Sunday, March 15, 2009

Non-action and the Great Harmony

We have seen in The Power of Non-action that non-action refers to an action that is not motivated by selfish desires but is inspired by universal truths and values. We also saw that the more an action is ego-less, the more power it has and the more support it receives from the powers that be. In No action is lost we lifted the cover on the significance and the power of all our thoughts, all our words and all our actions however secret because we are all interconnected as beings of consciousness. Our thoughts, words, and actions have an impact in the world and for the future in ways and degrees beyond our power to comprehend. The anonymous commentator of Tao Te King – Livre du Tao et de sa Vertu (Éditions Dervy) sums up these themes in this unforgettable and revealing passage (my translation from the French):

Without a doubt none of our actions is lost. It would be vain to regret our long and apparently useless labours, our false manoeuvres, the dead ends into which we have stumbled. All these efforts, all these attempts are integrated into the universal life where they have their usefulness and distant consequences – but the arc that they describe to bring us back to the Center is all the wider the more our intention was self-seeking. Inversely, the work that is realised in the serenity of detachment shortens, for he that accomplishes it as for all that it touches, the path of return to the Tao, and cooperates in a direct and immediate way in the Great Harmony.

Selfish thoughts, words and actions insomuch as they are harmful to others (or ourselves) go against the Tao and receive no help or support from it. They have little power, little scope, temporary consequences. Inversely, disinterested thoughts words and actions that nurture, help and bring peace to others and to ourselves accord with the Tao and participate in its power.
Of course we can’t always be saints and we are never always selfish villains. We are always a mixture. An interplay of contradictions. Always the opposites are struggling within us for expression. That’s what makes us human. Shake-speare (De Vere) put it this way:

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together; our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not, and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues.

Which will predominate in us? The faults of our lower selves or the virtues of our higher selves? As human beings, we have the power to reason and to choose and we make our choices every day, thousands of times, moment by moment. And that is the eternal game of life.
Photo by Lucia Pizarro Coma

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Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond