What gets you all worked up? What stirs me up, raises my anxiety, makes me angry and irritates changes from time to time. What doesn’t seem to change is the condition I am in when that happens. It’s a condition that is difficult to describe, but I know how it feels to be there. Something has caught my attention, and I have allowed it to pull me away from my own center, and then: I refuse to let go of it. The more I cling, the farther from my own center I am drawn. The farther I am drawn from my center, the more “worked up” I become and the more likely I am to do and say things that are harmful.
In the Tao Te Ching, the master says:
Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.*
Contemplate their return. The master goes on to describe this “return” as a returning of all things to their Source. The master says that when a thing, or a person returns to Source that this is serenity.
How do you experience Source? How do you return to Source? It might be with a simple, deep, intentional breath, with prayer or meditation, with a walk in nature.
Another Taoist teaching is that each of us, because we come from and return to the same Source, contribute to what the world is experiencing in every experience we have–or create for ourselves. Today, given what is going on in our world, is a good day to practice returning to Source, finding serenity, and contributing that to our world.
*The Tao Te Ching, chapter 16, tr. Stephen Mitchel