One of my enduring memories of the marvelously '60's ish Oregon Country Fair outside of Eugene is a banner strung high between two trees that simply said, "Yes…Yes…Yes." (though the fair does have some dos and don'ts)
When I saw it, I thought…Yes.
There's so much in that one word. Everything, really. What more could we want if we have Yes? It's the negative side of life that is so disenchanting.
Nobody likes to be told "No!" Not children, not anybody. We're Yes seeking creatures who long for affirmation, positivity, acceptance.
This is a big part of the reason why Taoism holds so much appeal for me, now that I've left behind most of the no-no-no's that divided life into distinct Good's and Bad's during my religious Radha Soami Satsang Beas phase.
Now I resonate with the Taoist approach to ethics described in Hans-Georg Moeller's "Daoism Explained."
Daoists try to prevent the necessity of morality in the first place. If people learn to follow the Way (dao) and the "own course" (ziran), then morality will not be required because everything will be just naturally fine. From a Daoist point of view, morality is the virtue of latecomers.
As discussed in my previous post, Taoism unites rather than divides. It embraces the entire wheel of creation: the empty hub is inseparable from the radiating spokes.
Religions, however, seek a transcendent ideal that always seems to be just around the corner, never here and now.
Salvation, enlightenment, redemption, forgiveness – you've got to believe that they're coming. Just have faith, obey the dictates, and stifle your natural impulses. You're fallen, a sinner, a sheep following the Shepherd. Don't turn to the right or left. Keep to the straight and narrow.
Which means a lot of no's. Every religion has them. And they're supposed to apply to everybody. Sheep don't get to choose their own path.
By contrast, Moeller says about Daoists:
They were not so much concerned with profound thoughts and deep meanings – they were rather experts in how to avoid these philosophical pitfalls. And they did not aim at transcending the limits of time and space or of language and thought, but were much more willing to cultivate an attitude that allowed for a perfect affirmation and appreciation of all that lives and dies, of all that is said and thought.
I'd have my convertible Mini Cooper S by now if I had gotten a dollar every time a fellow devotee said to me during my Radha Soami Satsang Beas days, "Brian, you think too much."
I'd generally think (hey, what else could I do?) "And you give advice too much." But instead I'd reply, "Yes, you're probably right."
From your point of view. From your perspective as one spoke on the wheel of life, which is going to be different from that of every other spokesperson. Including me.
I could say "Yes" to that bit of advice. I could also say "Yes" to my love of thinking.
Daoist philosophy, as I hoped to show, generally affirms the world of "presence" (you), that is, all the "ten thousand things<' life and death, even action and speech. The nonpresence (wu) in the midst of presence – the emptiness that is neither dead nor alive and neither acts nor speaks – does not expose any "relativity" of the present.
Daoist emptiness and nonpresence do not diminish but rather confirm the authenticity of the present…A core element of Daoist philosophy is the affirmation of the full authenticity of all there is.