chapter 2 : I’m late! I’m late!

by kye on April 26, 2010

Technically, I’m late to write about chapter 2.  That was the chapter for last week.

How interesting!  How did that happen?

…wondering what happened, I’m not wondering about the story of my week: how first this happened and then that happened, so that only now can I sit down and write this post.  What I’m asking is, how did it happen that this simple notation on my list of things to do today–’write a post about chapter 2′–could become something-to-do-that’s-now-late?

When I began to write my way through the Tao Te Ching, I decided to do something I love to do, together with someone I like.  And to do something together, we need to show up at the same place at roughly the same time.

In US culture, we are big about doing things ‘on time’.  When we agree to meet, for us in the US it’s ‘good’ to be ‘on time’.  But for ‘on time’ to even make any sense, we have to have the concept of ‘late’.  And in the US, it’s ‘bad’ to be ‘late’.

I can write a post as something that’s ‘owed’ and therefore ‘late’ or ‘on time’.  If I write it that way, then there’s something unnatural introduced.  I’m forcing the process.

The interesting thing is that I can only show up when I show up, which is now–and there is no way I can make it be any earlier (or later) than it is.

In truth there is just this possibility of writing, and this keyboard and screen, and the sense of what I could say right now.  When I let that truth suffuse me, there is plenty of time.  I spread out and take up this whole precious time, luxuriously…

…just in time!

beauty as beautiful gives rise to ugliness
being gives birth to nonbeing

because of good there is bad
because of easy there is difficult

high and low position one another
sound and silence form a unity
future and past follow each other

so… the sage
lives his life without forcing anything

things come and go
and he welcomes it all
without judging it

he does his work
and lets it go
without claiming it

his actions endure,
because they are the actions
of the universe

— Kye Nelson: translation and commentary on Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching

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This post was written as part of the tao together project.  Would you like to join us?

©2010 Kye Nelson

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