"It Is a Direct Path" (excerpt) A Path and a Practice — William Martin

One such legend speaks of a time when he became so fed up with the politics of repression in the China of his day that he got on his ox and left the country. But the border guard would not let him leave until he wrote down his wisdom for all to share. ... So Lao-tzu dismounted his ox, sat in the shade of a tree, and in one afternoon wrote the short text of poetic wisdom you now have in your hands. ...It is a way of looking with clarity at the processes of life as they are, not as we think they should be. ...Lao-tzu uses words in short poetic stanzas so that they may serve as guides and gateways to direct experience rather than as mere abstractions and distractions. ... Such an approach forces us again and again to return to our own experience of life rather than rely on the words and teachings of others. ...By the time we are adults, our experience is mediated through a multitude of conceptual filters that provide a constant commentary about our life, but that ignore the thing itself. ... We wander through day after day with our minds spinning an endless stream of thoughts, judgments, hopes, fantasies, critiques, and plans, all mixed with a babble of advertising jingles and fragments of television shows. Lao-tzu suggests that this habitual commentary on life, though a natural part of being human, is not the same thing as a fully lived life. ...Or are you, like most of us, deeply caught in the never-ending round of judgment, effort, worry, striving, comparing, desiring, hoping, dreaming, and all the other distractions that keep you from the actual, sometimes frightening, intensity of a direct experience of life? ...William Martin — A Path and a Practice: Using Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching as a Guide to an --Awakened Spiritual Life
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