Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | February 7, 2012

Allowing the Sage to Work

This is related to the last post on letting life happen vs. making life happen. The I Ching and Taoist/zen thought is very clear on encouraging us to get out of our oown way and allowing the “sage” to work. It is clear(or not so clear)that there are things going on behind the scenes and it is important for us to empty ourselves so that it can be filled up; empty ourselves of the anxiety ego driven desires in order to fill up on the higher things, the higher development.

I’ve discussed this question with a number of people and we all sort of come to the same conclusion. It’s a mix, it’s a balance, it depends on the situation. But there is no question that even a taoist or zen master spends his or her days in disciplined practice, so that when the time is ripe, he acts with right action.

In our secular matrix, we are often pulled off center, distracted, pushed or seduced into acting before time, or in the wrong way, and we can just hear the sage groaning that we’re f’ing it up.

Rick Matz made a good comment on the earlier post on the difference between acting and letting or allowing. You know, at work, we have a new acronym called KPI’s or key performance indicators, and we on the spiritual path should have our own KPI’s! Get out of the way. Let go let God. Allow the universe to arrange itself.

I’ll ask this question: is it just a jungian psychological way of making ourselves feel better about what we do? I can do a good job of justifying things on either side of the issue, and say see, it worked out, or, see it didn’t. Are we just making sense of things by “allowing things to happen?

The teaching is clear. It’s not about giving up or quitting or being totally passive. IT looks a lot like passivity but in actuality, quiet waiting can be exhaustingly active, constant awareness, total focus, keeping your ego in check so as not to act rashly.

I can look back in retrospect with 20/20 hindsight and see how the universe has arranged itself and that when I was spiritually centered things worked out. But I can also look back and question whether things would be different if I had been more proactive or aggressive here and there. The first scenario I can point to the results. In the second, I’ll never know.

Meditation, contemplation, and reflection help to develop the wisdom. Good gong fu is knowing what to do. I can see myself sitting in the mountains and making the right decisions with clairity, wisdom, and courage.

And you know, courage plays a big role in all of this because we can often use wu wei or non action as an excuse for the fact that we do not have the courage to act. I remember great lines by David Carradine in Kung Fu The Legend Continues when he intervenes and says “I cannot allow you to do it,” or something to that effect. It’s like, dude, this is the way it is, it can’t be any other way. So, there are many times in life when we must summon the courage to do what’s right, to finish school, to stop a bully, to stand up for another person, to protect our family, to put out a fire.

I often wonder why certain things aren’t going on in my life. But if I am secure in that I am doing what I’m supposed to do, then I must trust that the Sage is certainly working behind the scenes and doing what he is supposed to do.

I will finish with this mantra that comes to mind often: Just do the tai chi. Everything else will work itself out.

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