Meditation Point #105A Zen Thing
Only one who makes no attempt to possess it cannot lose it.
– – Lao-Tsu
There is a double meaning in this saying whether Lao-Tsu intended it or not. To understand this first we define Taoism. Taoism advocates self-transcendence, integration with the Law of Nature, inaction and infinite frame of reference instead of social attainment, self-development, progressive endeavor and personal interpretation. In that light the literal meaning is that only in possessing nothing can we begin to find the ultimate truth.
Nothing in life can be possessed, love, air, the sun, the flowers, life, death, nothing. In realizing this the Taoist suggests a life devoid of possessions, even of thoughts for to hold onto your thoughts is to cloud your mind. What is this interpretation is incorrect? What if Lao-Tsu meant that we have to take chances?!
It is true that in making ‘no attempt’ then nothing will happen and in gaining nothing we have nothing to lose. But if we do not possess things, if we make no attempt then we can never understand the nature of loss, of love, of life.
Perhaps we should read this quote as a warning? If we live a life of inaction then we can never possess life. This logic is a bit of a double-edged sword because if our entire focus is to possess life then we become selfish creatures. Selfishness is the one thing that Lao-Tsu rightly warns against. In selfishness we no longer possess life but are possessed by it. There is the paradox. Action without selfish intent, so we can possess the gifts of life without being possessed by them.
If we are not possessed by something then we can lose it with no (little) sense of loss. When we see a beautiful sunset we do not feel a sense of loss at its passing, nor should we for other things in our life. If we truly appreciate and savor our life this is possible. This is the secret and difficulty of the Path. The lesson here is personal and each person may find a slightly different meaning here. From where I sit either Lao-Tsu was wrong or greatly misinterpreted in this quote.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Awareness Beliefs Celebrity Christmas Confidence Crime critical thought Diet Entertainment Exercise Failure Fitness Freedom Fun Funny Gun Control Guns Health History Holiday Honor Jokes Karate Kata Kyokushin Liberty Mas Oyama Meditation News Patriotic Perspective Politics Questions Quotes Religion Self-Defense Sparring State of Mind Style Success Technique Training Video Weapons Zen