“Return is the movement of the Tao.
Yielding is the way of the Tao.
All things are born of being.
Being is born of non-being.”
~ Stephen Mitchell (trans.), Tao Te Ching: A New English Version (New York: Harper Perennial), 2006.
It follows from this that “being” is not a thing. What, then, is being?
Existentialism is one of the most perilous parts of our march up the mountain because it’s easy to get stuck there. Hamlet’s indecision is the classic example, the soul circling about on a rocky promontory, unable to see the point in either pressing on to the summit or coming back down the mountain.
Without yoga—some form of mental and physical practice to jolt the soul awake from its stupor of abstraction—the existential engine stalls. The word yoga is related to the word for “yoke,” and its goal is to align the movements of our being with the order of things.
If we are stuck to “being,” we will be cut off from things, because being is not an idea or a concept of a kind of super-being like God floating in some ether. If we yield to non-being, we will see being for what it is: nothing else than what Daoism calls “the 10,000 things.” The 10,000 things just are the play of being and non-being, form and emptiness, time and eternity.
In Biblical terms, creation is not an event in the distant past, but a process taking place right now. To paraphrase Hamlet, there is nothing past or future, but thinking makes it so.
New to the Dao Du Jour? Check out “Day 0.”
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