Taoism Essay Research Paper In order to

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Taoism Essay, Research Paper In order to go into Taoism at all, we must begin by being in the frame of mind in which it can understood. You cannot force yourself into this frame of mind, anymore than you can smooth rippled waters. But let’s say that our starting point is that we forget what we know, or think we know, and that we suspend judgment about practically everything, returning to what we were when we were babies when we had not yet learned the names or the language. And in this state, although we have extremely sensitive bodies and very alive senses, we have no means of expressing what is going on around us. You are just plain ignorant, but still very much alive, and in this state you just feel what is without calling it anything at all. You know nothing at all

about anything called an external world in relation to an internal world. You don’t know who you are, you haven’t even the idea of the word you or me. It is before all that. Nobody has taught you self control, so you don’t know the difference between the noise of a car outside and a wandering thought that enters your mind- they are both something that happens. You don’t identify the presence of a thought that may be just an image of a passing cloud in your mind’s eye or the passing automobile; they happen. Your breath happens. Light, all around you, happens. Your response to it by blinking happens. So, on one hand you are simply unable to do anything, and on the other there is nothing you are supposed to do. Nobody has told you anything to do. You are completely unable

to do anything but be aware of the buzz. The visual buzz, the audible buzz, the tangible buzz, the smellable buzz– all around the buzz is going on. Watch it. Don’t ask who is watching it; you have no information about that yet. You don’t know that it requires a watcher for something to be watched. That is somebody’s idea; but you don’t know that. Lao-tzu says, "The scholar learns something every day, the man of tao unlearns something every day, until he gets back to non-doing." Just simply, without comment, without an idea in your head, be aware. What else can you do? You don’t try to be aware; you are. You will find, of course, that you can not stop the commentary going on inside your head, but at least you can regard it as interior noise. Listen to your

chattering thoughts as you would listen to the singing of a kettle. We don’t know what it is we are aware of, especially when we take it altogether, and there’s this sense of something going on. I can’t even really say ‘this,’ although I said ’something going on.’ But that is an idea, a form of words. Obviously I couldn’t say something is going on unless I could say something else isn’t. I know motion by contrast with rest, and while I am aware of motion I am also aware of at rest. So maybe what’s at rest isn’t going and what’s in motion is going, but I won’t use that concept then because in order for it to make sense I have to include both. If I say here it is, that excludes what isn’t, like space. If I say this, it excludes that, and I am reduced to

silence. But you can feel what I am talking about. That’s what is called tao, in Chinese. That’s where we begin. Tao means basically "way", and so "course"; the course of nature. Lao-tzu said the way of the functioning of the tao is "so of itself"; that is to say it is spontaneous. Watch again what is going on. If you approach it with this wise ignorance, you will see that you are witnessing a happening. In other words, in this primal way of looking at things there is no difference between what you do, on the one hand, and what happens to you on the other. It is all the same process. Just as your thought happens, the car happens outside, and so the clouds and the stars. When a Westerner hears that he thinks this is some sort of fatalism or