28
Mar
12

Lenten Observance: Day 31

Tao 61 & 62

61: The importance of humility for a great power or a great person — this is something that seems quite difficult to achieve.  There have been some religious leaders (the Dalai Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu) who have achieved humility and that humility does seem to anchor them and make them not seem a threat to others (so then others will listen).  Political leaders are really tied up in their ego and their ambition.  Some seem more easy going than others (JFK, for instance), but they’re not in the running for office unless they have great ambition, and that already skews them somewhat.  This chapter also talks about how to handle a mistake — recognize it, admit it, and correct it.  “He considers those who point out his faults as his most benevolent teachers.”  As an idea, this is great, but it is quite difficult.  I think of Dorothy Day (someone who had a pretty big ego, I think);  she fought daily with the Archbishop of NY, who didn’t trust her lefty inclinations.  And yet she seemed to value him, as if the various barriers he threw up were a challenge, even an invitation to engage.  In that way, she seems a lot like someone who has learned the lesson of the Tao.  Likewise, I see someone like Molly Ivins, or Rachel Maddow, who both have (or in Molly’s case had) a core set of values that they stick to, but who welcome debate and discussion, and seem open to revising their positions when they get new information.

62: The Tao’s great value and its unattainability.  This is different from honors in the daily world — you do something, it may be recognized and honored;  you can speak well or write well and get an audience through your eloquence, but the Tao “no one can achieve it.”  And so the best thing you can do for a leader is to teach that leader about the Tao.  The Tao also doesn’t judge — this chapter says that it helps those looking find, and helps those who make an error find forgiveness.  I’m not so sure about that — the latter part sounds like the love of Jesus, which many conservative Christians seem to think absolves them from any responsibilities towards others.  I’m mean to others, and that’s a sin, but Jesus loves sinners and I have accepted Him, so I’m o.k.  Seems a bit dicey to me.  The Tao is beyond judgment, and so getting past binary thinking, you find the truth, not perhaps what you were looking for (the question was probably framed in a binary mindset, so the truth would be limited), and you find forgiveness in that you were never judged.

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