Be still to know the absolute.
Be active to know the outer.
The two spring from the same source,
All of life is one whole.
In stillness, one seeks the absolute Tao. There is neither beauty nor ugliness in it. Because it has no opposites, it is called absolute. By contrast, nothing of this world is absolute, because all things that we experience are relative.
Seeking the absolute may be among the greatest goals, but you cannot remain on your meditation cushion forever. You must go out and explore life as well. This is the investigation of the outer Tao—that aspect of Tao that flows through all existence. You must not fail to explore anything that interests you. Any skill you want to master should be learned. Any subject that arouses curiosity should be examined. Every insecurity should be overcome. Every question should be answered. If you do not do this, then you cannot freely flow with the outer Tao: Every one of your uncertainties will be an obstacle.
Initially, it will seem as if there is no connection between your time meditating and the outer things in your life. After all, the masters themselves constantly stress the difference between the spiritual and the social. But eventually, you will reach a point where the quiescence of contemplation and the activeness of living are integrated. Then there is no anxiety about whether one is living a spiritual life or not. You realize that it is all part of the same seamless whole.
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