Sunday, September 26, 2010

Discovering Your Master

A couple of things to consider as the day, and weekend, winds down.

There are some things that just can not be changed and we must simply learn to accept them.

Do you think you can take over the
universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.

The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.

So sometimes things are ahead and
   sometimes they are behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard,
   sometimes it comes easily;
Sometimes there is strength and
   sometimes weakness;
Sometimes one is up and sometimes

Therefore the sage avoids extremes,
excesses, and complacency.

Tao Te Ching

Avoid extremes, including the extreme of complacency. Being complacent with where you are and what you are will bring you no closer to who you really are. Accept that there are extremes, accept that the extremes are self-defining, but then avoid them and walk the middle way.

This doesn't mean, though, that one should always avoid the edges in life, always hiding safely in the middle and amongst the masses. NO! NO! and NO! I believe that the only way to grow, and the best way to find meaning in life, is to spend a great part of that life on the outer edges of our envelope, in whatever area we have dedicated our life. It's at that outer edge that you find Life, it's at that outer edge where numbing and debilitating routine and habit are nowhere to be found. It's at that outer edge where you can glimpse, from time to time, that unknown reality just beyond reach.

Some people look for that edge on their zafu. Others in a sports uniform, others in a lab coat, others in books in libraries. There are countless ways of living on the edge. But, in every case, before you start that search you have to prepare yourself first.

Love yourself and watch -
Today, tomorrow, always.
First establish yourself in the way,
Then teach,
And so defeat sorrow.
To straighten the crooked
You must first do a harder thing -
Straighten yourself.
You are your only master.
Who else?
Subdue yourself,
And discover your master.


Mischief is yours.
Sorrow is yours.
But virtue is also yours,
And purity.
You are the source
Of all purity and impurity.
No one purifies another.
Never neglect your work
For another's,
However great his need.
Your work is to discover your work
And then with all your heart
To give yourself to it.


Some of the work we need to do in this life is internal, that search for our master, that journey towards who we are. No one can do it for you and you can't do it for anyone else. Discovery often entails long, lonely expeditions into the unknown, whether those are physical or mental expeditions, whether it is a trek outside towards the North Pole or a trek inside during a long silent retreat.

Only the strong survive, those who give all of themselves to the search. But that doesn't mean the weak are forbidden from searching, no. Everyone starts out weak at some point in their lives, it's just that the driven ones understand that it all begins with the decision to straighten yourself — to straighten your way of thinking, to straighten your body, to straighten you attitude, to straighten your emotions... to straighten every aspect of who you are.

Once you do that, once you commit with all your heart that you will do whatever is necessary, then discoveries will be yours.

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