Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Deploying Polar Opposites

“Knowing what cannot be known--What a lofty aim! Not knowing what needs to be known--what a terrible result! Only when your sickness becomes sick, will your sickness disappear. The Sage's illness has become ill, his renunciation has been renounced. Now he is free and every place in this world is the perfect place to be”……….. This is the 71st verse of Tao Te Ching of Lao Tsu.

These few lines give us a mode of a living that is spiritually driven.
The lofty aim of life is to know what is unknown. The very act of seeking the unknowable is the beginning of wisdom. This needs a redefinition of ‘the unknowable’ because if an entity is unknowable, how can one ever attempt or succeed in knowing. The ‘unknowable’ is that which can not be known through a current level of perception. The path of knowing leading to the knowledge of the unknown has a dual dynamics, one is the forward push of the seeker and the second is the regress or descending of the ‘unknowable’ towards the seeker so that it comes into his ambit of comprehension. This is the reason that in the Proverbs of Solomon it says: “In the discerning heart, wisdom finds a resting place”…..Proverbs 14:33.

Being satisfied with what we know at the surface level and by “not knowing what needs to be known” leads one to a terrible result of poverty of the spirit.

Lao Tsu now explains how the polar opposites are to be employed for eradicating all negative aspects of one life. The sickness becoming sick or the illness becoming ill and the renunciation being renounced are all attributes that can only be altered by redeploying the same attribute. {The double negation which is employed tracks the mathematical postulate that multiplying two negative integers give us a positive integer (-1 X -1 = 1)}.

True freedom results from loss of identity. As I had explained in an earlier blog post, the word ‘identification’ comes from the Latin root ‘idem + facio’ which means ‘same + make’. The attachment of perceived reality to be your own through identification is the root cause of lack of true knowledge. The progress of knowing stops with this step of identification and appropriation. Once this block is removed then it is possible to progress towards higher ‘unknowables’.

As St. Augustine says in his “Confessions”:
“Too late have I loved you, O Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late have I loved you. And behold, you were within, and I abroad, and there I searched for you. I was deformed, plunging amid those fair forms, which you have made. You were with me, but I was not with you. Things held me far from you – things which, if they were not you, were not at all. You called and shouted, and burst my deafness. You flashed and shone, and scattered my blindness. You breathed odours, and I drew in breath – and I pant for you. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”

Once this malady of attachment, which is equated to sickness by Lao Tsu, is erased or even moving from renouncing external materiality to a real inner renunciation of all sense oriented perceptions as stated by St. Augustine, takes place, then only you find the highest knowledge within your own heart that truly liberates.

Love to you all

No comments :

Post a Comment