Lenten Observance: Day 13

Tao 25 & 26

25’s emphasis on the Tao being something “formless and perfect” before the Universe began, and the idea that the Tao is the great source resonates with at least some of the words I heard when I was young about God.  Of course, God tends to become anthropomorphized and personified, which makes Him/Her more accessible, but also tends to dull the otherness of God and His/Her transcendence.  But the Tao is not personal, as I understand it, and is not the “creator” of things, so much as the ground of existence.  As I read this, I did think of the beginning of LucretiusDe Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), the great Epicurean epic written in the 1st c. BC.  Though an atheist, Lucretius opens his poem with an invocation to Venus, the mother of all things, which, in his handling is not the Olympian sexpot, but rather the life force which drives things.  There is a sense there that Venus gets things going, which results in the world we know.

On 26: Reslessness and the problem of restlessness.  Here we have monkey mind — always flitting from one thing to another, and not simply being.  And in so doing, you don’t stay in touch with who you really are.  As someone who often feels the pangs of anxiety, I get this.  Rachel Maddow, early on in her show, would introduce some guests as people who would try to “talk her down from the ledge.”  I get that — it’s easy to get worked up on the vagaries of life and forget one’s center of gravity.

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