This week we continue our reflections on principle #12, “The Principle of Accumulating Actions” which says: “If you repeat your acts of internal unity then nothing can detain you.”
I was thinking about that principle when I received an email. The email questioned the wisdom of countries allowing in a flood of refugees which might harbour some individuals bearing ill will, and even some willing to use violence against random strangers to advance their cause.
With both of those things going around in my head I found myself reflecting on the big problems in the world (and sometimes in my life) and how my small actions — even if they were positive or felt unitive— weren’t even close to being on the same scale as the these destructive events all around.
But I kept coming back to the idea that, while a drop of water has no impact on a block of granite, over time many such drops wear away at even the strongest rock. In this way the relentless drips of water produce what is at first the slightest of grooves but which eventually might become a great canyon.
As that famous verse has it:
Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people
is fit to rule them.
He who takes upon himself the country’s disasters deserves
to be king of the universe.
The truth often seems paradoxical.
Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 78
It seems that just as there are different kinds of action there are different kinds of accumulation, or different ways to accumulate.
Anyway if you haven’t seen it this is the conclusion of my response to the email I mentioned earlier:
The question remains than what’s to be done. On a political level I’ve got no clue. However personally, I think the first step in the war against terrorism is to end the violence and discrimination in myself, and to work for peace in my world, i.e the world of my friends, family, co-workers, etc. That includes speaking up against intolerance, and hate but mostly means dealing with my own fears and seeing how they distort my vision, ideas and behaviour. I believe it’s necessary to cultivate peace in ourselves and the world around us just as it is necessary to find the vital force to embrace life, and the joy that comes with an open future. From my perspective that is not an alternative or the result of not finding a political answer, rather it is the only real way forward.
I hope you find these comments of interest. This brief note has also been posted to the email list and Facebook page for The Community of Silo’s Message, Toronto Annex.
We’d all love to hear your comments on, and thoughts about, considerations of, or artwork inspired by, any of this.