When I stared at the blank drawing paper on this particular day, I suddenly felt these waves of water washing across the page. Over the next half hour, this drawing is what emerged–a sort of semi-abstract, semi-symbolic portrayal of waves. It felt right to me. I sat there and looked at it, and asked: what message do you hold for me? Then, something happened that has happened once before. The next thought that came to me was “Tao Te Ching.”
Across the room, near my meditation cushion, I had a copy of the Tao Te Ching, the ancient verse writings that make up the core of the Chinese religious and philosophical system known as Taoism. It is also the philosophical basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I picked up the book and opened it to the book marker marking the next chapter for me to read (which happened to be chapter 8). These are the words that I found and which I wrote underneath the drawing:
The Sage’s way, Tao, is the way of water . . . The Sage needs to know, like water, how to flow around the blocks and how to find the way through without violence.
For me, there was wave after wave of delight, first in the drawing itself which I simply enjoyed doing without a thought or a plan. Second, the synchronicity of what I drew and what I was led to find in the Tao Te Ching was the kind of unexpected delight that takes my breath away. And third, the message from the Tao Te Ching itself–that the wise person needs to learn to be like water–flowing around obstacles and finding a way without violence. Given the times we live in, and given the covenant that we as a community hold with one another, I could not imagine a more important and powerful message.