CIRCUMSTANCE AND OPPORTUNITY V

Ming (circumstance) is what has happened and is now happening. Is there anything that “exists” that hasn’t happened? Is there anything that is not presently continuing to happen? The Universe and all it contains has happened and continues to happen. I like to call the cosmos—whatever that is—the Great Happening. If we can imagine every happening as absolutely inseparable from that Happening—as that Happening—, then we will get a sense of what Zhuangzi is after when he says, “hand it all over to the unavoidable (ming) ”. He understands the cosmos as Transformation (hua) and suggests that we identify with that. Identify with ceaseless change and what changes could possibly disturb you?


I call this movement of identification “surrender in trust”. It is a surrender because it finds resistance in us. We naturally want to hold onto a fixed-identity that assures our eternal continuity. Since this seems ridiculous on the face of it, we are caught in a bind of clinging to what must almost certainly be lost. We fear the loss of ourselves. We fear death. Identified with Everything, there is nowhere for anything to get lost. This is “hiding the world in the world”.


This movement also involves trust. It is not resignation. It is an act of complete unconditional affirmation. It is saying, Yes, thank you! for Everything. Trust is not belief. There is nothing to believe. It could be said that we believe that “all is well”, but trust is fundamentally what life is. Trust is a spontaneous expression of life. Our every waking moment is permeated by trust. Real trust is not mediated by belief. Advocacy for this movement is saying little more than, Be your most natural experience.


Is this then the Truth of things? Not at all. This is just an imagined point of view. If we understand how whatever life-view we hold is an imagined point of view, then we are free to choose the one that makes for our greatest enjoyment of life. This is the point for Zhuangzi’s critique of logic and reason—to “release our minds to play”.


Every circumstance, which is say every possible happening, is an opportunity for surrender in trust, and every such movement is transformative. How so? Let’s not get all metaphysically fuzzy—let’s just say that it provides a moment of thankfulness and joy. And who knows, maybe that will become habitual.

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