Nothingness and Being

(A good meditation for a Sunday – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Someone once asked me what Taoists believe.  I don’t know what Taoist’s believe.  I can only know what I believe.  It’s not like we have churches or need people to tell us what the writings mean.  The mental game we’re playing here is to figure it out for ourselves.  There is no accomplishment in blind obeisance to someone else’s interpretation.  I think I can say that all Taoist are on the same page up to just about here.

The first chapter of the Tao te Ching (loosely, Book of the Way…and yes, we have a book)  tells us we are on our own when it comes to interpreting existence.  That certainly includes the meaning of the words in the book.  Several parts of the book discuss the futility of trying to teach the Tao to anyone else.

But I digress…

In the beginning there were rules and potentialities. One of the rules was that some of the potentialities would feel attraction for one another, so they drew together and became stuff, in accordance with the rules of stuff formation. The rules being rather complicated, lots of different kinds of stuff were created. Sometimes some of the stuff would come close to some other kind of stuff and new stuff was created. Stuff creation goes on all the time. That’s all in accordance with the rules, of course.

Now some of the potentialities were or became self-aware. Don’t ask me how…it just happened. And being bored, they spent their time learning how to control the non-aware stuff. I have no idea how else they spent the rest of their where/when. But I’m sure it was in accordance with the rules governing self-aware stuff.

For whatever reason, which I in my present existence am forever excluded from knowing, some or all of the self-aware potentialities spend some of their where/whens here/now. That is, the potentialities organize some of the stuff of this place/time into the multitude of beings that we see in what we call our world. In other words, they “become” us.

Exactly why they/we decide to come here/now is an interesting question. Perhaps they/we come here exactly for the purpose of finding out the answer to it. Or maybe we come here until we learn a certain amount of lessons about how the rules about self-aware potentialities work. Of course, being the subject of the rules excludes them/us from knowing all the rules (maybe even any of the rules), but by repeated observation of cause/effect, deductions about how the rules work and inferences as to what the rules really are can be made.

Or maybe this is just considered a cool place to visit for an eon or so.

Or not.


The one rule that is absolute is that we can only guess about why we are here. We are not allowed to know.

But while we are here, there are lessons to be learned about Being. I think we stay here until we learn a significant portion of the lessons . . . maybe we even have to learn all of them. Now the lessons are numerous and seem to differ depending on which order you learn them in, the particular configuration of the stuff we have organized, and the other beings we encounter during our time here, so it makes sense to me that one would have more than one go at learning them.

Or not.

You see, we also aren’t allowed to know if we are making another run at it. So, for all we know, we may be learning lessons we already learned in another “life.”

Or not.

The closure rule, that we can’t know for sure about what happened in a previous life or before the potentiality that became us came to this here/now extends to knowledge about what happens to us when/if we learn our lessons. My personal opinion is that there comes a point when we regain a sufficient level of our self-awareness that we learn the lesson of why we came here/now. And once this lesson is learned, we are free to proceed to the next level of Being. And we can then proceed through the door of mystery to whatever that where/when is, if indeed it can even be called a “whatever.”

What I do believe is that the door is one-way. Once gone through, the closure rule of this here/now again comes into play. But I do know that I have no reason to fear that door. We go through it at the place/time that is appropriate for us to go through it, because that is indeed what happens.

Or not.

In the meantime, I am spending my time learning the lessons and guessing at the rules. I’ve learned some of them, I think, though to state them in their entirety is undoubtedly impossible from the point of view of someone governed by them. A few of the more important ones, in my opinion:

[For those of you among our home contestants, the important part is upwards.  But people always ask about some of the things below.]

(1) Helping others is a good thing, as long as we don’t give them unwanted help or help that hinders their own personal journey of learning the lessons.

(2) Learning requires interaction with others and interaction with others results in learning. But sometimes it’s difficult to determine exactly what we are learning when we interact with others, because we most often don’t know what they are learning from their interaction with us.

(3) The harder the obstacle in our life path is to surmount, the more important is the lesson to be learned by surmounting it.

(4) Nothing that is ever learned is useless information.

(5) For anything to exist, so must it’s opposite, if only for the sake of being able to compare. There is no sound without silence, no pleasure without pain, no existence without void, no masculine without feminine, no health without sickness, no beauty without ugliness, no life without death.

(6) Hatred is not the opposite of love. The opposite of love is indifference. So hatred is not a necessity for the existence of love.

(7) The path of life has no goal. The journey on the path is the point of the journey and the point of the path. The beauty of the journey is not in trying to arrive, but in enjoying the scenery on the way.

(8) Being together is better than being alone. Except when being alone is better.

(9) When the simplest explanation for a phenomenon is not the correct one, then we don’t understand the phenomenon [some will recognize this as a version of Occam’s Razor].

(10) The only stupid questions are the ones that aren’t asked.

(11) Everyone perceives the world differently from everyone else.

(12) Learning why something happens is a worthy goal, but won’t necessarily make it happen or not happen or make the result of its happening more or less palatable.

(13) Everything that happens was supposed to happen, because happen is what it did.

(14) Regret is a useless emotion . . . most of the time.

(15) There are no absolutes. Including this one.

(16) No one can make another person feel an emotion. We choose our own emotions. But other people can set up circumstances that lead us to choose emotions we wish we hadn’t chosen if they know how to push our buttons.

(17) Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

(18) Truth is easier to remember than falsehood. It will also allow you to feel better about yourself.

(19) There is no such thing as a free lunch. You always have to pay for it somehow.

(20) Life is not a contest. There are no winners and losers. Life works best as a cooperative effort.

(21) What others think about you is not as important as what you think about yourself. What others think about you may, however, cause you to doubt what you think about yourself.

(22) Be proud of who you are. You may be the only person who is. If you can’t be proud of who you are, then something somewhere needs to be reexamined.

(23) Apologize when you make a mistake. Everyone, including you, will feel better.

(24) Going with the flow is easier than swimming upstream. Realizing which way the flow is going is the difficult part.

(25) When all is said and done, what really matters is whether or not you are happy.

Art Link
Not Quite Balanced

Stories to Tell

We both believe a story
(and so do they
and these and those…)
We both have a book
It’s just that you believe
that everyone should
worship your book
word for word
without context
while my book teaches me
that I must create
my own story
based on my principles
my ethical nature
my moral judgment
my basic goodness
as a human being
and laugh at the thought
that one person would seek
to force their thoughts
or beliefs
on another

I’ve read your book
You fear mine

And you claim
that your belief
is stronger?
You jest
I chuckle at your joke
You slay me

–Robyn Elaine Serven
–March 23, 2006


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    • Robyn on September 2, 2007 at 18:27

    …what was the best thing we ever wrote.  I posted a poem.  But it could have been the above piece, which was written to an elist called TransSpirituality.

    It was one of my first diaries at Daily Kos, not that many people noticed (iy got 11 comments and 6 Recs).

    melvin was there. 🙂


  1. and today I am introducing a friend of mine to the community….
    he has helped me learn about cultivating yin…
    very important for me……
    as I am very very yang….

    this little soul has taught me about gentleness and sweetness….

  2. I would put it right here. As it happens, nothing I can say will illuminate what you have just said. I think I will appreciate it instead.

  3. for myself, i cant stop at the ‘whether’, where happiness is concerned. 

    for myself, it is much more important to discover the root of my discord when it occurs.

    happiness can elude me, but contentedness sustains me.

    and im a complete failure at #17.  i cant be made to feel shame for someone else’s deception no matter how much ‘better’ i should have known.

    • pfiore8 on September 2, 2007 at 20:07

    wholeness… even when it’s tough, is what i look for now

    it used to just be happiness… but it’s not enough

    i want more than happiness… i want to be whole and i want to be strong…

    • melvin on September 2, 2007 at 20:09

    the content sure is piling up around here. Funny how everyone decided not to wait.

    At least buhdy won’t have the embarassment of bare shelves

    1. he is the sweetest most gentle being…
      completely uncontrived…..

    • melvin on September 2, 2007 at 20:11

    Not sure it qualifies as an epiphany, but it sure took me a lot of pain and misery before I finally realized that if I don’t know what to do, it is simply best to do nothing.

  4. I like the list. I am not sure that I agree with “(4) Nothing that is ever learned is useless information.”

    I’m thinking of repeated lousy experiences; superfluous hardship.  But then maybe that’s just to say: beyond a certain amount of pain, there is nothing more to be learned — and that is exactly why it is useless information.

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