Nothing of the human is negated with the relativizing introduction of a higher point of view despite the fact that that point of view reveals a sense in which all these human activities are nonsense if taken too seriously. This holds true in two senses.

Perhaps most importantly, nothing that happens is not the Great Happening. Whatever humans do is as affirmable as anything else. If we look again at Chapter One of the Laozi we see that though any spoken dao is not the ultimate Dao, every spoken dao is nonetheless an expression of Dao. “They are the same.” It is not possible to “stray from the Dao”. If there is straying, then that straying is Dao.

This is the principle behind my personal mantra: I am perfect by virtue of my being perfectly who I am. I could not be otherwise. Nothing more is required. All is well even in my own personal mess. There is a great deal to achieve in the cultivation of myself, but nothing has to be achieved. Total affirmation is unconditional. Realizing this fully would be my idea of enlightenment, if there is any such thing.

Secondly, what humans do is what humans are. There is no ideal humanity, but only the humanity that is. This is who we are. We are not “better than this”. If we are a mess then it is presently our nature to be so. We love, we hate, we rejoice, we grieve, we do “good”, we do “evil”; all these things are human qualities and understanding that sense in which they are the same and equal, does not eliminate them.

What the introduction of a higher road, the view from Dao, does is allow us to live out our humanity in greater self-awareness. And that awareness releases us from the burden of taking ourselves and our world so seriously that we cannot play and wander within them.

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