Fifth Verse of the Tao Te Ching:
Heaven and earth are impartial;
they see the 10,000 things as straw dogs.
The sage is not sentimental;
he treats all his people as straw dogs.
The sage is like heaven and earth:
To him none are especially dear,
nor is there anyone he disfavors.
He gives and gives, without condition,
offering his treasures to everyone.
Between heaven and earth
is a space like a bellows;
empty and inexhaustible,
the more it is used, the more it produces.
Hold on to the center.
Man was made to sit quietly and find
the truth within.
The stuff of the material world is an illusion, although a persistent one. The material world we experience each day is a construct of Spirit, like a dream, built to operate as a learning environment.
The physical bodies we walk around in each day are constructs as well – part of the dream.
When everything material is observed at its most fundamental level, it is mostly empty space. The atoms that make up our bodies and the rest of physical matter are just energy in motion, vibrating at certain frequencies. The interesting question to me is, what’s the energy?
I think of the energy as Source energy generating a field from which all things emerge (and are a part of). Others call it Universal Consciousness, the Unified Field, the Tao, or simply God.
We are Divine Beings having a human experience. As part of that experience, we agree to temporarily forget our Divine nature and choose to exist in what seems like a real, material world. We do this to experience new ways of experiencing, for God, as God.
Along the way, our awareness that we are in fact Divine Beings begins to grow, usually quite gradually, but sometimes in great leaps forward in what we sometimes describe as epiphanies or awakenings.
The Source Field (the Tao) is impartial to the details of the material stuff. There is no universal hidden meaning to each experience we have. It is us who gives the experiences meaning, typically by judging a situation as either good or bad. After which, we “automatically” feel the appropriate emotion corresponding to how we’ve judged the situation.
For instance, you might have a spouse who has had an affair and you’ve concluded that this is a “bad” thing to happen to you, and you now experience upset as a result. What if it’s not automatic? What if there’s an intervening choice you make that actually leads to the upset?
The things that happen to us are neutral. We decide to suffer from them, but we always have a choice, even if it might not seem that way. It’s the judgments that we place upon ourselves, others, and our situations that result in the suffering.
The wise person does not judge people as good or bad, right or wrong, or better or worse than anyone else. The wise person loves his or her spouse unconditionally and no more or less than he loves the homeless man on the street.
I realize this might sound ridiculous to you, but if you realize that everything and everyone that you see is really You, which is really God, why would you make any part of It better or worse than any other part?
By doing so, you have to assume that there is separation between you and others and between you and God, and that’s simply not true.
Anytime you find yourself believing that you are either better than or worse than anyone else, it’s just your ego buying into the irrational belief (lie) that we are all separate from each other and separate from God.
The challenge then becomes to let go of the judgments so we can start seeing that there’s only one of us here.
Your spouse, no matter what your story is, no matter how horribly he or she has treated you, is a Divine Being and ultimately is just you (God), even if they have temporarily forgotten that.
Spirit is always working to support us in our learning while we are here attending Earth School. Spirit knows the lessons on which we are working and arranges just the right experiences for us to hopefully act as catalyst for our growth and learning.
If we are trying to learn about unconditional love, perhaps we are given a situation where we marry someone who treats us very poorly when we don’t behave in the ways they want. We then might begin to associate affection with reward for proper behavior. We also might begin to associate punishment with the withholding of affection and somewhere along the line; we begin equating affection with love. This is meant to create the ideal conditions from which we can rediscover that real love is completely unconditional and has nothing to do with our behavior.
Or, if it’s a lesson of yours to learn self-reliance, you might find yourself in a divorce situation where your spouse is not providing you with adequate support to make ends meet. This might motivate you to explore your own inner calling and develop your creative self-expression in order help support yourself. In the alternative, you might choose to blame your spouse, get upset, add to your story of victimization, and become obsessed with trying to get more money from them, taking them back to court regularly and fighting with them at every opportunity.
If the latter is what you have chosen, don’t worry, it’s not wrong, but if you’d like to reduce the amount of suffering you experience, you might want to choose to see the situation as a learning opportunity and turn within for some guidance.
Each of us has all the answers to every perceived problem that we will ever experience. Every problem comes prepackaged with its ready-made solution.
Our job is to transcend the way of thinking that brought about the problem in the first place and in doing so, the solution becomes self evident.
How do you transcend the old way of thinking you might ask? I find a regular, daily practice of mediation to be a very helpful way to elevate my state of being so that I can better see what solutions are present. I think of meditation as my practice of getting my mind off of the 10,000 things and connecting with the still, small voice within that has that higher perspective I need. A walk on the beach is nice too.
Love & Light Ahead!
Michael C. Cotugno, Esq.
Conscious Divorce Attorney & Coach
M.A. in Spiritual Psychology