Chapter 45 – Calm and Harmony
People may confuse the Greatest Perfection with insanity,
great volume with void, great curvature with straightness,
great humor with foolishness,
a great speaker with the one unable to speak.
Intense movement overcomes cold.
Stillness overcomes heat.
Only calm and harmony can ensure
the correct understanding of everything that happens in the world.
Translation by Dr. Vladimir Antonov (2007)
It is once again Tao Te Ching Tuesday. For the consideration of Chapter 45, I have chosen to use a rendition that I believe is more an interpretation than a true translation. I have done so mostly because I feel this rendering captures much of the meaning of Lao Tzu’s words and partly because many of the more traditional scholars translate the last two lines of this chapter something like this: “By being greatly tranquil, one is qualified to be the ruler of the world” (from Wing-Tsit Chan’s 1963 translation).
In my thoughts on Chapter 29 I considered those who want to rule the world and concluded that Lao Tzu was telling us that such people are lost – that to the extent that ruling implies imposing one’s will rather than following the natural order, the world will be ruined or lost to the supposed ruler. Here, the more literal translation of this chapter does not contradict what was said earlier. Rather, we are now told what qualifies one to rule, and that is great tranquility. One possessing that quality may well have no desire to rule, but he is qualified. Unfortunately, most of those who are now trying to rule lack that essential quality. Still, most members of society seem to feel that a political leader should have more Yang attributes – a man of action and not of tranquility.
That brings us to what I like about this translation by Dr. Antonov. He tells us simply that the majority of our fellows see and judge from a decidedly human perspective that leaves them confused and unable to see the natural way that is followed by Lao Tzu’s sage.
However, we are told how to correct that misunderstanding. If one can live and think and perceive from a state of calm and harmony, he or she is able to understand the natural flow of all life.
So what do we do, take a deep breath? That is probably a good start. What really must be understood, though, is that all action and creation comes from a place of non-action and nothingness. That place is not really a place. It is that which the Tao Te Ching has called the Tao. It has also been called the Void, the Implicate Order, the Field, the Mind of God. “Larry” might be a good word for it. As we learned back in Chapter 1, we are considering something that is nameless.
A few years ago I became aware (and I am using that term intentionally) of an interesting and simple approach to that nameless nothing by a gentleman named Frank Kinslow, who is chiropractor by training and formerly a long-time transcendental meditator. He has written several books, the best known of which is The Secret of Instant Healing, and the most recent of which is The Kinslow System.
Dr. Kinslow refers to this nameless quality as “Pure Awareness.” He says that anyone can tap into Pure Awareness by simply stopping his or her thoughts momentarily, recognizing that even without one’s human thoughts there remains an observer who/that is aware of the non-thought and is therefore aware of the nothing which is Pure Awareness. He has some very easy to follow exercises to help anyone reach that awareness. For instance, he tells us to close our eyes and just be aware of our thoughts for several seconds. Then we ask ourselves where our next thought is coming from. As soon as the question is asked, the active mind pauses for a moment to try to figure out where indeed. During that momentary pause, our true nature – the observer – is aware of pure awareness. Kinslow calls the process “Quantum Entrainment” or “QE.” That, of course, is merely a label for the nameless.
The whole process is actually a bit more complicated than my one-paragraph explanation – but not much more. I bring this up now because a few weeks ago I received an emailed QE newsletter which announced an essay contest asking entrants to describe in 300 words or less how their lives have been affected by QE. I thought I would give it a try, and I was fortunate enough to win. (I received an autographed copy of the new book, an introductory DVD and a CD of exercises).) This is what I wrote:
In 2009, my 91-year old father was hospitalized, in intensive care, while visiting relatives in Texas. My mother was with him, but the rest of our family was home in Colorado. Because of Dad’s serious condition, my brother Jim took a week off from work and went down to assist. By the end of the week, the medical condition had only deteriorated, but Jim had to return to his job; so I took some vacation time and flew down help in any way I could. The one book I took to read on the plane was The Secret of Instant Healing, which I had bought only the day before.
When I reached the hospital, Dad’s doctor was not very optimistic. I was not surprised because Jim had painted a bleak picture in my conversations with him. As I sat by Dad’s bed until the early morning hours wishing I could do something, I decided to empty my mind, do nothing, and try for the “Eufeeling” I had read about on the plane.
The next morning, through a series of “miraculous” occurrences, a Denver air ambulance company agreed to bring Dad back to Colorado for free – because he was a Pearl Harbor veteran – as soon as he was well enough. A surprised doctor then concluded that Dad’s condition had so improved overnight that he could make the trip. The following day, he and my mother were flown to Denver and he was in a hospital only three miles from home. A few days later he was released and actually back in his home.
The term “Eufeeling” in the essay is a term which Dr. Kinslow uses to describe the euphoric feeling one experiences when he is aware of Pure Awareness.
I have written a more detailed version of that same story, describing the miraculous occurrences, which, if anyone is interested, can be read by clicking here.
Calm and harmony and the nameless. Together they open us to the flow of nature.