The Tao of Being (modern Taoism)
A book excerpt from the spiritandflesh.com religion and spirituality online library.
THE TAO OF BEING
by Jack Haas
Once you have eaten of the flesh, so to speak, you must ride it out completely. You must enter the phantasmagoria of matter, and weave your way through the constant chaos before emerging out the other side into calm. You must flow as a wild river flows, crashing through endless chasms and canyons before widening out and merging with the calm, infinite sea.
This is the gauntlet which the great emptiness incarnates into so as to reveal the nature of the paradigm, and so to show the way to freedom within this realm. For it is only after living through it, becoming whole within it, and being born out of it, that one can know the way beyond it.
This is a liberation which is not an escape from this realm, but is instead an expansion of our finite dimensions into infinite depth and possibility.
To wed the great impersonal Him to the great personal Her, is to bring the space into the substance, and the substance into the space, and so to unify the great, free, transcendent spirit with the immense, essential, immanent soul.
Through this union the earthly realm becomes galactic.
What follows are brief passages describing this unity.
We are accomplished by the stillness which does not accomplish.
To enter the stillness is to become the Dreamer.
To become the Dreamer is to release the dream.
This is to slow down and to feel the essence of union below the pandemonium of the stormy mundane, where the surface rages on but there is calm beneath the sea.
Most action is simply flight from self.
We must remain with the tension of stillness.
‘Should’, ‘could’, and ‘would’ must be abandoned.
To get to the subtle presence of eternity requires an inner stillness and effortlessness which must become the operational reality of the individual
This ‘intimate witness’ is unaffected by all, yet permeates all.
To become this is to cross over into non-effort, and be non-being.
Either way, it remains an enigma.
To expand beyond the limits of this paradigm does not require understanding- for understanding is a function of the paradigm.
To expand beyond the limits of this paradigm does not require effort- for effort is a function of the paradigm.
All events in the realm of duality and time require effort. But effort cannot take us to the eternal self, because the eternal self is effortless.
What is required of us is effortless, identitiless awareness.
This is non-doing, non-thinking, non-desiring, which is Tao.
To become Tao is to become the creative fire which is alive without doing, which is to become the non-doer.
By stopping all doing the hidden Doer emerges. It can do no other.
In this way we dissolve into the all without leaving.
In this way we are liberated by not trying to be liberated.
Effort is gross, Non-effort is subtle
Going somewhere, one expands in one direction.
Going nowhere, one expands in every direction.
The Tao is not somewhere, the Tao is everywhere.
All things are somewhere, while nothingness is everywhere.
The Tao is the nothingness that is everywhere.
To become the nothingness that is everywhere is to become the subtle space which is found nowhere.
The subtle space cannot be found by seeking.
The subtle space cannot be known by knowing.
The subtle space cannot be accomplished by striving.
Tao is the goal which cannot be sought.
Effortlessness is the non-accomplishment which accomplishes the space.
To stop time is to stop effort.
Stop all effort and time ends.
The end of time is eternity.
Eternity does not begin nor end. It is.
Eternity is subtle. Time is gross.
Eternity has no identity. Time has names.
All that is timeless flows under, above, and through all that is of time.
Timelessness is without beginning or end.
Eternity is changeless.
Eternity is now.
Now is eternity.
Identity is time.
Time is identity.
To evaporate from identity is to become the subtle, eternal self that was never born, will never die, and is not bound, nor effortful, nor obstructed.
All ambition, effort, worry, and desire are bound to time and identity.
Identity is somewhere.
Non-identity is everywhere.
Identitilessness is a now that is everywhere.
To stop looking backward is to be the eternal creator of the eternal change called now.
‘Now’ is the embrace between being and not-being.
The membrane where the union between consciousness and being, spirit and flesh, ether and matter happens, is the eternal now orgasmic moment of our true wholeness. Newness is the birth of this never ending harmonic convergence.
To be in the newness is to be here now, and not here now. One now. Two places. One.
No time but now.
No place but here.
Eternity is the flow that is always now.
Now is the eternal flowing self which is all of existence. All of it. One flowing now Self. Now. All of it. Flowing now. Eternally.
Eternity is not profound, it is subtle.
Now is not time.
Now is the absence of time.
Everything is always new.
Now is what has never happened before.
Isness flows as the now that has never happened before.
All life is the ubiquitous, instantaneous living now-moment of Tao.
Death is the absence of the ever-flowing now.
We are eternally a radical new flowing creation.
Now, now, now, now. Always the beginning. Always now.
Now is the eternal now ever occurring now.
To be still is to listen to the eternity of now.
Stillness is always now.
Eternal, deathless, oneness, is going on now.
It is now.
Stillness permeates movement. The formless ensconces form. Time meets eternity in the sublime flow called now.
To get to the still point of the changeless, eternal now is to find the subtle self which never begins nor ends, but permeates all that comes and goes.
The subtle self is no self.
Eternity is a pristine stillness beyond self and other, though it includes self and other.
To go beyond the self that is born and dies is to be the self that is the stillness of no-self.
Can we become absent in the midst of the present?
Can we be empty, and doing?
Can we learn to not-exist inside existence?
It is only the ego, standing in front of the light, which casts a shadow. To be nothing and stand in the light is to illuminate all, without shadow.
To surrender shadow is to become light.
To surrender self is to become Self.
However, we can never get rid of our eternal selves. And so we surrender ourselves only so that we can be the Self; we become empty only so that we can be full; we die as a separate self, only to be born as the all.
When the great emptiness pours through us, out into form, the difference between inside and outside vanishes, because the membrane between these two has been washed away. All is one emptiness now. No inside or outside. Only one- the great, everything emptiness.
To stay in that emptiness while operating in the form, is to bring the invisible light of Self into the shadow of self.
This is to settle the emptiness into the form, and so to see through the form into the unformed.
The subtle witness, which we are, of the gross being, which we also are, is the crossing over and crossing back nature of our dual selves which are one.
We must watch ourselves as if we were watching another person, and also be ourselves intimately. That is how we pay attention to ourselves being. That is how we be and not-be. This is how we cross over, and cross back.
The eternal, infinite Self includes this realm, but is not limited by this realm.
We must accept and release, and be firm and soluble, so as to avoid getting caught in identity, and yet be of the world.
To get caught in identity is to accept limitation.
To de-identify is to expand.
We run aground when we chase after the ephemeral instead of dwelling in the everlasting.
To be aware of the everlasting Self is to be the whole.
To be whole is to be non-reactive to the particular.
To transcend the paradigm is to become liberated.
To identify with the paradigm is to become contained.
We must experience our Self as neither labeled nor bound, so as to be a mystery.
To be mystery is to be free.
The forces which have caused us to believe that we exist only within this paradigm have no power over lucid ignorance, because such uncontained wonder cannot be caged within by concept.
To say ‘I’ without knowing what ‘I’ is, is to begin the journey to immortality.
I is everywhere.
Therefore it has no name.
Everything is I.
Therefore there is no I.
The eternal self is the eye beyond the I, the self beyond the self, the awareness which is stillness, the stillness which is awareness.
This is the great void.
All things are contained in the void, but only no-things are one with the void.
Anything that can be said of anything cannot be said of the void.
The void is beyond everything that is, was, or will be.
This is the transcendent realm.
When one encounters the void a slight grin emerges.
This is not the void smiling, it is the reaction of the not-void knowing it is the void.
The void is not a cold nothingness, for it is beyond coldness and nothingness.
It is impersonal awareness.
To awaken to impersonal awareness is to be the conscious void which has no being.
That which has being is somewhere.
That which has no being is everywhere.
To attain such ubiquity is to lose location.
To be everywhere is to lose perspective.
The subtle, eternal self permeates all, is involved with all, but is beyond all, for it is everywhere.
To find our ubiquity we must go beyond all.
We must cross over before we can cross back.
To dissolve into the void is to become the formless stillness permeating all form- the great impersonal awareness beyond all knowing.
This is how we cross over.
To be the eternal emptiness within the ephemeral form is to transform the world with unconditioned love.
This is how we cross back.
To become aware of the eternal self is to distill the essence which is the stillness of eternity out of the movement which is ephemeral; it is to become the formless stillness which pervades all active form.
This is when all energy bonds and karma are harmonized into the quiescent, everlasting One.
This is the dispassionate ubiquity of the subtle, characterless Self.
The identitiless Self, the free one.
The nameless Tao.
The ocean without end.
One homeostatic, living, divisionless ubiquity.
To live without division, without walls, is to be the subtle Self of all that is.
This is to ease into the emptiness, and to slip between the cracks.
We enter the emptiness through the form.
But to truly enter the emptiness, we must be the emptiness.
Hollow, hole, holy, wholly, whole.
All of it.
To not-do amidst the doing is to enter the stillness.
This is the art of wei wu wei: to act without action.
To act without action is to be the stillness of nothingness inside the movement of somethingness.
To find pristine internal stillness is to fuel external stillness, for true stillness is everywhere.
This is the union of inside and out.
This union is more subtle than duality.
Duality is movement.
Oneness is still.
To be the one stillness is to end reaction.
To end reaction is to act without acting.
This is to be in Tao.
Tao is not an accomplishment, for the Tao is eternally present.
To accomplish that which cannot be accomplished is to enter what is eternally accomplished.
To accomplish this is impossible.
To not accomplish this is impossible.
All things move in and out of Tao, but the eternal Tao remains.
To remain is to continue after all else is gone.
Between all that comes and goes exists the Tao that remains.
To remain is to be eternal amidst all that comes and goes.
Tao is beyond all that comes and goes.
To see through all that comes and goes, is to see through the paradigm.
After this one can feel the eternal Tao that neither comes nor goes.
This is the great space that is the subtle awareness.
To be the great aware space permeating all that comes and goes is to be the eternal Tao.
To be Tao is to be liberated from all that is not Tao.
To be space is to be liberated from all that has boundaries.
To be awareness is to be liberated from the one who is aware.
This is to go beyond subject and object.
Awareness is the impersonal Tao space which is beyond all association and dimension.
Tao has no similarity.
Tao has no description.
Tao has no identity.
To be such is to be free amidst unfreedom.
This is liberation.
To be liberated is not to escape the paradigm, but to dissolve into eternal awareness.
Eternal awareness is subtle, and everywhere, so it need go nowhere.
Meditation is nothing more than the art of doing nothing.
Stillness is an actuality beyond doing and non-doing.
Stillness is the substratum.
The Doer is absolutely still, all else is the Doing, whether it be done through action, thought, or emotion.
To become the Doer who does not do, is to cross over.
To consciously do nothing is to master the doing.
We arrive at the do-nothing stage- the wu wei- after all the things we came to do are done, because once we have taken on the flesh, we must see it through completely; we must go the whole distance and back again.
This is to cross over and then to cross back.
We must finish with what we came to do, so that we can not-do what we came to not-do.
We must attain many things before we can attain that which cannot be attained, which is to say the Tao.
The eternal self is subtle.
To realize the eternal is to become dispassionate to all the gross waves of the manifest.
This is to allow the paradigm to wash over and through us, so as to maintain awareness of our subtle existence.
It is when we are addicted to anything created that we are also addicted to being created. It is only when we stop being addicted to being created that we become the stillness of the Creator.
Identity is our greatest addiction.
Pride will entangle us in identity.
Shame will entangle us in identity.
Fear will entangle us in identity.
And so will courage.
Any reaction to the paradigm is of the paradigm.
Action must arise out of the eternal void, the Tao, the identitiless stillness which exists prior to manifestation, in order for it not to be entangled.
Liberation is awakening to the ever-free identitiless presence permeating the confined, gross form.
This is to set the confined form free.
The unmoving yet living center from which we witness the true dynamic nature of created being is a place of receptive surrender, of complete concavity; this is the vacuum, the total absence, the void into which all that is not void is drawn, destroyed, and reborn.
The wheel revolves around the hub.
The hub is motionless absence.
The center which is the hub, is nowhere until it is found within. Then it is everywhere.
To transcend the paradigm is not to rise above it, but to fall away behind it, and then to explode throughout it.
To fall away is to not care.
To explode throughout it is to care.
To be the stillness permeating the all is to care without caring, and to give without giving.
This is the empty benediction of the Tao.
In the stillness which does not accomplish all is accomplished eternally.
To distill the eternal stillness out of the gross movement is to cross over.
To become the eternal stillness in the gross movement is to cross back.
To cross back is to express immortality into mortality.
This is to become a ‘piercing through’ of the temporal, with the laser sharpness of Buddha-mind.
This is to penetrate all happenings cleanly, seamlessly, and be free from the all while being the all.
The eternal, non-being Self is distilled out of the form, and then it returns to permeate all form.
The witness and witnessed are thus integrated. All juxtaposition has ended. We have infiltrated the entire breadth of the cosmos, intertwining our subtle strands into the glorious fabric of being.
Oceanic consciousness united with earthly soul.
Mixed within, poured without.
To be the eternal absence in the midst of the temporal presence is to be the Great Consciousness united with the Great Being.
This is to be one with the Father and Mother, with God and Goddess, with Heaven and Earth.
When emptiness is distilled out of the form, Big Mind emerges as the space within which all being exists. That space is then re-integrated into isness.
We are the re-integrators of the great emptiness of God, with the deep soul of Goddess.
We are both.
As we dissolve, they become one.
This is cosmic androgyny.
To always be able to find and feel the cold, clean emptiness within the hot, throbbing form, is to be united with God and Goddess.
This is to act in the whirling cacophony of the kaleidoscopic emanations, while yet dancing unmovingly in the eternity of the motionless One.
To identify with the formless eternity is to become a self-substantial entirety.
To identify with the manifest form is to actualize your present emanation.
Two identities, one Self.
This is wholeness.
Wholeness operates differently than duality.
Wholeness is impartial, duality is in parts.
Wholeness is two that are one.
Duality is one that is two.
Oneness knows no other, no distance, no division.
Duality knows no mystery.
Tao is the subtle mysterious oneness beyond division.
It is in and through everything, but it is no-thing.
To enter this space we must become space.
To become space is to become all space.
To become all space is to embrace all form.
To embrace all form is to know no division.
This is universal love.
This is the redemption of the world.
by Jack Haas
Excerpted from OM, BABY!, by Jack Haas