Why Tao?

I had a good Catholic upbringing.

There is no sarcasm in the good part, I am very satisfied with the way I was brought up.

I attended the most liberal Catholic high school in the Universe: We had a comparative religion class. The students went on strike so they wouldn’t have to wear uniforms and the facility listened because it was a good exercise in social studies. A roleplaying club was allowed. We had speakers forums that at one point featured  Sin Fien and the Ulster Unionist Party (No, they didn’t show up at the same time). Our history teacher read from such works as the Egyptian Books of the Dead.

For the unaware we were also taught good science and even (gasp) evolution. In fact we viewed much of the Bible as metaphor. However, the existence of Christ and his miracles were taught as fact. We also had daily prayer, spiritual assemblies and even religious retreats.

Given this I thought I had a pretty wide world view, in University I discovered I was WRONG.

It was here I met my very first atheists. I was shocked. I had never met anyone, ANYONE who doubted the existance of God. Sure I knew some who simply knew God under another name but the very concept of a godless cosmos scared me to death. I also met my first Evangelical Christians. I had never met anyone, ANYONE who took every single word of the Bible as the literal truth. This scared me as well.

My classes also joyfully ripped open my world view: I learned about Zorasterism, the Greek classics, Berkly, Blake, ratoionalism, romantasisim and so on and so on. My ego curled into a little ball and cried.

Then I found Taoism.

It was not a screaming philosophy. It was philosophy that stat beside my exhausted spirit and said ‘Hey kid, take a drink.’ I devoured the Tao Te Ching in one night.

What I liked about it:

  • The idea that anyone, ANYONE who brags they know all about Taoism knows nothing at all. Here was a belief that encouraged silence, contemplation and did not punish mistakes.  Being a fool was perfectly fine. In fact it was better than being a blabbermouth who believes he isn’t a fool.
  • The idea that the world is good. This can be illustrated by the painting of the Vinegar Tasters. Confucius, Buddha and Lao Tzu are tasting the vinegar of life. Confucius has a sour look on his face, Buddha has a bitter look on his face, Lao Tzu (the founder of Taoism) has a pleasant smile. This affirmed a secret inkling of mine; the World is awesome, God does not make crap (well he does make crap but it’s okay cause the crap’s supposed to be there).
  • Oneness with God is inside the soul and there’s no need for fancy words, esoteric practices or world travel. It does take effort. A little effort but constant. Sort of like walking down a beech and leaving your footprints in the sand.

Taoism gave me the grounding I needed and I was able to get into the ‘real world’ with my spirituality intact. In fact to this day Lao Tzu’s teachings still color how I think and act (to a degree, I’m not a very good Taoist). Does that mean I’ve given up my Catholic Faith? Well I don’t go to Church but I still pray to God in the way I used too. I still hold Christmas and Easter as holy. I still believe my father (both spiritual and natural)  is in Heaven.  I just take everything else in a yin yang perspective.

I ‘m richer for it.

2 Responses to “Why Tao?”

  1. Most religions have a oneness that is universal. There is a higher power whether in heaven or in yourself. God, Buddha, or anyone or spiritual entity is found in what we do with it, in our actions. Don’t you think?

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