Day one of my journey into internal alchemy.
Dear human friend.
Lately, a wonderful book found me, “Cultivating Stillness” by Eva Wong.
Eva Wong is practitioner of Taoist arts. And she beautifully translates ancient Taoist writings into the English language. She has the gift to let her stories speak. And concerning myself, they even are absolutely inspiring.
This is the reason, why I decided — that very moment I came across the book — to go on a journey into discovering, exploring, learning and cultivating stillness.
The Tao — Nothingness.
Before I started with the first chapter, I tried to answer the important question: what is the Tao?.
Lao Tzu explains, that “One who knows does not speak; one who speaks does not know”, because the Tao “that can be spoken of is not the constant”.
How then, can there possibly be writings about the Tao that we actually are not able to talk about? Even the book “Cultivating Stillness” is speaking about the Tao from the beginning up to the end.
We have no other choice, but giving things names, otherwise we might not be able to discover new ways. But all so often, when we have found a word for something, we mistakenly believe, we have also discovered the truth and found the the reality to which it refers to. There are translations of the word Tao into the English language, but I will not use any of them, because the less we picture what we hear, the less we believe to know about it. And “knowing about” is not the same thing as “knowing”.
If I would answer the question: what is the Tao? for myself, I would say: Tao is nothingness, is emptiness, is nature, is life.
Having said this, I would believe that a Taoist way of life would be planet saving.
Taoism — saving our planet.
The world is in imbalance. Our planet is in a bad condition, the climate is changing, biodiversity is dwindling, the atmosphere is getting warmer and the consistency of the oceans is changing, making them sour. We humans believe to being able to dominate nature, which might be a great delusion. As I like to say: I am you and you are me and we are the world. We are nature. And if nature is Tao and Tao is emptiness, we are empty, are nothing, are Tao.
The greatness of Taoism, to me, is the call to reconcile with nature, to reconnect to the natural flow of thing, to live in companionship with things, to serve and save the planet, our mother earth, Gaia, on which we depend.
“Cultivating Stillness” is known as key text in Taoism, for the achievement of the so-called internal alchemy. Internal alchemy can be described as serenity, well-being, longevity and the transformation into a peaceful body and mind. The Taoist canon, as it is referred to, was written by Lao-tzu sometime between the second and fifth centuries.
What I did, was taking the translation of the Taoist canon and retranslating it for myself. Thank you, Eva Wong, for this great inspiration. Enjoy, dear human friend, the way I understand the Taoist canon. And if you like, join me on that journey into internal alchemy.
Day by day, step by step, we can learn something new. I do not know, where this journey will lead to, where it brings me, you and us. And I do not know, if Lao-tzu’s intention was, that someday people from the 21st century would take his writings and use them for finding a way to explain the imbalance of their world or reconnecting with nature again. But for the moment, using ancient stories and transforming them into a new narrative, feels good to me.
I deeply bow to you, in stillness.