The Easy Way
"The Great Way is easy,
yet people prefer the side paths."
There is a wonderful little Taoist book called the Hua Hu Ching that I often read at our weekly Qigong classes. It contains some very powerful and simple teachings about how we can live our lives in the harmony and Flow of the present moment (the Tao). In one of these verses, the great sage Lao Tzu writes:
"Don't think that you can attain total awareness and whole enlightenment without proper discipline and practice. This is egomania."
In other words, anything worth having is also worth the discipline, time and energy required to have it. In todays culture however, discipline is a dirty word. These days, everybody wants things to be easy, with little or no effort, and are often unwilling to work toward anything of true value. For instance, if we need to get in shape, we expect that one visit to the gym will do the trick, and when we find out that getting healthy may require a bigger commitment than one workout, we throw up our hands and convince ourselves that we have better things to do. Or perhaps we wish to find a greater joy and peace in our lives, and decide that we will give meditation a try. So we sit down, only to find that our minds are very busy (crazy?), and feeling frustrated after five minutes, we tell ourselves that, 'meditation may work for others, but certainly not for me.'
Yet, if you were to ask anyone who has gained a certain level of proficiency, let alone mastery over anything, what the 'secret' is for being a 'master', they will readily tell you that having the discipline to practice and be committed to what you truly want, is paramount for getting any value out of what you do. Want to get in shape? Then start exercising and moving your body regularly - and magically - your body will respond by getting stronger and more fit. Want to meditate deeply? Then learn a technique that actually works and make a commitment to practice everyday, no matter what obstacles the mind may throw at you, and before you know it, joy and ease will fill you like water in a still lake. This is true, not only for getting in shape or meditating by the way, but for every single thing worth having or doing in this Life. One thing is for certain, if you tend to give up after trying something a couple of times, you may, as Lao Tzu kindly points out; wander in circles for the rest of your life, having never achieved anything of true value.
The point is this; if flowing in the power and ease of the Great Way (the Tao) is what we truly want, then we will also have to be willing to do the practices that open the door to that experience of harmony and flow in our lives. As Lao Tzu reminds us;
"Appropriate rituals channel your emotions and Life energy toward the Light.
Without the discipline to practice them, you will tumble constantly backward into darkness."