The last five days have been a whirlwind of intense activity (yes, including that most brilliant Zumba class on Monday) – and the art of Horizon-Gazing was absolutely invaluable to me in terms of diminishing the sense of shock and panic. I have been diligently looking ahead, and reordering tasks in adjustment so that nothing needs to be done ‘yesterday’. And I have been extremely productive and efficient.
At one point (in the midst of such a busy day I didn’t have time to eat) I suddenly had a revelation. Compared to how things were say 5 and 10 years ago… My Life Is So Easy. Let that sink in… It’s true. It’s easy to forget what things were like before. But now, in reality, here in one of the richest countries in the world, and suddenly self-sufficient economically… My Life Is So Easy. Can I give gratitude, appreciation and recognition to that? Can I affirm that, and say a hard ‘no’ to old inner narratives of ‘so busy’, ‘so stressed’, ‘struggling’? I am indeed working very hard, and juggling a great deal psychologically. And yet, and yet, I can remember that, compared to gruelling days I’ve successfully lived through, My Life Is So Easy? And what most helps me get in this state of recognition? Not my outside circumstances, or even ‘being grateful’, but my Horizon-Gazing.
Horizon-Gazing helps me manage my life and then, boom, it comes in to focus that My Life Is So Easy. Let’s read.
38- A person of high virtue is not conscious of virtue and therefore possesses Virtue. A person of little virtue tries to be virtuous and therefore lacks Virtue. A person of high virtue does not make a fuss and is not seen. A person of little virtue always makes a fuss and is always seen. A truly good person functions without ulterior motive. A moralist acts out of private desires. A ritualist acts and, when no one responds, rolls up a sleeve and marches.
When we lose the Tao, we turn to Virtue. When we lose Virtue, we turn to kindness. When we lose kindness, we turn to morality. When we lose morality, we turn to ritual. Ritual is the mere husk of good faith and loyalty and the beginning of disorder. Knowledge of what is to come may be a flower of the Tao, but it is the beginning of folly.
Hence, the well-formed person relies on what is solid and not on what is flimsy, on the fruit and not the flower. Therefore, such a person lets go of that without and is content with this within. (The Tao Te Ching chap 38)
Stenudd explains how this chapter describes the four descending steps down when the Way (Tao) is lost:
- Virtue (Te) ↘️
- Kindness / Benevolence ↘️
- Morality / Righteousness ↘️
- Ritual … upheld by force and oppression
Note re Horizon-Gazing: ‘Knowledge of what is to come may be a flower of the Tao, but it is the beginning of folly.’ I read this as suggesting that when we are in flow with the Tao we might have a clearer sense of the future, but actually ‘holding on’ to predicting the future upends the good work of the Way.
What does this line teach me?: ‘A person of high virtue does not make a fuss and is not seen.’
Simply to relax into the receptive mode, and remember there is no need to wave the hands in the air for attention.
Like my G, who is quietly getting on with doing huge amounts of unpaid work for a big event, while others stand around for photo shoots and contribute somewhat less.
When do I wave my hands in the air for attention?
When you are nervous, doubtful or unsure.
What does this have to do with lack of virtue?
Is ‘trust’ a virtue? Is ‘faith’ a virtue? Are ‘confidence’, ‘courage’ and ‘steadfastness’ virtues?
Ah, yes, there are. And they are the opposites of and antidotes to nervousness, doubtfulness and uncertainty. The Inner Anchor gives me courage and fortitude… and then I stop hand-waving.
And less ‘excess potential’ is created. You are always welcome to sit softly and allow. The point is to hold in mind the apparently ‘forbidden fruit’ that is… your actual good pleasure.
What is meant by my ‘actual good pleasure’?
The thing, experience or outcome that actually gives you pleasure. Sometimes you refrain from mulling the pleasure-givers over and instead riff mentally on the object of your displeasure. Less so now. Or at least, when you do think of things troubling you, you grant the thoughts much less of your ‘psychic energy’ – which is good, because all thought creates.
Aha, yes. So what does actually give me pleasure?
You tell us.
Ok, so first to note is how much we’ve sexualised the word ‘pleasure’…
Maybe I have, then. I just wanted to get it out of the way.
‘The forbidden fruit’.
Ah, yes! Exactly. Pleasure as sin! Our protestant work ethic. So this is a great question: ‘What is pleasure to me?’ or ‘What is pleasurable to me?’ or ‘What pleases me?’ or ‘What gives me pleasure?’ or this (!) ‘How can I pleasure myself?’ (It literally makes me cringe!)
(‘The forbidden fruit’.)
What gives me pleasure?
Arising in mediation – clear answers to the question ‘What gives me pleasure?’:
But Connectivity without Tranquillity can give me burnout. That’s why Morning DoDs are so good before a busy day.
Hm, looks remarkably like ‘Reach Peace; Teach Peace’…
Hm, so it does! It’s a happy yin-yang, isn’t it?
Get peaceful; connect peacefully.
What do I need to know today, to work with this?
Combine Horizon-Gazing and the acceptance of tranquillity.
Like ‘allowing’ tranquility in?
Yes, simply practising feeling tranquil; looking ahead on your timeline with trust and confidence that you can respond in a timely, calm manner to every thing coming in over the horizon.
Lush. I will practise that. Easy to be tranquil because… My Life Is So Easy.
I am tranquil (My life is so easy)