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Blunt the Sharpness

foggy landscape

With so much media attention focused on what is wrong in the world, it is easy to get drawn into the idea that life is worse today than it has ever been. Throughout the centuries, all periods have faced unique challenges.

Sure, there are initiatives we can adopt to live in harmony with nature, and if we disapprove of leadership, we can also change that at the polls.

Changes in technology mean that the media model today is focused on clicks. The more people flock to the sensationalism, the more money they make. But is the world really a place where we should live in fear? Each day, we make the choice of where to focus our attention.

"Blunt the sharpness, soften the glare."

Blunt the sharpness is an idea that comes from the Tao te Ching. It can be viewed as softening the need to come to immediate judgment. By softening the glare, we can temper our responses with a deeper understanding of what unfolds.

Suffering in the world is not new, and Buddhism developed almost three millennia ago as a way of overcoming how life can overwhelm us with negativity.

While Buddhism teaches that suffering is an inevitable part of the human condition, Taoism provides an outlook to understand how conflict is just an element of change. If we take a series of snapshots over time, events look more circular and reveal a pattern of meaning.

"The high, it brings down, the low it lifts up."

What appears as conflict in human events is how disunity drives change. We observe natural disasters as how nature regulates temperatures, and drives balance across the earth.

A forest can appear frightening in the shadows of night, but the same forest can appear enchanting during the day. The forest hasn’t changed. Only our perception of it has changed. Being afraid of the dark comes from being uncomfortable with what we cannot see.

When we trust that the natural way of things moves to balance out extremes, we can soften the glare of judgment. Opening to this awareness allows us to “untangle the knots” of anxiety.

We “settle like dust” when we come back to earth, relax into an unjaded outlook and follow where events may lead us.

Our wheels “move only along old ruts” as we return to our foundational way of learning to hover at the threshold of perception – not embroiling, and not attempting to classify good from bad.

No matter what unfolds, life purposely carves away anything that blocks the manifestation of each entity’s unique design. Evolutionary changes show how limitations are the breeding ground for nature’s strengths.

We are often following the ways of others rather than expressing our own individuality. Other people’s beliefs and opinions are valid, just as our ideas are true for us.

“Dragging the adversary when there is no adversary, will cost you your inner treasure.” The treasure we hold to is our sense of wonder, faith in the way and the ability to cultivate the joy of living.

“Dimly visible, it only seems as if it is there.”

Tao is like the wind that ushers in change, but is only detectable in the swaying branches. When the leaves fall, nothing bad has happened. Piecing together the snapshots of each season, we see why this is so.

Whatever is orchestrating change on the planet, patience allows us to watch it unfold. While we acknowledge what is important to others, their way does not have to be our way. Our way does not have to be their way. Soften the glare and exercise compassion.

Life continuously brings opposites together because without polarity, it would become a place of stagnation. From atoms, to extreme weather patterns, it achieves balance by finding the middle way between extremes.

“It takes from what is in excess, in order to make good of what is deficient.”

Crisis will always present a cauldron for innovation. The magnitude of the crisis determines how quickly we will adopt change – and change is life’s only constant.

We don’t need to know where we are headed because this moment is just so, and it has meaning. When we blunt the sharpness and soften the glare, we can observe the Great Mystery as it unfolds.

“I know not its name. It existed before the ten thousand things.
I call it Tao.”