ToV 3 – embrace bewilderment

The Master leads
by emptying people’s minds,
and filling their cores,

He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.

This whole chapter is really juicy and lays out emptiness, not-doing, and being in accord with the Tao really well. I’ve just pulled a couple of the lines that most captivate me.

The idea of creating confusion in those who think that they know immediately calls to mind the closing line of advice from a Rumi poem (sorry, no direct quote as I’m far from my beloved book collection right now) the line ends in: “give up your cleverness and embrace bewilderment.”

That’s really what it’s all about. Taking power away from your thinking mind – full of attachment and senseless desire, letting go and letting it flow, embracing mystery and bewilderment, and making friends with not-knowing.

[I can practically hear the squeal of disagreement from my highly cerebral, intellectual friends at the idea of pursing NOT-knowing; but seriously my friends, if you give up trying to know everything, you’ll come to know much much more! …anybody doing a contradiction count on this project? It’d be great to see some graphs when we’re done!]

2 thoughts on “ToV 3 – embrace bewilderment

  1. If you do a contradiction graph you’ll be doing one for every entry you make and then there would be sub-graphs to record the contradictions within each entry. oooooo boy that’s a lot of contradictions, but that’s what makes life interesting.


  2. It is interesting because the start of the poem-chapter suggests that, we can trust the Master (or teachings) because of this emptying and loss of knowing. Unlike hero worship or possession worship.

    Emptying and not knowing can be taken too far, if you’ve ever left a cult or used it to get through a loss. We need to quit bad habits, but we also need direction to be functional humans in our society. As opposed to enlightened humans. I am better at deconstructing than at creating. Is that unusual?

    Like the Buddhist lack of desire, it’s hard in the real world because although it prevents the suffering of desire, it is a loss of direction. If we are entirely immersed in the present moment, then it is tiring to be constantly making each decision anew, rather than aiming for a future goal or following a path.

    Maybe the question is, what’s better than the easy path? Is staying empty a better goal than hero-worship or possession worship? I think so. But I disagree that emptiness is the best of all goals, since I have considerable choice and agency in my life, and probably a lifespan of years or decades. I want to be human. Emptiness may be the best place to follow a new dream from, but it is not the fastest place to find a dream from, to yearn from.


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