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What Comes Around, Goes Around…

December 10, 2010

Tao Te Ching 6

The valley spirit never dies;

It is the woman, primal mother.

Her gateway is the root of heaven and Earth.

It is like a veil barely seen.

Use it; it will never fail.


                The Tao Te Ching recognizes the “valley spirit” as “the woman” and the “primal mother,” suggesting it is the source of all things. The valley, which is where things grow and prosper because they have settled where gravity has taken them, conformed to what life has offered them, and grown in harmony with life instead of in opposition to it. According to the Tao, valleys are the places of the greatest growth and fertility because they are where the rain waters settle, recognizing water as something that simply flows wherever nature and gravity send it.

                The “root of heaven and Earth” states that all things – both material and spiritual – are born of the valley spirit, which does not die because it was never born. The valley spirit simply is a source of all things, a means of identifying that life as we know it is forever birthed by the congregation of all elements that eventually find their way back to the valley. Flowing water eventually becomes still water, which evaporates and becomes clouds, later to become rain that will fall into the valley and flow once more.

                To see the world from its origin, the valley spirit, is to recognize how everything is related through small cycles of existence, understanding that nothing ever truly ‘disappears’ from the world, but merely takes on another form before eventually returning to what it once was before. “Like a veil barely seen” means that we look at the ten thousand things as individual components of a much greater masterpiece that is the Tao and that, should we persist in seeing all things as only temporary manifestations of their perpetuated cycle, we can appreciate things more deeply by seeing them with less permanence.

                Things come and go, but the Taoist knows that what is lost will, in some way, return. In this, we learn not to cling too tightly to things because all things are in transitional states and will eventually cease to be what they are and become something else. However, it is also to recognize that what ceases to be what it is will eventually become something similar again if one allows themselves to see where it goes.

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