text and photo © Jonathan Zap
Often it is safer and in a variety of ways advantageous to be cloaked and to evade unnecessary attention. Deng Ming-Dao, a modern Taoist sage points out,
“Useful trees are cut down. Useless ones survive. The same is true of people. The strong are conscripted. The beautiful are exploited. Those who are too plain to be noticed are the ones who survive. They are left alone and safe.
But what if we ourselves are among such plain persons? Though others may neglect us, we should not think of ourselves as being without value. We must not accept the judgment of others as the measure of our own self-worth… Thus, to be considered useless is not a reason for despair, but an opportunity. It is the chance to live without interference and to express one’s own individuality.”
Relates to I Ching Hexagram #36, Eclipse
Darkness reigns in the external world now,
Disengage from negative feelings and
maintain your inner light.
This is a time when darkness and inferior energies surround you. ..The only light left is that inside your own heart, and you are counseled to return to it, maintain it, and quietly nourish yourself with it.
It is in dark moments that a correct attitude is most important. If we fight against the darkness, we are swallowed by it and suffer great misfortune. If we react to the lack of visible progress with despair and negativity, we extinguish our own inner light and block the aid of the Creative. If we try to persuade others that they must return to the light, we exhaust ourselves in vain now.
In a time such as this, it is wise to adopt a stance of outer disengagement and inner perseverance. Do not focus on or interact with the negative influences around you; this only strengthens their grip on you. Step aside, yield, let go, allow people and events to pass without attachment. Direct your attention inside, to your inner light, your devotion to what is right, your conversation with the Higher Power.
Progress may be slow, but there will indeed be progress. Remember that much of the work of the Higher Power is hidden from us, and that we enable and assist it by remaining detached, accepting, and reserved in the face of negative influences.
Again, the above was from Brian Brown Walker’s superb, concise I Ching.
For more quotes from Deng Ming-Dao see The Taoist Path