“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it”

From the Tao Te Ching

by Lao Tzu, 5th or 6th Century BCE

Zen Cross

If you want to become whole,
let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight,
let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full,
let yourself be empty.
If you want to be reborn,
let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything,
give everything up.

The Master, by residing in the Tao,
sets an example for all beings.
Because he doesn’t display himself,
people can see his light.
Because he has nothing to prove,
people can trust his words.
Because he doesn’t know who he is,
people recognize themselves in him.
Because he has no goal in mind,
everything he does succeeds.

When the ancient Masters said,
“If you want to be given everything,
give everything up,”
they weren’t using empty phrases.
Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly yourself.

Tao Te Ching #22


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  1. #1 by ambrosia on September 30, 2009 - 10:57 pm

    Maybe Doc should give you more to do?

  2. #2 by John Shore on September 30, 2009 - 11:56 pm

    How great to again read these words, which throughout my youth meant so very much to me. Thanks, Christian. This really came at a great time for me. (And it galls me to recall, by the way, that I never thanked you for the excellent, meaty comment you left the other day on my blog. I’m so sorry! Bit of a crunch, lately, time-wise. But … thank you, sincerely. You’re King Comment, for sure.)

    • #3 by Christian Beyer on October 1, 2009 - 11:55 am

      No problem. I’ m used to it (sigh). Anyway, I remember you saying that you explored Zen a bit and how that helped you with your faith in Christ. Likewise.

      I wish people could understand how complimentary Zen and Taoism can be to Christianity. I even know some Buddhists who are devout Christians. Or look at Leonard Cohen – a practicing Jew who is also a Buddhist priest (and a hell of a songwriter!)

  3. #4 by John Shore on October 1, 2009 - 11:59 am

    Oh, yeah. I would actually go so far as to suggest it’s not possible to really understand … well, I guess I wouldn’t go that far. Not in public, anyway.

    But suffice it to say that I think if there’s any tool certain to enhance one’s understanding of Christology, it’s the assumptions and methodologies inherent in so much of traditional Eastern philosophy.

    • #5 by Christian Beyer on October 1, 2009 - 12:05 pm

      Of course you’re right. “He who knows does not speak, he who speaks does not know”.

      Similar to the way Jesus taught his lessons. Parables can be a lot like koans.

  4. #6 by ambrosia on October 1, 2009 - 5:32 pm

    So now you’re ignoring me in favor of Steve?


    I have a good mind to hold my breath until you turn blue!

    • #7 by Christian Beyer on October 1, 2009 - 5:50 pm

      C’mon. You know I loves you. BTW – you should hear some of the kick-down drag-outs Jack and I have been having about Islam. Reminds me of the old days when you would hold court in the cafeteria.

  5. #8 by ric booth on October 1, 2009 - 8:21 pm

    I have to admit, when I read the title I thought you were going to go all Lucado on us here. I should have known better. Sorry.

    • #9 by Christian Beyer on October 1, 2009 - 8:34 pm

      Yes, you should’ve. Good to hear from you, Ric. Long time. I think we are staying connected through John’s blog, maybe?

  6. #10 by John Shore on October 1, 2009 - 9:30 pm

    Yes, you are.

    John Shore. Bringing weirdo Christians together since 2008.

    • #11 by ric booth on October 2, 2009 - 5:01 pm

      Weirdo Christian Movement… hmmm John, you could be on to something.

  7. #12 by ambrosia on October 1, 2009 - 9:56 pm

    It’s understandable–from what people see, Islam isn’t the innocent group you make it to be.

    This doesn’t mean individual Muslims are bad people.

    At the heart are two problems. 1) Many Christians believe that John 14:6 is a accurate, and believe that those outside Christ are lost; and 2) Many Christian apologists recognize that a rivalry exists between Christianity and Islam, and are trying to protect the interests of the Church.

    I miss those days. I try and hold court in my current office, but it can be annoying, so I mostly criticize management, joke about weird students, and long for the old days at Y. I. T.

    In fact, hum “Old Folks at Home” while reciting these lyrics:

    Way down upon Rutherford Road, far, far away, oh darling how my heart
    grows weary, longing for old Y. I. T.

    All the world is sad and dreary, everywhere I go, o darling how my heart grows weary, longing for the folks at Y. I. T. (sniff, sniff).

    Seriously, I have one dude I can be honest with, and one person I can also be 90% honest with–and a few acquaintances. But, I have to watch what I say outside of our special ed office. So, I rarely take things to the depth I used to (except with John).

    So, I’ll press on, earn 35% more money, and keep on keeping on.

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