The TAO recommends embracing all—including everyone and everything that one encounters on one’s life journey—instead of choosing this and picking that. The fact that humans pick this and avoid that is based on their past experiences and projecting those experiences into future as their expectations.
"Good fortune and misfortune are all in one.
Seeking one and rejecting the other,
we become completely confused.
Striving for goodness and righteousness,
we become evil and wicked."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 58)
Embracing everyone and everything is beneficial because it holds the key to awakening, which is the ultimate understanding of the TAO.
“We act without over-doing.
We manage without interference.
We enjoy without attachment. . . .
Therefore, we focus on the present moment,
doing what needs to be done,
without straining and stressing.
To end our suffering,
we focus on the present moment,
instead of our expected result.
So, we follow the natural laws of things.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 63)
The TAO, however, does not imply that there is no free will or freedom of choice.
“Fame or self, which is dearer?
Self or wealth, which is greater?
Gain or loss, which is more painful?
Accumulating or letting go, which causes more sufferings?
Looking for status and security, we who find only sufferings.
Knowing our true nature, we find joy and peace.
With nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to us.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 44)
Embracing helps you let go of all your attachments to life, especially those you think define who you are.
“Everything that happens to us is beneficial.
Everything that we experience is instructional.
Everyone that we meet, good or bad, becomes our teacher or student.
We learn from both the good and the bad.
So, stop picking and choosing.
Everything is a manifestation of the mysteries of creation."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 27)
Attachments and Detachments
Attachment is no more than a safety blanket to overcome fear—fear of change and of the unknown from that change. To cope with that fear, all attachments become distractions.
Attachment is basically your emotional dependence on things and people that define your identity, around which you wrap your so called “happiness” and even your survival. Attachment is holding on to anything that you are unwilling to let go of, whether it is something good or bad, positive or negative.
All human attachments are the raw materials with which one both consciously and subconsciously creates one’s identity through a period of confusion and uncertainty that inevitably leads to the identity crisis. Without human attachment, there will be no identity crisis.
“The Way is easy,
yet people prefer distracting detours.
Beware when things are out of balance.
Remain centered within the Creator.
Distractions are many,
in the form of riches and luxuries.
They allure us from the Way.
Accumulations are like extortions of the poor.
They bring only disasters and sufferings.
Do not deviate from the Way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 53)
Detachment from the ego-self is the only way to go.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau