Sometimes a song gets into the head and keeps on playing. For me it’s generally a spirit sending a message. The other day I sang the line “I fought the law and the law won”. The tune hooked Jan as well and she found herself a little frustrated that my tune successfully suggested itself to her own subconscious with incessant replays!
Of course, as always, I searched for the synchronous relevance of the message to our lives. It came quickly that the law is the Tao, and the Tao always wins. I understand the Tao to be the underlying rules of nature that control all of life. The central rule of the Tao is the law of cause and effect: Every action will cause a reaction.
A common example of this would be karma. When we recapitulate our lives we will determine what we must do next, based upon the life we have lived. The actions of our lives are the causes that determine the reactions—where life will take us next.
Strictly speaking, everything is Tao. All actions cause reactions, thus all actions are indeed part of the Tao. Thus, even a hurtful action is part of the Tao and will be appropriately compensated for by a reaction of equal intensity. Nonetheless, the expression to be in the Tao means to respond in the best possible way, the most efficient, least line of resistance to a given situation.
Nature herself expresses the Tao at its most favorable action. The waters of a stream accumulate most patiently in a crevice, awaiting the moment of saturation for the stream to proceed upon its course. Humans are endowed with the ability to take the Tao to extremes in their decision making, losing the favorable status of being in the Tao.
Thus, if someone is aggressive and cutting, the best response might be to go inward, depersonalize the action, have compassion for the other’s state of imbalance, then calmly move on. To challenge the offender is another option, which will illicit its own reaction. Both actions are governed by the Tao, however, the former may be said to be in the Tao.
The Taoist oracle, the I Ching, teaches us the Tao of all changes, while also highlighting the best actions to take to remain in the Tao when confronted with any situation. Most mornings, before sunrise, Jan and I feed a couple of feral cats up the road. We wear headlamps to find our way in the dark. For two days in a row, as the tune “I fought the law…” moved through me, I was attacked by giant hornets along the road, apparently attracted to the light.
On the second day, as we walked Jan’s beautiful quartz labyrinth before sunrise, I was again attacked by a giant hornet that actually made me jump into another rung of the labyrinth. Mind you, we have routinely done these behaviors for weeks and never been attacked.
Suddenly, it dawned on us that autumn has arrived and that the hornets are confused and jumpy, as their end is near. We were adding to their confusion, bringing light into night, and they were reacting to this intrusion. We realized that indeed we were fighting the Tao’s law of the change of seasons, and that law had won.
The next morning we waited until sunrise to feed the cats and walk the labyrinth. We were indeed in the Tao; no attacks, just a calm, thankful meow.
Might I suggest, to the subconscious of all, another Taoist mantra for your listening pleasure:
All you need is love, love is all you need, love is all you need, love is all you need…..
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah,