Chuck’s Place: What Is the Meaning Of Diligence & Sorrow?

In Everyday Tao, Deng Ming-Dao states: “One cannot go far in life without diligence.”

Nature is Tao, constantly changing, so like us... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Nature is Tao, constantly changing,
so like us…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

He goes on to say: “It is useless to argue: this life is one of suffering. Nothing can be done except through our efforts. Disasters hit all of us without meaning or explanation. Wars are constant around the globe. Family members abuse and exploit one another. Hard work is often rewarded with betrayal. The government is a haven for those who would oppress others. Despite the great wealth of information, ignorance is ever present. Money is used for selfish gains and not to help others. Spiritual leaders are often shown to be hypocrites. Homelessness is rampant. Most people do not have enough to eat. Those who have enough eat more than their share. We spend our lives looking for love, only to find bitterness. We pin our hopes to distant dreams that never materialize. We listen to teachers who tell us to work hard, only to find that the world has changed by the time we leave school. We hurt ourselves with self-doubt, low self-esteem, and slavery to desires.”

“Prophets disappoint us, priests befuddle us, teachers deceive us, bosses exploit us, parents reject us, spouses desert us, children are taken from us, and at the end, it is just us, staring at the grave.”

“This life is one of suffering. Those who don’t know how to suffer are the worst off. Those who follow Tao know that there are times when things will be very difficult. That is the time to be diligent. There are times when the only correct thing we can do is to bear our troubles until a better day.”

On Sorrow, Deng Ming-Dao writes: “Sadness is part of being human.”

“People describe sorrow as a pain in the heart,” he goes on to say. “They don’t point to the head or anywhere else—they point to the heart. Everyone feels sadness. The ancients believed that different parts of the body held different emotions. But just as we need all our organs in order to be whole and functioning, so too must we accept all emotions as part of the cohesive and balanced whole of our inner lives. Every emotion has a function, and all of them together contribute to our actions.”

“Our emotions are learned; they are inherent. An infant, in the first hours after birth, already has emotions. Throughout childhood, it is apparent that children’s feelings remain integral parts of their personalities. We cannot destroy our emotions any more than we can live without organs. So the best thing to do is to accept them and the role they play in our lives.”

“When sadness comes, we have to accept it. It is here. It is part of our life. We cannot negate it. We cannot avoid it. We need not think that there is something wrong with us if we feel sad. We should accept it as something indelible and necessary.”

“No one likes sadness. But it plays a part in our lives, just as any one of our organs plays a part. But while sadness is indelible, it is not predominant either. Other emotions exist too, and they will inevitably follow sadness. Therefore, those who follow Tao seek to find any advantage sadness may offer.”

Thank you Taoist wisdom!

May you all be well,

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