Today's Draw: Queen of Swords from Art of Life Tarot. How powerful do you feel in your world? What will make you happy that you don't already have? Are you ready to find your Tao?
This week's topic is the ego. Yesterday I told you what the ego is—essentially looking outside yourself for motivation and self-value. But one thing I didn't say (which a wise woman reminded me of today) is that the goal of the spiritual seeker isn't to eradicate ego entirely. We are human and ego is a necessary part of the human experience.
However, when we identify ourselves by external means—when our jobs, possessions, reputation, etc. become our source of power—we separate ourselves from our greatest source of power. And that's what today's card is all about. The card contains a quote from Lao Tzu that says:
"Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."
Taking this at face value, if you can be happy with what you have and the way things are, it naturally follows that nothing is lacking and you have everything you need. But that's taking it at face value. There's something much deeper in this quote because it comes from Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism.
You've probably heard of the Tao before (pronounced "Dow"). The Tao is a hard word to pin down. It literally means "the path" or "the way". But it also refers to the source and creator behind all that exists. For Taoists, that source comes more from an interconnectedness than a physical God. I think of it as akin more to the idea of the "the universe" than a Judeo/Christian image of God. One of the first things Lao Tzu tells us about the Tao is that "the Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao". So ultimately, it cannot be defined in words or understood with logic. It is better felt and sensed.
The ego and the Tao are at odds. The Tao is all about entwining yourself with all creation in such a way that you are as if the same organism as creation. In the Tao, the source of power is within you. In fact it's everywhere, but the recognition of it within you is what creates the difference between ego and inner Tao. Because with the ego, the source of power is external. It's in what others see and think of you. Go too far in that direction and you lose sight of the Tao...the path to our higher being.
So, "be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are" is essentially saying that the way things are is a gift god co-created just for you, with you. Because all of life is a co-creation between you and your god, you not separate from anything you need. Because your god is everywhere and you are entwined with it, the world belongs to you. You are not separate from anything you desire, because you are not separate from source of all creation.
The ego mind separates you from god—creation is outside of you for you to seek and claim. And we all know that cycle...the second you get what you want, you want more. The Tao mind reminds you that all of the infinite abundance and recognition you need is already yours. Right this second, it exists in that Tao place where it can be felt and sensed. And if you want to hold it in your hands, then align with the Tao, understand the Tao and it will appear. Once you realize the power of that, you can create situations that fulfill, rather than situations that keep you wanting more.
In the way of the Tao (the principles of which are practiced in countless religions around the world) there is nothing we are separate from...no human condition, no desire, no deity, no acclaim, nothing. When Moses asked God his name, he replied "I am that I am". Take the word "that" and add anything to it. "I am that tree. I am." "I am that homeless man. I am." "I am that bird. I am." Practicing this type of meditation/mantra alone can bring you into alignment with the Tao.
If God is everything, then God is you. And if God is you, then you are that bird. You are. There is nothing separate from you. There is nothing to lack. The whole world already belongs to you. Which is WAY better than identifying with anything outside of yourself. When you walk this path, it starts out as a principle or a philosophy. Then it becomes real. And enduring. That is the value of taming the ego.