Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Breath

Paraprased from a chapter in The Tao of Abundance

In the Taoist perspective the universe was not "made" but "just is". The process which is the universe is not deliberately manufactured but of organic growth. Everything that ever existed or ever will came into being when Mother Tao was "mysteriously brought into existence". Everything is grown out of this one source. "Heaven and Earth were born at the same time I was, and the ten thousand things are one with me." No thing has caused other things to be, all things have mutually arisen and therefore mutually create and sustain one another.

The theory of the big bang suggests that the entire universe began with a single giant explosion. From silent and shapeless stuff (gases), the entire universe was born. We can be seen as having been latent in the primordial gasses that produced the big bang. The scientific consensus is the view that the universe has been continually expanding since the big bang. More recently, it has been theorized that it may eventually begin to shrink and collapse upon itself. If this hypothesis should prove out, this to would fit the Taoist cosmology. If the Universe eventually collapses back into itself, it may well be that this pattern of expansion and contraction is an endlessly repeating cycle that has been going on for incalculable eons.

this expansion and contraction of the universe could be conceived as the in-breath and out-breath of Mother Tao. Tao is the emptiness out of which all things arose and into which they will again return and arise again...and again...and so on.

This cycle applies not only to the universe but more immediately to the life cycle of the individual - all that transpires between the in-breath at birth and the out-breath on dying.

We either embrace life in its totality or we split it into an endless number of likes and dislikes. As Shakespeare put it; "To be or not to be" is the question. Fragmented, we can never find peace. Embrace the process of life and you embrace all aspects of it.

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