Thursday, 26 January 2012

Verse 56


Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk do not know.

Stop talking,
block off your senses,
meditate in silence,
release your worries,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
harmonise your inner light
and settle your dust.
This is the primal union or secret embrace.

One who knows this secret
is not moved by attachment or aversion,
swayed by profit or loss,
nor touched by honour or disgrace.
Such a one is far beyond the cares of men
yet comes to hold the dearest place in their hearts.
This, therefore, is the highest state of man.

This verse begins with one of my favourite lines of the Tao Te Ching: ‘those who know do not talk. Those who talk do not know.’

The loudest and most visible ‘authorities’ are often the most deluded and ignorant. The TV evangelist spouting talk of fire and brimstone is arguably about as close to true understanding of the Tao as the murderer sitting in a jail cell. At least the latter does not claim understanding of something he clearly knows not.

Those that genuinely get it are often the quietest and humblest of people. They have no need to make a show of themselves, for they have moved beyond such cares. They know the virtue and power of silence because, indeed, that’s where their wisdom comes from. It is the only place truth can be found, the only access point to that which remains changeless and is obscured when the senses are engaged only in the outer world of the transient.

Although the Tao is within and sustains all form as its deepest essence, it cannot be seen with the outer senses and is invisible to the eye. Therefore, it is necessary to go inward to get in touch with this essence.

Lao Tzu speaks of ‘primal union’ or ‘the secret embrace’, which can be achieved by sitting quietly in meditation, closing off the outer senses and settling into a peaceful experience of inner union with our source. It’s something we can strive after and seek to acquire as we would in the outer world of form, but more something we can relax into with effortless ease. It melts away our tensions, dissolves our problems and unties all our knots.

This primal union is the gateway to an experience of higher consciousness, which we can then invite into every aspect of our lives; a detachment and transcendence, an overwhelming and unconditional love and acceptance of life and all the beings and circumstances we encounter. This is to fully merge with the Tao and is, as Lao Tzu suggests, the ‘highest state’ available to us.

It is the way to peace and full union with the Tao. Perhaps this is the only worthy goal we can ever have for our lives. The ironic part is that it’s not a future state we can hope to achieve and move toward. We’re already there – we’re already at one with the Tao – we just have to remove the obstructions of mind and habit and realise that we already are that which we seek. It could never be any other way. Accept this invitation to primal union and see where it takes you.

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