A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Be True To The Law Of Your Being

TAO's presence in this world / Is like valley streams / Flowing into rivers and seas. Tao Te Ching 

I'm reading Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard at last and much enjoying it. When Matthiessen first came across the following passage from Jung it was a joyful and significant moment for him. I also found it wildly exciting when reading it yesterday:

The fact that many a man who goes his own way ends in ruin means nothing . . . He must obey his own law, as if it were a daemon whispering to him of new and wonderful paths . . . There are not a few who are called awake by the summons of the voice, whereupon they are at once set apart from the others, feeling themselves confronted with a problem about which the others know nothing. In most cases it is impossible to explain to the others what has happened, for any understanding is walled off by impenetrable prejudices. 'You are no different from anybody else,' they will chorus, or, 'there's no such thing', and even if there is such a thing, it is immediately branded as 'morbid' . . . He is at once set apart and isolated, as he has resolved to obey the law that commands him from within. 'His own law!' everybody will cry. But he knows better: it is the law . . . The only meaningful life is a life that strives for the individual realisation — absolute and unconditional — of its own particular law . . . To the extent that a man is untrue to the law of his being . . . he has failed to realise his life's meaning.

The undiscovered vein within us is a living part of the psyche; classical Chinese philosophy names this interior way 'Tao', and likens it to a flow of water that moves irresistibly towards its goal. To rest in Tao means fulfilment, wholeness, one's destination reached, one's mission done, the beginning, end, and perfect realization of the meaning of existence in all things.

Today's mantra: Resist not Tao, follow not the crowd but your own inner voice, be true to the law of your own being.


Ruth said...

Thank you.

am said...

To thine own self be true. It was some time ago that I read The Snow Leopard. Now I want to read it again. Thank you for this post, Robert.

George said...

Yes, yes. By all means, YES!

I reread "The Snow Leopard" last year, shortly after Matthiessen's death. Many good things to be found in those pages.

Vagabonde said...

I bought this book many years ago but it is still on one of our shelves, somewhere in the house. I'll look for it now so I can finally read it because by reading this excerpt it looks quite remarkable. Thanks for coming and commenting on my blog. I would be honored for you to use any of it.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for reading, Ruth.

Amanda — I've been meaning to read this book for ages! It's absolutely wonderful. Trekking and Buddhism — my favourite subjects.

Yes, I remember you telling me you'd been reading it, George — and this prompted me to do so.

Thanks, Vagabonde.