The Receptivity of Being Empty

empty room

I want to make myself an empty room:

Quiet whitewashed walls with slant sunshine

And a fresh breeze through open windows.

Some days are extremely fluid, and all possible courses of action are equally attractive. Rather than do something arbitrary, it is far better to empty oneself completely. Then the more subtle currents of life may be felt. One should avoid the mistake of random action.

Arbitrary action will most likely be out of accord with the times. It is artificial, a structure that we impose from our own thought. Such movements are invariably stilted and wooden; they do not have the fresh perfection of the natural.

We do not have enough peace. Yet peace will never be attained by perpetual action. Stirred water never has the chance to settle clear. A tree buffeted by winds can never grow straight. Give up all unnecessary activity. Give up all arbitrary actions. Make yourself receptive. The peace that you seek shall be quickly at hand.

-Deng Ming-Dao

empty

*photos in order of appearance:

girl with light, http://vestidoslindosatelier.tumblr.com/post/42690429819

window with curtain, by Alan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/weardaleone/2728024132/

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Sieving through Life

Imagephoto found on Stuart Limbrick’s pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/stuiebaby/nostalgia/ 

A coarse sieve catches little.

A fine mesh catches more.

If you want the subtle, be refined,

But prepare to deal with the coarse.

The irony of spiritual living is that you become more sensitive and more subtle. Therefore, you become intolerant of the coarse. There is not much choice in this. If you want to catch the subtle things in life, then you must become refined yourself. But the coarser things will then accumulate all the more quickly. A coarse sieve in a rushing stream will hold back only debris and large rocks. A fine mesh will catch smaller things, but it will also retain the large. 

Some people attempt to cope with this by becoming multilayered. They set up a series of screens to their personalities, from the coarse to the subtle so that they can deal with all that life has to offer. This is quite laudable from an ordinary point of view, but from the point of view of Tao, it is a great deal of bother. 

What do we do? If we remain coarse, then only the coarse comes to us. If we become subtle, then we gain the refined but are plagued with the coarse as well. If we become multilayered, then we create a complexity that isolates us from Tao.

The solution lies in floating on the current of Tao, uniting with it. That way we no longer seek to hold or to reject. 

~Deng Ming-Dao~

Imagephoto found on: persephonesunset.tumblr.com