Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tao Te Ching 16-We're all Going To Die!

Hi!  I'm Jake!

My mind has been a crumbly scramble the past few weeks. Delayed flights, my hernia, awesome shows, bad news, performing near the mass graves lining the Mexican border.  I even missed a gig due to Southwest Airlines's broken planes.  My reputation suffered.  I've also had some of my most favorite shows ever in the past 2 weeks.  Money coming and going, being surrounded by cokeheads. Ups and downs like crazy.

I've gotten a lot of useful and comforting advice from my dad, my roommate, and my fianceè.  ¡Fantastico!  However, when I was on the plane to and from the gig Southwest caused me to miss, and when I was within 15 miles of mass murders that regularly happen across the border, it was great just to read and re-read and re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-read chapters 12, 13, and 16 of Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu.  Here's Chapter 16:

"ATTAIN to utmost Emptiness.
Cling single-heartedly to interior peace.
While all things are stirring together,
I only contemplate the Return.
For flourishing as they do,
Each of them will return to its root.
To return to the root is to find peace.
To find peace is to fulfill one's destiny.
To fulfill one's destiny is to be constant.
To know the Constant is called Insight.
If one does not know the Constant,
One runs blindly into disasters.
If one knows the Constant,
One can understand and embrace all.
If one understands and embraces all,
One is capable of doing justice.
To be just is to be kingly;
To be kingly is to be heavenly;
To be heavenly is to be one with the Tao;
To be one with the Tao is to abide forever.
Such a one will be safe and whole
Even after the dissolution of his body." -Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
Okay, there is a lot to read and re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-read here. To break it down, though, Tao Te Ching is telling is to constantly contemplate "the Return", or our deaths.  It says we will all return to our "root"- or the dirt.  That's our destiny.  If we don't know our destiny, we run blindly into disasters.  But, if you know you're going to die, you can stop worrying about all that crap in life that is pretty meaningless.  You can put that stuff aside, be just, kingly, heavenly, safe and whole- even after your body rots and you return to the dirt.

To break it down further, Tao Te Ching says "we're all going to die so chill out and don't scurry around screwing up people's lives like an insane dickface."

Here are 3 Things I Am Thankful For because of Tao Te Ching Chapter 16- We're All Going To Die!

1. Tao Te Ching Chapter 16 rhymes.
If something rhymes, it makes it way easier for me to look it up again. "What chapter was that?  Oh yeah: it rhymes with 'Ching' so it must be 16.  ¡Fantastico!"

I'm thankful for that.

2. Chapter 16 relieves my stress.
Especially these days with information overload, it is really easy for my attention deficit brain to overload. It's really easy for me to short circuit myself into a jerk.  When I realized I was missing a really important gig due to Southwest Airlines's shortcomings, my first response was to quickly unravel and spin out of control into panic mode.  I was leaving frantic voicemails and texts.  I basically did a lot of things that the sane, rational version of myself regrets.

When I finally got on a plane, though, Tao Te Ching reminded me there will always be a bunch of things stirring around, but one day I will be back in the dirt.  So, the fact that Southwest Airlines kind of  dorked me out of a gig might suck today- and it might even screw up my reputation with this booker I was supposed to work for- none of that matters when I'm in the dirt.  The only thing I can do is calm my mind and experience the situation.  That's way more productive.

After reading this passage, I was way less of a douche.  You're thankful for that.

3. Chapter 16 is only one page.
That's one cool thing about Tao Te Ching.  Each chapter is only one page- max!  A lot of the chapters are only half page- or even just a quarter page!  So, I can bang out a whole chapter in minutes. That feels pretty good. "I need to read this chapter.  Ok. Done!  What's next on my queue?"

Also, I'm really glad each chapter is only one page. I have been reading this book for about 7 years. I read each chapter over and over and over. The more I read this book, the more it blows my mind.  Every time I read a chapter, I have to stop.  I need to soak that message in before I get my mind blown again.  My mind is like my body.  It can only be blown once before it needs to recharge for a bit.  Yep. That's a sexual epiphany. Enjoy!  You;re thankful for that.  Me too.

Well, this entry was super long. That's partly because it includes an entire chapter of Tao Te Ching.  Holy crap!  Thanks for letting me quote you, Lao Tzu!  You've been dead 5,000 years, but still I really appreciate it.  I'm sure one of your chapters will give me permission to share your wisdom.  If not, you've returned to the dirt so whatever.

To the rest of you, I'm thankful you read my blog!  Chillout.  Don't stress.  We're all going to die-someday.

Bye!  I'm Jake!

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