Not Belief, but Relief
I do not know where I read “no belief, but relief”. It sure is not mine words originally, but they express what I feel to such a degree that they could have been mine. I identify myself with the words, and what they express in my interpretation of what Tao means to us. And if I feel I touch Tao in a special way, it is in the nature. Whenever I can, I go for a walk in the forest, in the mountains, or on the seashores. I experience that stress and discomfort vanish with the whispering wind among the tress, the birds singing, or, as today, the sounds from a moose up on the hill. As one translation of the Tao Te Ching expresses:
Nature is like a bellows
Empty, yet supplying all needs,
The more it moves, the more it yields;
The sage draws upon Tao in the same way
And can not be exhausted.
This morning I woke up to snow outside. Not so much that I had trouble getting out, but enough to experience a special kind of stillness in the forest. I hardly could hear my own steps.
Sitting by the fire, I got the opportunity to contemplate about nature, and my part in it. When we sit like this, with a cup of coffee, we are able to practically sense the oneness, the connections between ourself and the nature around us. But what I most thought of, was this:
We have had som storms in Norway the last days, and this was one of the results. A big pine tree had lost for the wind, and now crossed the road. It was once tall and strong, but also stiff. And because it was stiff, it had to rely on its own strenght. That was not enough to fight back when the storm attacked. Let’s listen to Lao Tzu, as expressed in Chapter 76 of Tao Te Ching:
The living are soft and yielding;
the dead are rigid and stiff.
Living plants are flexible and tender;
the dead are brittle and dry.
Those who are stiff and rigid
are the disciples of death.
Those who are soft and yielding
are the disciples of life.
The rigid and stiff will be broken.
The soft and yielding will overcome.
The flexible shall overcome the stiff and strong. The one winning a boxing match, is not the one who hits hardest, but the one capable of avoiding being hit. And the tree on my way was a perfect reminder of this principle for a wise living.