Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 36

My tai chi teacher is fond of saying, “If something goes up, something comes down.” This is how he explains the exchange of energy between yin and yang. If one is filling, the other is emptying. We draw in to manifest out. We yield to overcome force.

This chapter repeats a theme in the Tao Te Ching of the interdependence and creative energy of opposites.

If you want to receive 
You must first give
This is the mystery of enlightenment

The character for mystery describes the thin place between the emptiness of Tao and the manifestation of the ten thousand things, the liminal space between form and formlessness. At this point of intersection, the energy of what appears as two opposites swirls together, generating the creative power of the universe.

The “magic” of this creative power is nowhere more evident than in the realm of the heart. When we think in finite terms of limitation, it is obvious that if I give you something I have less. But in the heart realm, giving begins the dance of creation as the two sides join to give birth to more than themselves.

As Shakespeare’s Juliet observed to Romeo, “My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep. The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.”

This is not something to understand or analyze. We need only experience it to grasp its truth. Once, when I was so depleted of energy and joy in my life, when things seemed the hardest, and despair rode heavily on my shoulder, all I could think of was that I needed help.

Somehow, as counterintuitive as it seemed, I was led to enter a training program to help others. I couldn’t imagine how I could summon even the tiniest bit of openness or generosity in my heart, which felt so completely drained. And yet I drew strength and healing from giving what I didn’t even think I had, to others who were hurting.

Like my favorite commercial (click here to watch it) said, like magic…only real.

Once we have emptied ourselves of all that we think we know and are, we will find the hidden gem of our own Tao nature, deep within the cloud of our unknowing. ~Solala Towler

8 thoughts on “Tao Te Ching – Chapter 36”

  1. In runes, I learned that every set, whether it be a seven-set or a pair, was a balance to another. Magic was the moving of one set's balance to the partner. That mystery area is like the (sp) Ginnungagap, where the lands of fire and ice met to birth the beginnings of life. As I pointed out in my Sunday Message before last, pagans often found the structure that God put into the word- only missing the crucial element of His Divine Love.

  2. It is in the giving that we receive. We must empty ourselves and follow the One who gave it all. We might not fully understand the mystery, but that is good; it calls us to keep on giving.
    Blessings, Galen!

  3. Always something to learn and try to understand in Tao Ti Ching. I do understand and believe that as you give you receive much more back. Serving and giving to others always bring feelings of happiness to one's heart. I liked your personal story and Shakespeare's' quote. Blessings and hugs~

  4. I've been learning the value of this giving, Galen, with my volunteering. It's so refreshing when the rest of the time is spent on more self focused self employment pursuits. The giving through helping people brings balance into my life. Lovely post.

  5. Thanks, LeAnn. You are a wonderful model of the truth of this teaching. Your whole life has been and continues to be one of service to others. No wonder you feel so abundantly blessed.

Comments are closed.