Snow is making the Berkshires seem ancient and timeless: snow on snow on snow.
Before the big whiteout, we met on Tuesday and worked with the immediacy of the Way. That is, we let our own inquiring consciousness be the Tao, both in eyes-closed meditation and in dyadic meetings. “This is the Tao,” were the words used as verbal scaffolding to the experience.
First, we touched on the formula used in John 1:2 – thinking of it not, as in the King James Version, as “The same was in the beginning with God,” but more literally, as “This was in beginning with God.”
“This” is also this moment, this awareness, the very one by which you are reading these lines.
Holmes Welch, in his wonderful 1957 Parting of the Way, emphasizes the Taoist principle of p’u, the uncarved block or unworked wood. The Chinese character p’u is based on the character for tree. This is a piece of the tree that has not been alienated from its original nature. Sometimes p’u is just translated as simplicity. It seems of a piece with Emerson’s “Self-Reliance,” and refers to someone who regains childlike innocence and self-sameness, unswayed by self-consciousness and concern for others’ opinion. In the Taoist literature, starting with the Tao Te Ching, this is taken so far that we are enjoined to reject (Welch:) “not only ambition, but morality, law, duty, knowledge of right and wrong.” Here’s Emerson:
I would write on the lintels of the door-post, Whim. I hope it is somewhat better than whim at last, but we cannot spend the day in explanation.
He will act after his own true and free impulse, uncarved by worry, by planning, by rules, or by social anxiety. The person in touch with her original nature will act from what seems like whim.
How to regain this original childlike nature in adulthood as our second, unnatural, achieved innocence? Not by some big effort.
All blessings to all,