Tao Tuesday - Paradoxical Unity

Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty,
only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.

Being and nonbeing produce each other.
The difficult is born in the easy.
Long is defined by short, the high by the low.
Before and after go along with each other.

So the sage lives openly with apparent duality 
and paradoxical unity.
The sage can act without effort 
and teach without words.
Nurturing things without possessing them,
he works, but not for rewards;
he competes, but not for results.
When the work is done, it is forgotten.
That is why it lasts forever.
~2nd Verse of the Tao Te Ching~

Even with the fabulous Dr. Dyer's interpretation and explanation, I had to read this chapter a few times before it really sank in.  He explains it well when he writes, "...opposites are simply judgments made by human minds...Surely the daffodil doesn't think that the daisy is prettier or uglier than it is, and the eagle and the mouse have no sense of the opposites we call life and death.  The trees, flowers, and animals know not of ugliness or beauty; they simply are..." (Dr. Wayne Dyer, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Mind)

Our society has taught us to compartmentalize everything.  We put things in categories all the time.  Good/bad, pretty/ugly, short/tall, rich/poor.  If we can learn to live without judgment, without compartmentalizing, we can start to see that there is no ugly without pretty, but that they exist together to create a simple oneness.  Know that the duality is there, but allow them to be there as a unified whole.  This sounds so far-fetched to me, even as I write it, but that is because of the world we live in.  We are taught that things are opposite.  We are taught that some things are bad and some things are good.  But if you really sit and think about it, the things that are bad are only bad because we are taught about good.  If we did not know good we would not know bad, it would just be.

Dr. Dyer explains effort and non-effort writing, "Labeling action as "a fine effort" implies a belief that trying hard is better than not trying.  Attempting to pick up a piece of trash is really just not picking up the trash.  Once you've picked it up, then trying and not trying are irrelevant."  Ah, so deep, but when you really think about it, so true!

When I think about how I can apply this verse to my life, I always try to relate it to my interactions with my children and my family.  Dr. Dyer suggests noticing a time when you feel like you need to defend your actions or explain yourself and then choosing not to.  It was quite easy for me to find a time like this, which I guess tells me I have a lot of work to do in this area.  Cameron and I disagree a lot in the mornings.  I find myself explaining to him why he needs to carry his backpack, not roll it or wear a shirt out of his drawer instead of from the dryer.  When I choose not to explain these things to him, I have found that our mornings are a lot easier.  He makes his choices and I realize that they are not right or wrong, good or bad, they just are and we are both happy.

Of course, this is my interpretation.  How about you?

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