Taoism is the ability to grasp the changes of the world and blend in with “non action”, which is essential for some quality of relaxation.
Growth, change and decline of phenomena and things, the natural cycles and the principles of creation / destruction, are a reflection of the movement of Tao.
This movement Fan, is a “reversion”, a “return”.
All that is necessary to know about the movements of the Tao is in Chapter 40.
All Taoist internal alchemy speaks of return, Fu by the movement of return on oneself, Fan.
This return to spontaneous and natural, which existed prior to the commitment to self-image, is the practice.
Reversion is the movement of the Tao
Weakness is the expression of the Tao
All things under heaven come from the manifest,
The manifest comes from the non manifested.
“Fan”, reversion, movement of return, regression, is similar in this context that we see in chapter 25:
Grand in the movement (da yue shi)
Thus moving to the origin (yue shi yuan)
Ancient therefore at the origin(yuan yue fan)
We must see here a circular motion without end, whose origin and end are the same.
It is the absence of progression, addition. This is a search for simplicity, a willingness to do more than just learning. This return to the natural: which is already present, but which seeks to resurface.
The movement is a movement returning, not evolution, in fact of evolution in return. The addition, to accumulate, cannot move towards simplification. The more we are seeking and more we find to seek. It is a never-ending action that projects into the future, a linear representation. The return is a circular motion.
The weakness is that of bamboo in relation to the oak, the water in relation to fire, a relative weakness that is a source of sustainability.
In chapter 43, it says “What is soft overcomes that which is hard.”
Under the heaven, that which is soft
Dominates and that which is hard (under heaven)
This idea of “soft” is close to “soft”. This softness and weakness are apparent in the arts of combat, unarmed or armed, in human conflict, in life in general.
Here we find the two terms of “Wu” and “Yu” that we have in chapter 1.
Wu is what is not shown, the origin of that is.
Yu is what is shown, which is the domain of the perceptible.
The event takes its source in the absolute non-manifested. The world has its source in the manifestation of the Tao. Yin has its source in the Yang, the action in the mental.
The Taiji symbol, this black and white circle with two points, is the representation of the movement of Tao. Around 500 years before J.C, Zou Yan forms the figure that we know well … 1500 years after the debut of the Yi Jing.
This representation is only of interest if there is movement, this “return” of one of the absolute to the other, this dynamic interaction that defines the concepts of yin and yang.
This endless spiral itself contains the idea of return. It evolves and changes, but remains identical to itself is a representation of the cycles and changes in the world.
This brief chapter gives us much information on the practice:
- The study is necessary, but not practice
- The basics are the most advanced practices
- Return to what is “known” is a new perpetual
- Attentive to life, everything changes constantly in an identical nature
The movements and functions of the Tao is the source of change and transformation of phenomena in the world. Understanding this, is an awakening observation, permits the changing of the world in a non-active action. This understanding refers to the Yi Jing (Book of Changes), a source of feng shui (geomancy).
This return to the root is a human attempt to get as close as possible to the Tao, without reaching it. It is not possible to achieve since it is in the non manifest and humans are a manifestation of that. As the eye can not see itself, which is created can not understand what has created.
After conception, humans can only taste the De (?), the manifestation of the Tao and its expression in the world. We can see the profound nature of what is not accessible to our understanding, we can see the return and catch glimpse of the manifestations.
This chapter is a sublimation of the details of chapter 25, more concise and precise while becoming more obscure to the non-practicing. A wise man laughed and said: “A non practitioner has no more to be got in the Dao De Jing as a Japanese in a courses of Taijiquan.
In human history, many events have gone to their destruction after their peak. The same natural movement of reversion, creation / destruction dear to Lao Zi. This is the principle of natural cycles of our system.
It is interesting to note that in the Taoist idea of changing phenomena, anyway, all goes back to the source. This return is why we are not looking for a connection with time (past and future), but a union in the present. This is the idea of the journey is the goal not the arrival, but the unwinding of it. The vision of Taoism is circular compared with the linear Western view.
The stillness, calmness, relaxation and the non resistance will lead to live in harmony with changes in the world, to enjoy from everything in the present in his life, to return to the source without conflict. This non-active effort allows us to live in harmony with the Dao, unlike the mind which feeds on time and expectations, projections and questions of doubt and hope.
The weakness of the Tao is an apparent weakness: its the hidden force of water. Nothing is more fluid and in appearance weaker than water. In the techniques of the arts of combat, if the impact is needed, the fluidity of movement is the source of the destruction of the enemy. This “natural” fluidity that works is the power of water.
In addition, water has no form, it adapts to its container, as the air. If water is in a cup, it takes the form of it, if the water is in the ocean, it takes the shape of the Earth. The air is the same. Water and air are the yin and yang of feng shui (Chinese geomancy which means “wind and water”). The Tao that combines the yin and yang.
We see this in the study of the beginning of chapter 78:
Under heaven nothing is more adaptable and flexible than the water
However, it erodes the strongest and most rigid
Nothing surpasses why
The flexible surpasses the tough
The adaptable surpasses the rigid
The image of water is ideal to express this aspect of the Dao. While flexibility is important, the concept of adaptability is really the quality that leads to return, to the simple. In the capacity of relaxation that is necessary to adapt, this is already the beginning of return.
This is the “De” (manifestation of Dao), which is practiced and that points to the Dao, which we cannot understand.
All this is interesting and asks something difficult, but essential: the practice.
Everyone believes it is better to be relaxed, flexible and adaptable, but it is rare to see people who practice in this direction, who adjust their lives in this direction.
Lao Zi already demonstrated in his time … and it remains valid.
In the remainder of chapter 78:
Under the sky, everyone can understand this
Yet no-one practices
Chapter 78 ends with a phrase that incorporates a theme of Lao Zi:
Expressed the truth may appear paradoxical
We should not always believe what is expressed and not necessarily doubt it. We should not talk too much and not studying too much, but we must acquire knowledge. What is seen may be wrong, knowing that we must be attentive to its meaning … this is not paradoxical.
All that is said is consistent if it does not refer to an intellectual, but an understanding through direct experience, by the practice
This Taoist capacity, which aims to merge with changes in the world to bring the natural qualities, is dormant in each human being. It is not the question of winning anything!