentle and accepting. Those who persevere on this path will meet with true joy and lasting success.

 

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 58, Tui / The Joyous

 

One who dabbles in inferior emotions,
attitudes, and actions will be undone by them.
Let these things go and return to
innocence and truth.

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fame and fortune are shallow and injurious

orion above easter island

 

People yearn 

for fame and fortune, 

but this is like aching to taste the

point of a weapon. These are shallow, 

confusing, empty of virtue — yet 

people become fixed on them 

and lose their way 

forever. 

 

Look closely 

at things that shine 

without substance. Fame 

enflames one’s idea of self and 

separates one from humanity. Touched 

by it, people grasp desperately to 

get and keep it. What is the 

wisdom, though, 

in resisting 

change?

 

Fortune 

is a lover similarly 

impossible to satisfy. 

Constantly demanding energy 

and attention, fencing off people’s 

hearts, it returns less and less to 

the soul. Yet common people 

contort themselves 

into cripples 

chasing

it.

 

See 

the injury 

built into these, 

and let them 

go by.

 

Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 32

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great skill looks clumsy

kintsugi

 

The greatest

perfection seems imperfect, 

yet its usefulness is endless. The greatest

fullness seems empty, yet its usefulness is inexhaustible. 

Great straightness seems flexible. Great skill looks clumsy. 

Great eloquence sounds awkward. Movement triumphs 

over cold. Stillness triumphs over heat. 

Clarity and tranquility set

the whole world

in order. 

 

from The Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu,

Chapter 45

 

 

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