26
Feb
12

Lenten Observance: Day 7

“Tao” 13 and 14. I know — you’re probably saying — what is this Day 7 stuff? First, Sundays are not part of Lent (40 days does not include the Sundays), and this is the 5th posting. Yes on both accounts, but I have a different posting to make on Feb. 29 (Leap Day), so here goes today’s (standing in for Wednesday) posting. “Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear.” This is a powerful idea, that staying steady on the course is better than the up/down pattern of victory and failure. There is something of Greek pessimism here — all success is fleeting, there is nothing permanent in human life, so the idea that one has “won” can only lead to a failure later. The idea that hope and fear are connected is very near and dear to me, an Enneagram 6 — recently I read a book called “The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality” which argued against hope in similar ways. For a Christian, the author argued, there is always the hope of a better afterlife, but if you don’t believe in an afterlife, one must live without “hope.” He argues, as I think the author of the “Tao” argues, that hope is something caught up in focusing on our ego, and that, if we can get past the ego, to be at one with the world, to live fully in the present, we lose hope, but that does not make life hopeless or terrible, but life fully lived. Both hope and fear focus on the future, and do not focus on the present.
“You can’t know it, but you can be it, at ease in your own life.” This is tough to get around for someone who is so much in my head. If I can’t know it, how can I be it, but I have known times when I wasn’t really thinking but was in the flow of things. That seems to be what the author here is referring to. Be not know nor do. But be. Pretty powerful.

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