Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Tao: Beyond Preconceptions and Thought Structures

"In order to recognize the reality of (the) experience of Greater Being, " writes modern mystic philosopher, Karlfried Graf Von Durckheim, "we need nothing more that the 'sacred sobriety' of common sense. This, in fact, is that transcendental realism which is neither clouded nor inhibited by preconceived concepts and rational thought structures."

Steeped in Eastern spiritual traditions, yet grounded in his own Christian faith, Durckheim (a one-time consular diplomat in Japan) was well aware that preconceptions and strictly rational thought structures more often than not obscure the 'realities' they try to illuminate.

In the Tao Te Ching, we read:
When the superior man hears the Way.
      he is scarcely able to put it into practice.
When the middling man hears the Way,
      he appears now to preserve it, now to lose it.
When the inferior man hears the Way,
      he laughs at it loudly.
If he did not laugh,
      it would not be fit to be the Way.

For this reason,
There is a set of epigrmas that says:
      "The bright Way seems dim.
      The forward Way seems backward.
      The level Way seems bumpy.
      Superior integrity seems like a valley.
      The greatest whiteness seems grimy.
      Ample integrity seems insufficient.
      Robust integrity seems apathetic.
      Plain truth seems sullied.

      The great square has no corners.
      The great vessel is never completed.
      The great note sounds muted.
      The great image has no form.

      The Way is concealed and has no name."
 This "sense of reality" that is uninhibited by preconceptions and rational thought structures "permits the unique, unclassifiable quality of the experience to be as it is," notes Durckheim. "(It) accepts and savours it, and because of its very incomprehensibility, is intuitively convinced of its truth."

"We need practice in order to acquire the possibility of recognizing the quality of this reality," Durckheim points out. "By remaining alert and constantly prepared, we can learn to hear and feel the call of Divine Being in everything that happens to us. For this," he observes, "we need to work diligently in order to become vessels capable of receiving all that is poured into them."

[Karlfreid Graf Von Durckheim, "The Way of Transformation," p. 31.]

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