“If the mat was not straight, the Master would not sit.” -K’ung Fu-tse, Confucius
“The main principles of Taoism were recognized long before they were coalesced into a religion mainly in response to the growing popularity of Buddhism and Confucianism. It was a case of ‘Hey! We have gods and goddesses too!’” -SifuPhil (http://www.faithology.com/community/topic/154-philosophical-vs-religious-taoism/ )
Yoga and meditation came to me in high school. So did Zen and motorcycles. All through a tough short philosophy teacher named Miss Yoshida. As a teacher, I claim her as legacy. Equal to my mother’s Catholicism or my Aunt’s native Lakota. She affected me. I cried at graduation, knowing I had to leave the nest.
It’s been said that to use a cultural tradition we should have a real live link, or invitation. This would be something like a friend from that culture who is teaching us, a formal teacher, someone who makes that available. Miss Yoshida was that to me, and as a teacher, a holder of much respect.
I’m going to step from that lotus flower to the next one over, or the next. Because things aren’t right in the world. This colonial takeover that spread out in the past 500 years appears like an outbreak. We want to put something back, bring something back, and reclaim those beautiful cultures and gods that were around before.
Confucius believed something very witchy. He beleived that we were out of harmony with heaven. He pointed to the ancestors, ancient rituals and ceremonies, in order to maintain a balance. But he also believed in a rigid hierarchy, that things should be enforced. I look to him when I try to understand the justice of decolonizing. There needs to be a good order of how cultures are reverenced and allowed to continue, yes. But this is a put upon balance. I accept the sanctity of culture like I accept the sanctity of religions, they were built in awe. I will leave them that way.
At the same time, I am not interested in rules. No I’m interested in happiness, and love. I think that the world, with us in it, is a reflection of what one would call heaven, that is “as above so below”, so I don’t see a need for rules from people, but only from this heaven we already exist in. Animals, plants, the elements point me to their own ways. When I don’t force, but flow with the universe around me, that’s when I find my way.
I’ve thought a lot about this. I want to reach through happiness and love (The Tao) to the rules of heaven (Confucius) in order to help govern the decolonization we are establishing. I want to do this, but the first principle, the one without words -balance- comes before the second -order.
So, for me, finding links, connections and invitations to other cultures are important. Doing it freely, and happily, without a hard tie to privileged accessibility more so. I’ll give respect to keep balance, I’ll have respect when the balance flows with a recognizable harmony.
So that people can blossom in their own cultural and spiritual containers, I’ll help preserve them. That natural order of being ones own authority, of owning ones self, goes both ways.