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Elizabeth Reninger

Lions & Tigers & Bears, oh my!

By March 8, 2012

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"Just to merely have 'the Understanding' (as some have made a fetish out of it) that 'only the Self is Real,' or that 'Consciousness is all there is' and think that there is nothing more to spirituality than this conceptual understanding and a corresponding 'blanked-out' zombie demeanor is simply not sufficient for authentic awakening from the selfish 'me-dream'."

~ Timothy Conway

Seems to me that, generally speaking, Taoist practitioners are less inclined than other stripes of nondual folks to fall into this kind of trap -- since the continuous interpenetration of Tao with the ten-thousand-things (the formless with its phenomenal expressions) is such a salient feature of pretty much all of the Taoist arts: qigong, martial arts, Chinese Medicine, calligraphy, poetry. An ease-full delight in the full spectrum of phenomenal expression tends, then, to be a prominent aspect of Taoist sensibility.

So it's unusual to hear statements like "only Tao is real" or "Tao is all there is" -- in a way that would imply any kind of devaluing of appearances. Holding the One is, simultaneously, an embrace of the ten-thousand-things.

Fascination with -- to the point of attachment to -- some of the subtle, "energetic" realms, is perhaps a more common trap for Taoist practitioners; would you agree?

Anyway, I encourage you to check out Mr. Conway's nondual spirituality page -- for some very nuanced and (to my ears) spot-on "speaking of the unspeakable." Also useful -- in pointing to the distinction between, on the one hand, always and already being Pure Awareness/Tao/Buddha Nature (and perhaps having a conceptual understanding that this is the case); and, on the other hand, consciously recognizing and so being truly awake to this Reality -- is this short video with Mingyur Rinpoche.

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