True goodness is like water.
Water’s good for everything.
It doesn’t compete.
It goes right to the low loathsome places,
and so finds the way.
From the Tao Te Ching
Notes for Contemplation as You Use this Devotional:
- This wisdom comes from the Tao’s eighth chapter (or section), titled “Easy by Nature,” as translated by Ursula LeGuin in 2009.
- Tao has been translated to mean way, road, or path.
- As a spiritual practice which honors the harmonies within the Universe, Tao is best understood by allowing everything to go its own way. It values intuition and compassion over fighting and resisting.
- Water is often used as a metaphor for understanding the Tao. As the essence of all life, water doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. Neither does it compete or contend with anything. So, in the Tao, water represents contentment, which is true, supreme goodness.
- “Goodness,” which may have a vague meaning in English, also can be synonymous with depth, divine order, generosity, grace, patience, simplicity, and trust.
- As Ursula LeGuin teaches, water flows around anything “that obstructs the way.” Sometimes, if we’re in the way of water, or anything else, we may have to move. So, as this chapter’s title suggests, if we are easy by nature, we can be at peace, even when we don’t like what’s occurring around us.
- Likewise, we can understand the power of the flow when we consider water and rocks. For example, a large rock may be thrown into water without hurting the water. Gradually, as the water flows, the rock is refined with the current, perhaps becoming a mere pebble. The rock cannot be transformed without the water.
As you reflect on your life and circumstances, ask yourself:
- What in my life am I trying to change which cannot be changed?
- Without analysis or judgment, list, word map, or illustrate everything you want changed.
- When I consider what I want changed, what true power do I have to make these changes happen?
- List, word map, or illustrate as much as you can do yourself. This can be anything from renovating a building to voting for the candidate of your choice.
- When I consider what I want changed, how am I powerless to make these changes happen?
- List, word map, or illustrate whatever you cannot do.
- In what ways am I competing with someone else to make changes, resisting what is, or forcing my will onto a situation?
- List, word map, or illustrate whatever applies.
- When I reflect on the changes I desire and my true power, what is my intuition—not my intelligence—telling me?
- List, word map, or illustrate as much as you can.
- When I imagine trusting my intuition, letting go, and getting into the flow, how do I feel?
- List, word map, or illustrate all your feelings.
- When I contemplate my intuition’s guidance and my feelings, what are at least three (3) ways I can get into the flow of life?
- List, word map, or illustrate as much as you can imagine.
Spiritual masters understand: Life has a flow that we cannot control. Yet, no matter what is occurring in our lives, we can learn to go with that flow and be content. So, as you use this devotional, notice where and when you can release your idea of what you thought would be. Stay open to the infinite possibilities of what is unfolding instead. Imagine your life like an endless stream, carrying you to whatever is best.
© 2022 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks – All rights reserved.