“Why did the ancient Masters esteem the Tao?
Because, being one with the Tao,
when you seek, you find;
And when you make a mistake, you are forgiven.
That is why everybody loves it.”
~ Stephen Mitchell (trans.), Tao Te Ching: A New English Version (New York: Harper Perennial), 2006.
Our default understanding of the “real world” is not of a game to be played, or an adventure to be had, but more like a test to be passed. Nature is seen as indifferent to our concerns, and unforgiving of our mistakes. Hell is our culture—there is always a “hell” in any culture, no matter how secular—is something as poorly defined as it is inevitable: failure. Success and failure stand in for heaven and hell and, as is fitting for a culture that inherited its achievetron ethos from the Protestant work ethic of Calvinism, since no one can know who is saved and who is damned, status anxiety reigns supreme.
Because the Dao is not something that can be attained, it is not something that can be lost. There is nothing that can get you kicked out of the Garden.
New to the Dao Du Jour? Check out “Day 0.”