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Published 9-20-10

Lao Tzu, Ralph Alan Dale, Claude Debussy


Dear Readers,

What makes the mug we drink our morning coffee out of useful?

It's the empty space created by the round bottom and sides.
We can't put liquid into a solid cylinder. We need emptiness
into which we can pour our coffee. On the other hand, empty
space without the solid shape of the mug is equally as useless.
Just try pouring coffee into thin air! And there, in a nutshell,
is the concept of yin and yang. Both inaction and action are
necessary for useful living. Most of us err on the side of too
much yang, or action. We need to stop and allow the inner
space of our souls to breathe, for Love originates
in the silence of the yin.

- Lisa

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black and white photo of sun coming through curtains
   Photo by Lisa Bowman     All rights reserved

We join thirty spokes
to the hub of a wheel,
yet it's the center hole
that drives the chariot.

We shape clay
to birth a vessel,
yet it's the the hollow within
that makes it useful.

We chisel door and windows
to construct a room,
yet it's the inner space
that makes it livable.

Thus do we
create what is
to use what is not.


Lao Tzu's "nothingness" is not a reference to the absence
of content, but rather to the absence of aggression...

Lao Tzu rather reminds us that there is always  a yin
(the passive and empty component) that exists with the
yang (the active and shaping component). The two
together provide the means to total action, total
responsibility, "lifefulness" and "lovefulness." ...

Can we imagine a world beyond wealth and poverty,
power and powerlessness, health and sickness, beauty and
ugliness, intelligence and stupidity, fullness and emptiness?
By placing our attention on the yin, Lao Tzu reminds us that
there is such a soft natural world, and that we can enter it when
we dissolve the power structures and premises that create these
dichotomies. He reminds us that our humanity is beyond all all
these dichotomies, beyond all separations that alienate us
from nature, from each other and from our own nature.

Excerpted from "Tao Te Ching,"
Translation and Commentary by Ralph Alan Dale
Barnes & Noble, 2002

The Last Word:

Music is the silence between the notes.
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
French composer






























































Utterly Random Bonus Quote:

None but a theology that came out of eternity
can carry you and me safely to and through eternity.

Theodore Ledyard Cuyler (1882-1909)
Presbyterian minister and religious writer


Welcome to
The Religion Network!

I'm Lisa Bowman, editor
of The Religion Network,
a multi-faith Web site.
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