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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Fixer and the Tao

When I look at the aspect of me that wants to "fix" things (and people), I see that it is a very powerful drive. I also see that it is quite a clever aspect too because I am quite good at fixing, if I do say so myself. Fortunately for me, "fixing" is a never ending task.

But is it really possible to fix anything or am I just imposing my sense of order on something that is and always has been part of some “Great Perfection” that merely occurs to me at the moment to be broken.

The notion that something needs fixing assumes somehow that something is broken or imperfect. When I examine this notion closer I find that it is totally unfounded. It is not necessary for something to be viewed as broken or imperfect as a prerequisite for my taking action.

Most of us have things in our lives that we believe need fixing. But the attitude we bring to the task is not one of excitement and adventure but one of drudgery or obligation.

What if instead, we brought an attitude of "changing" or "rearranging" rather than "fixing". Then fixing up the house can become a matter of "changing" the color of the bedroom. Fixing the toilet can become a matter of "rearranging" the parts in the tank so that it doesn't run in between flushes.

I think the most depressing notions that we hold are those around "fixing" other people or, heaven forbid, fixing ourselves. What is depressing of course is that we, or someone else we care about, is seen as "broken". Does something have to be broken or wrong in order to change or evolve? I say, certainly not. It is the notion that something is imperfect that adds the onerous angst to the activities we choose to engage.

Taoism tells us that we are part of a great unfolding that happens both with and without us necessarily doing anything. Everything that we do is a part of that unfolding. There is nothing perfect or imperfect about the world as it is or about what it is becoming. In as much as we are a part of the world, there is nothing perfect or imperfect about ourselves or others either.

Therefore, it is ourselves that bring the judgment into our perception. And along with those judgments we bring the angst, dissatisfaction and suffering. The Tao is perfect in every moment, just as it is and as it is not as is our part in the Tao. Ironically, it is also part of that perfection that we suffer until we learn how to be in our lives without suffering. In the space of seeing that nothing is wrong or broken we can begin to play in our world and with each other with the sense that life is a gift and not a chore or a burden.

What Taoism is showing us is that it is not what we do in life but the attitude we bring that controls our sense of life's quality. When we are in the Tao, like being in the "zone", we float with the river of experience with curiosity and awe. We ride the horse in the direction it is already going, gently guiding, working with the forces that are already present accepting and experiencing what is as part of the process that we are at the same time creating.


Blogger Carson said...

What a wonderful description Michael - I appreciate your perspectives and the way you are able to explicate their essence. Blessings.

11:02 AM  
Blogger tommyp said...

In the moment we can see clearly what if anything needs to be done. Sometimes its hard to let things be. Thanks for the reminder - I really needed it.

1:30 PM  
Blogger The Rambling Taoist said...

Very well put!

12:16 AM  

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