Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 47

There is a lot packed into this short chapter, which makes clear that we need not look anywhere outside ourselves for the answers we seek. In fact, we need not look at all.

Without going out the door, one knows everything under heaven
Without looking out the window, one sees heaven’s Tao
The further away one goes, the less one knows
Thus the sage knows without going anywhere
Recognizes without looking
Accomplishes without doing

We read of wise hermits living for decades in caves and cloistered mystics. Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz learned that everything she wanted was in her own back yard back in Kansas. My Aunt Bernice never strayed far from home, yet understood more about life than most people with more education and worldly experience.

We can read this chapter in a literal sense and let our passports expire. However, I don’t think the caution here is against travel per se, but against looking outside of our own selves to find truth.

To go even further (pun intended), it is the very concept of seeking, whether out there or within, that frustrates our aspirations. Seeking suggests that there is something to find. But what if what we are seeking can’t be found because it was never lost? If I cover my eyes with my hands, I don’t need to find the light; I just need to remove what blocks my vision of the light that is all around me.

We embrace the idea that what we seek isn’t out there, but within, but we then continue the same search just in a different direction. Oh, it’s within me! Where is it? I search the inner terrain with the same determination as I searched the world over. It’s right here. I just need to meditate more (chant, pray, beat drums, walk labyrinths, do yoga, whatever). I know it’s close. But I can’t see it. Damn.

What happens if I quit searching? What happens if I just live fully present in this moment? And this one? We see heaven’s Tao. It looks just like life. And it’s marvelous.

Nor will people say, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘There it is.’ For you see, the kingdom of God is within you. ~Luke 17:21

20 thoughts on “Tao Te Ching – Chapter 47”

  1. I agree with Luke;"the Kingdom of God is within you." I feel like we were will taught in pre-earth life and we are here now learning how to remember the truths taught. They are inside of us and as we see it; we will know and feel truth.
    Of course, I really liked your thought about just living full in the present moment. Life, experiences, learning and choice is what it is all about as we enjoy the precious moments of life.
    This was a fun read!
    Blessings and hugs~

  2. I really appreciate the way you write Galen. You always inspire.

    All our life we seem to be seeking someone or something external, in order to become whole. We believe there is some lack…that we are not complete, as is. This is the frustration of the search, you are speaking of. As long as we are seeking something more, we will never be content. When we lose our sense of lack the searching is over. We begin to realize that all that is needed is to let go and trust in a power that is greater then 'I'.

    'What happens if I quit searching? What happens if I just live fully present in this moment? And this one? We see heaven’s Tao. It looks just like life. And it’s marvelous.'

    I like that … When we let go, when the seeking is done, and we live 'now' we see heaven's Tao, the way, the life. This is what all the great master's said. When Buddha gave up the search, he became enlightened. Jesus's message was about a way of surrender to the kingdom of heaven within, rather then the kingdom of the lower self ( Me), to know the truth and the life. Lao-tzu's whole Tao message is about living natures way, living in the flow, surrendering to life as it is, now.

    Without looking outside of our own being we can know truth and heaven's Tao, it was there all along, the greatest treasure of all…Life in its fullness. You are right …its marvelous.

  3. Your post is quite timely. I am reading "Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent." The author makes the point that what we are seeking is already within us.

    All major religious cultures ultimately point in the same direction, to a singular reality that emcompasses everything. It is just the paths are different depending upon culture and history.

    I'm not done with the book but I think that is his point!

  4. Thanks for the kind words, Brian. And you are right. "As long as we are seeking something more, we will never be content." This is true whether we are seeking "out there" or within.

    Your comment reminded me of a very rich man being asked how much more money he needed before he would have enough. "Just a little more," he said.

  5. This reminded me about Ch 46 from your post in July.This is part of your comment:

    'Thus those who know contentment are always satisfied
    When we get what we desire, it sometimes isn’t what we thought it would be. Or even if it is, it isn’t long before we want something else. We think that our dissatisfaction comes from not having what we want, but perhaps our dissatisfaction comes from wanting.

    “He who knows enough is enough will always have enough.”

    I need not comment ….you said it, so well…haha

  6. I believe I would like to read this book, Bob. I checked it on amazon and read the comments. I read Aldous Huxley's 'The perennial philosophy" a couple times and this looks like a very interesting one. Thanks!

    I also checked your retirement blog. I will be looking at it in detail. I just recently retired …and loving it.

  7. You are welcome, Brian. I am finding the book very thought-provoking. Last night my wife and I had an excellent discussion about some of his points.

    Hope you enjoy my blog. Galen is a very good friend, so we know how to share!

  8. So happy that y'all have connected! Brian, welcome to retirement. You will find Bob's blog to be a treasure trove of wisdom, inspiration, information, humor, and practical advice.

  9. This is a profound question: "What happens if I quit searching? What happens if I just live fully present in this moment?" One I would like to explore for myself! I feel I am getting this same message from different directions at the moment and am so appreciating the synchronicity!

  10. This is a fascinating time we live in. We are so interconnected. All the information we want is literally at our finger tips. Its interesting that the perennial teaching of one 'singular reality encompassing everything' has been known by sages for thousands of years.Its only now, in this time period, that we all have access to this understanding. Science is on the verge of accepting that consciousness is the energy field behind matter.This may be the key understanding toward the long sought after unified theory of everything. Science and Spirituality are slowly converging toward this realization that we are all one. Jude Currivan a well known figure in leading edge cosmology says that we don't have consciousness ..we are consciousness.

    I ordered the book, from amazon.ca, Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent along with another book I have been wanting to buy, The Cosmic Hologram: In-formation at the Center of Creation by Jude Currivan.

  11. You are definitely in an intensive course on letting go and being present, Sandra! I went back and read your post on your house. You are so brave and you are modeling for all of us how to handle life's lessons. And yes, you and I are often thinking along the same lines. Thanks for commenting.

  12. I keep your posts in my inbox until I have a chance to read and ponder. Now that I've read this one, I'm realizing that my own efforts to learn and grow have never stopped. I've been retired for more than ten years now, and it's simply another aspect of my life, one that shows little change from my working years. I pursue my own dreams rather than someone else's, that's the real change. 🙂

  13. You are a model for all of us, DJan. Your blog reflects that with every post. I like your description of retirement as simply another aspect of your life. So simple and so profound. Thanks for commenting.

  14. Lovely post and chapter of the Tao te Ching – you say 'If I cover my eyes with my hands, I don’t need to find the light; I just need to remove what blocks my vision of the light that is all around me.' This rings so true! I find it inconceivable that we are supposed to keep intellectually striving on and on to learn more wisdoms to keep on developing ourselves. What if you have gone as far as you feel you need to, and when the books you read begin to overlap with the same truths weaving together into a wondrous whole? And that then your main discovery is that what you were seeking is indeed inside you already? That it just needs to be tapped and enjoyed? And that it is really that simple?

  15. Yes it really is that simple! When I asked one of my teachers if it has to be so complicated, he said "no." Can we talk about it some more, I asked. No, he said. The answer is still the same. So now, whenever I hear myself saying or thinking that something is complicated, I remember his answer.

    Your comment also reminded me of something Pema Chodron said — that self improvement is a form of violence. Hmm… Something to think about.

    Thanks for commenting, Lynne.

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