Constancy

Attain the ultimate emptiness

Hold on to the truest tranquility

The myriad things are all active

I therefore watch their return

Everything flourishes, each returns to its root

Returning to its root is called tranquility

Tranquility is called returning to one’s nature

Returning to one’s nature is called constancy

Knowing constancy is called clarity

Not knowing constancy, one recklessly causes trouble

Knowing constancy is acceptance

Acceptance is impartiality

Impartiality is sovereign

Sovereign is Heaven

Heaven is Tao

Tao is eternal

The self is no more, without danger.

Chapter 16, Tao Te Ching

Constancy is a word that appears in at least three chapters of the Tao Te Ching. Before studying the Tao, it was a word I never used. Constancy is a very powerful virtue. It is a necessary element of cultivating sovereignty. In this context, I define constancy as a returning faithfully to the stillness of the Tao. What does this mean?

There are numerous references throughout the Tao Te Ching about returning to and being in a meditative state. The meditative state can be thought of as pure awareness within the stillness of the mind. A stillness of the mind is realized in the presence of the movement of thought processes. In this stillness, empty of mind movement is tranquility. In tranquility is your true nature. Your true nature is being. Your being is spirit.

Returning

The physical experience of life requires that we go forth and work to sustain our presence in the physical realm. As we engage our world, we use our mind to think.

The myriad things are all active”

Along the path of our species evolution, we developed the ego. I consider the ego to be physical consciousness that helped us to survive and evolve. For many, this physical consciousness is the primary identity. When asked “who are you?”, the response is “I am me”. While the ego identity serves the purpose of dealing with self-preservation and strategies for survival it is not the highest state of conscientiousness. The ego mind and sense of self must be managed and ruled over by the higher state of consciousness, the spirit. This is the essence of sovereignty. The spirit and wisdom mind reigning with supreme authority over the animalistic ego mind. The eternal non-corporeal essence of pure being.

When you sit in meditation and focus your consciousness on the stillness beyond thought and mindstream of mind and emotion you return to being. This is returning. Spirituality is pure being and unity with the Tao. It is a return from ignorance to wisdom, from avarice to virtue, and from narcissism to altruism to realize and maintain harmony. Harmony leads to tranquility.

I therefore watch their return

Everything flourishes, each returns to its root”

Tranquility is realized when you have moved beyond the thoughts [transcendence] that drive you crazy and create problems. In the dichotomy of Taoism, it can be thought of as heaven and earth. Or spiritual and physical.

As a physical living being, we must engage the physical aspect of living. Food, shelter, and thriving are daily activities that keep our physical presence in a sustained manner. However, we must return to spirit to maintain harmony. The harmony is a balance between spiritual and physical, being and doing, true nature and ego.

The meditative state is pure being, and mindfulness is the non-judgmental view of what you are thinking. Cultivating harmony is constancy returning to spiritual-awareness and the tranquility of calm-abiding. It is reflected in the principle of yin-yang. Yin is being/spiritual and yang is physical/action. This returning faithfully to spirit and oneness with the Tao (stillness) constancy.

Clarity

Spiritual clarity is seeing things as they really are without the influence and filtering of the ego. The ego perspective is always tainted by narcissistic traits and a self-serving agenda. The ego is unable to see the underlying reality because of its nature is often caught up in illusion.

Returning to one’s nature is called constancy

Knowing constancy is called clarity

Not knowing constancy, one recklessly causes trouble

When the ego has too much control over decision making and choices, then trouble and suffering ensue. The ego abhors wisdom and will default to what ever desire or emotion that happens to be prevailing. It will ignore the wise choice and try to fulfill its luster or cope with mood. Ignoring wisdom and following ignorance, it will recklessly cause trouble for itself and others.

When you have transcended the ego and returned to spirit, you use discernment to see reality as it really is. Detached from ego, you will be able to accept reality and take the right action accordingly. This is acceptance. Rather than being controlled by reactions and perception of the ego, the choices you make, the steps you take are in unity with the Tao. Wise choices create harmony. Harmony means more successes and less suffering. Harmony is the nature of the Tao. Harmony sustains longevity. With the self-discipline of the sovereign spirit holding the ego under control, your path is less fraught with the dangers of bad choices.

Knowing constancy is acceptance

Acceptance is impartiality

Impartiality is sovereign

Sovereign is Heaven

Heaven is Tao

Tao is eternal

The self is no more, without danger.

The inherent powers of constancy are clarity and acceptance. Because of the power of constancy, you will be able to see things as they really are and to practice acceptance. By the virtue of you can experience a longer life with more harmony. This is the way of Sovereignty. This is the Tao.

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