Lessons and love from the ‘Tao’

There are many things about this world that I don’t quite understand. Often times I wonder if my lack of knowledge is simply the result of over thinking situations.

Take love for instance. Who can righteously proclaim with pride, ‘I understand the art of love?’ I will be the first to admit it is not me, and it is not for lack of trying.

I would like to say I have loved and been loved.

The fact that I am sitting in my house alone, where I live with just my son, may speak louder than my last statement, but again, not for lack of trying.

I bear the scars of love’s labor, literally. As I age, and watch my son grow, I feel the urge to revert to that innocence he wears so easily; I can remember when my biggest gripe was my bedtime, 9:00 p.m. seeming truly unfair.

These days the griping is the central figure in my life, the innocence has become a memory. How can I get a taste of that back?

If I am thinking too much on the situation then maybe I should go back to basics. Maybe a children’s book could give me the insight to my answer. “Childcraft – The How and Why Library” attempted to enlighten me.

The index of volume 14, “About Me,” indicated two pages on the topic of love, with pictures. The pictures were of holding hands and kids hugging, the norm. I should have guessed it. Parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers, the standard givers of love were mentioned in a six-stanza poem.

The love we receive as children is a given, we do not coddle it or worry about it straying. It is there in its truest and rarest form, keeping it seems effortless.

But in this, just when I thought I was being foolish, I realized I had found my answer: love is a given. If you are in a relationship that requires more than it is wiling to give, get out. The easiest relationship I ever had was the one I worried the least about, it just happened and I could not explain why.

Like all good theories, I wanted to back it up with proof. I looked to the Tao Te Ching for assistance. It took me a while but I finally found what I was looking for, at least it felt right:

“The best athlete wants his opponent at his best. The best general enters the mind of his enemy. The best businessman serves the communal good. The best leader follows the will of the people. All of them embody the virtue of non-competition. Not that they don’t love to compete, but they do it in the spirit of play. In this they are like children and in harmony with the Tao.”

Love is boundless, unexplainable, and easy, but only if it is right. You cannot force love; you can fake it, but not for long. The innocence of love is best left tending to itself.

If you’re asking yourself why this matters, the Tao Te Ching has an answer for that too, “The more you know the less you understand.”

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