I have lived an wonderful life. I have experienced an almost perfect balance of adventure and comfort; risk and safety; and challenge and contentment. I have often been “outside my comfort zone” but not so far outside as to make learning and growing problematic. I have loved deeply and been loved deeply. It has been amazing. The only problem in my life, as it is for each of us, has been the presence of my nattering, negative, and brooding conditioned mind.
At the moment I live with my beloved Nancy in an older 30 foot motor home parked on a beautiful 3 acres of property in Northern California. We hike, rest, read, write, explore our spiritual paths, and offer ourselves in service to the Earth and all of its Life. What does my conditioned mind say about all this: “You should be ashamed of yourself for enjoying your life. Millions of people in the world don’t have what you have so what makes you think you deserve it? I’m going to see to it that I poison your thoughts often enough to spoil any enjoyment you might feel because you, frankly, shouldn’t be so happy!”
The only pathway I have found to circumvent this nasty and vicious voice is to admit that, yes, I am very lucky. I did nothing to deserve the comfort I have experienced. But neither have I done anything not to deserve it. Life, despite the story of the “American Dream,” has little to do with deserving or not. The terrible inequality between human beings at this time in history is based on several terrible myths that have been mistaken for truth. The most damaging of these myths is the myth of permanence.
Since the human species turned the agricultural corner about six to ten thousand years ago, we have given ourselves over to the myth of permanence. Two corollaries of this myth are the illusion of control and the concept of ownership. Put these three illusions/myths together: permanence, control, and ownership; and you have the formula for the inevitable blossoming of injustice and destruction.
My understanding of the Wheel of Tao is that there is an eternal circling of Yin and Yang which keeps a dynamic balance that allows the cosmos to exist. Human beings have acted as if this dynamic nature of the cosmos is not for them. Everything else may come and go, but by god, we’re going to stay put! That effort to impose permanence on transience, control the uncontrollable, and own that which belongs to all, has led to the terrible imbalance we see today. However, nothing is more certain than that the Tao will always move to restore justice and balance.
I did not consciously choose to live in a society whose existence is predicated on the injustice of permanence, control, and ownership, but I do. I did not consciously choose to be comfortable while millions suffer, but I am. The important question now is: As the reality of the irresistible power of the Tao becomes more and more clear to me and its implications more and more important, what shall I do and how shall I live? Shall I cling to my inherited myths of permanence, control, and ownership? Or shall I take my place as a small part of the Wave and do what is mine to do as these Waters inevitably restore balance and justice, trusting that they will also carry me Home?
(You may be interested in my recent book, The Activist’s Tao Te Ching)