dao self-sufficiency

Chinese characters for "self-sufficiency"

"Camoflauge" REBA

Be self-sufficient but not isolated.
When the king of China closed the borders,
Centuries of stagnation and decadence began.

All the philosophy of Tao is intended to lead to self-sufficiency. Whatever one needs to do in life, one should be able to do on one’s own. Whether one is trapped in the wilderness or whether one is dealing with a social gathering requiring etiquette and grace, one should be able to cope with aplomb and ease.

Being self-sufficient is not the same as being isolated. This is a very important point. When the king of China closed the borders, the country was self-sufficient enough to enjoy the contentment. But eventually an inbred society developed. Stagnation and decay set in.

The same problems can arise in people who are so self-sufficient that they fail to engage life fully. Either they will implode from the sheer weight of their own decadence and stagnation, or they will explode once the outside world confronts them with something they cannot comprehend.

Those who follow Tao roam the world. They may avail themselves of the temporary advantages of withdrawal and intense self-cultivation, but they do not become permanently isolated. They flow with the Tao, are with all things, and therefore avoid decadence.

365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)

REBA (camo)
in the series of Reba Exhibit photographs:
Motorola V220 cell phone photoshop filters
©2005.15.11 lisbeth west

These changes emerge, yet rushing water does not act. Reba is thirteen and shows us that she is reaching the end of her time with us.

Reba speaks now of profound images and knows each moment is precious.

Reba lived her first six years thrown out into 40 acres near Conifer (read: deep wood, high altitude, frigid temperatures) with not much shelter and a bowl of dog food sorta near the door. Reba knows about eyes. it is the eye of the enemy that strikes first, so much so that her balanced rushing water does not act shares the balance we hold today.

She is happy and doing well walking after the stroke (she tends to tilt to the left, matching our political leanings I ponder..). Our friend Dan knows living with stroke and teaches little but shows much about rushing water does not act. Reba awaits instruction about non action.

We have not had our first snow here: We still take awe in the survival of our baskets of fushia, dianthus, geranium, Jacob's Ladder, and small flowered petunia are fine and sassy, a pine needle in the way.

The hummingbird feeder has yet to be put away — one of hundred or so... and in the finer days of fall I almost hear one of the swallowtails coming up from the canyon or sitting on the lilac limb protecting his feeder or flower.

Our seasons are often heard first, then smelled, then we notice the light in the house changes as we move plants to their favorite places. They have their seasons, keeps us alert to what is coming in our lunar cycle.

A tip of the heater and the quiet again, of closed doors and children. Lucy Basset, discovering the middle years of five last June, now sits closely to the only other friend she has in her world.

As we cross this water together we shall remember that rushing water does not act.

lisbeth west
november 19, 2005
7:12 am (-7GMT)

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