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Posts Tagged ‘Tao Te Ching’

You Are the Wisdom You Seek

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Throw away holiness and wisdom, and people will be a hundred times happier. ~Tao Te Ching

In her book, A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are, Byron Katie brings together self-inquiry (The Work) and the teachings of the Tao. Each chapter takes excerpts from that ancient text as a means for Katie to talk about some essential issues such as life and death, love, work, and getting out of our own way.

I am re-reading this book (actually I am re-re-re-re-re-re-reading this book). In the chapter referring to above Tao text, Katie writes, “You are the wisdom you’re seeking, and inquiry is a way to make that wisdom available whenever you want. My experience is that there’s no one with more or with less freedom. We all have it equally.”

Katie continues by telling a story:
God’s will and your will are the same, whether you notice it or not. There’s no mistake in the universe. It’s not possible to have the concept “mistake” unless you’re comparing what is with what isn’t. Without the story in mind, it’s all perfect. No mistake. Strangers used to hear about me and show up at my front door (this was in 1986), and some of them would put their palms together and bow and say, “Namaste.” I had never heard this before – people don’t say “Namaste” in Barstow, the little desert town where I lived. So I thought they were saying, “No mistake.” I was thrilled that the people coming to my door were so wise. “No mistake. No mistake.”

Namaste – No mistake,
Mary Anne

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Sitting in the Abyss of the Vast Unknown

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Non-doing keeps showing up. I decided to take the summer off from giving workshops, retreats, and healing circles. After announcing this in my newsletter, I thought, “What will I do with all this time off?” Quickly, I began a list of all the things I could “do” this summer. I started to look up classes and programs I could attend as a participant – none of which really excited me. Then my best friend invited me to do nothing – to stay in the abyss of not knowing and see what shows up. This has become my new practice – staying in the abyss and just listening for what is next.

I started with an easy topic – listening for what ought to be my next book to read. I stared at my bookcase for a few moments, reading dozens of book titles. I watched as my hand was drawn towards Byron Katie’s book, A Thousand Names for Joy. In each chapter, Byron Katie reflects about the Tao Te Ching. About ten pages into the book, Katie quotes the Tao, “Practice not-doing, and everything will fall into place.

Katie reflects:
“The Master leads simply by being. “Being” looks like doing the dishes, answering the phone and e-mail, shopping, going to work, driving the kids to school, feeding the dog, doing one thing at a time, without a past or future. She doesn’t empty people’s minds. She doesn’t have to (even if that were possible). The way she helps people is by living out of don’t-know, can’t-know, no-need-to-know, not-possible-to-know, nothing-to-know.”

And just as I was writing this blog, my friend Joe Monkman posted a blog about taking a day off and giving ourselves permission to change our routine. In his Fishing for Soul blog he wrote, “Let go and allow your self to do one new or different thing today.  Give your self the gift of not doing.  Permit your self to BE.  What might you create from that place?  The possibilities are endless.”

Joe’s blog was another reminder to do nothing – just be and see what gifts arrive. Or as my friend said to me, “Just listen. Nothing else to do.”

I am sitting in the abyss of the vast unknown and have no idea what will appear. It is frightening and thrilling at the same time. As T.S. Elliot said, “Teach us to sit still.”

What gifts are awaiting you in the abyss of the vast unknown?

Mary Anne

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“Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are”

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

HarmonyBack in May of this year, I posted a blog about a MTA mystical moment. I was able to turn around what could have been seen as an annoying long commute into a learning experience.  Each day I commute from the Bronx into Manhattan is an opportunity to learn more about patience, kindness, and the art of allowing. Every time I get on a subway for at least an hour I get to be present to what is happening around me. I watch fellow New Yorker’s trudge, push, shove, and curse their ways onto the train. I also watch as folks hold the doors open, give up their seats to the elderly, and help sick passengers.

I recently had another MTA mystical moment. I had been listening to Byron Katie’s book, A Thousand Names for JoyLiving in Harmony with the Way Things Are, on my iPod. This book takes excerpts of the Tao Te Ching and provides everyday pearls of wisdom by questioning any thoughts that keep us stuck. Every morning I play a few chapters, listen to it, and see how I can apply the lesson. If nothing else, the words are soft, gentle, and full of peace – a nice way to start any morning.

As what usually happens in a typical week commuting to the city, there was a delay on the subway.  Most days, I don’t even hear the garbled voice over the intercom announcing the delay. On this particular day, I had to be at work early because I was giving a workshop. I left enough time to get there, even if the train was a little delayed. The train came to a stop after going about five stops. The doors remained open and we were not moving. Then the loud booming voice came through the speakers. “We are currently experiencing a delay due to an unconscious passenger. We are waiting for EMT to arrive. Once EMT is on the scene, we will proceed. Sorry for any inconvenience and we thank you for your patience.” There it was – a clear message of what was happening and why we were delayed. I looked up and saw people grab cell phones to call or text their jobs about being late. People started mumbling and complaining to one another.

My first reaction was to say a prayer. As we waited for the ambulance to arrive, I was hoping the person would be OK. Off in the distance a loud emergency siren was sounding. I took a deep breath. My eyes were drawn to my iPod – “A Thousand Names for Joy – Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are.”  Here was an opportunity to live in harmony with the way things were. There was a passenger who was unconscious and waiting for emergency personnel.  Now was my chance to ask myself how I am unconscious in the world. Was there a part of me that needed tending to and emergency attention?

Thankfully, EMT arrived and the trained moved and I was much more conscious the rest of the day. Every delay is a chance to come to a MTA mystical moment and live in harmony if I am open to it.

How are you living in harmony with the way things are?

If you would like to make space for more harmony and more forgiveness, please join me for a 4-week telecourse, “Resting in Radical Forgiveness” starting October 27. https://www.toningtheom.com/upcoming-events/ – resting


Mary Anne

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