Ancient Advice for a Modern Revolution
by William Martin
I was inspired to purchase this book from my local book seller because of the drama and hate surrounding the 2016 presidential election. However, as I’ve watched this unfold, what I realized is that there is always something to overcome; there is always an obstacle to freedom, there is always hate to contend with.
It’s my personal belief that hate only fuels more hate, so it’s actually useless in making lasting change. I also believe that anything we do to support any kind of division between us and them, only adds to the problem.
Even when we believe (which we always do) that we are right!
So I turned to the work of Taoist teacher, William Martin, for comfort and advice.
From the first page I felt an immediate peace.
Free of our own prejudices,
we act with spontaneity.
We move naturally.
We accomplish what is necessary.
Caught in our prejudices,
we act as puppets,
moving in lockstep
to the beat of commerce.
From the book – page 11
The Activist’s Tao Te Ching is a reinterpretation of the ancient Chinese text, and explains that using force and violence to incite change never works in the long run, yet, because the Tao is a dynamic force, always in motion, it also offers suggestion for peaceful, powerful, and meaningful change.
And if peaceful change seems impossible, think on this:
“His teachings were seen as a threat to the ordered and compliant social structures of Confucian society, and those who followed his way were branded as lazy, antisocial, unpatriotic anarchists because they followed a way of effortless flow, simplicity, and flexibility.” ~ From the book, page 4.
This was said about Lao Tzu some 2,500 years ago.
I have enjoyed this book tremendously, and read through its entirety the first day I had it. It now sits on my desk where I can randomly flip through it and read a page from it before I start my day.
If you are feeling that this world is in the process of massive change, and that this change needs to happen, but you are also tired of the manipulation and fear mongering that pervades our society, I believe this book will offer you the alternatives you seek.
You are an expression of the Tao,
arising at this particular time,
in this particular form,
in this particular place,
to add your contribution
to this revolution.
There is an energy flowing through you
that cultivates, nurtures,
and prepares you for your work;
comforts and fortifies you in your efforts;
and guides you to completion.
– from the book, page 70.
At first glance, it may seem that practicing the Tao is passive. But the Tao is the force of nature that animates all things, and flows freely when we are free from hate, and unburdened by our prejudices. This makes us better channels for love, wisdom and understanding, which allows us to bring forth better solutions to bring about the change we so desire.
The Activist’s Tao Te Ching is not a book to just enjoy in one moment, and then go back to regular life the next; it’s a book of guidance. In reading it, I feel a deep comfort because most of the time, in times of trouble, I don’t know what I should be doing! I certainly don’t want to add to the fear, but at the same time, when I’m so highly frustrated, that’s the first response I reach for.
This book offers the tools for those of us looking for that other way to respond, without having to feel lazy, unpatriotic, or disconnected because we don’t appear to have anything to lose.
Anyone who has ever practiced the Tao can tell you it’s way harder than just spewing hateful rhetoric any day of the week! But in my opinion, that’s what makes it so valuable; for our personal lives, as well as inciting change for the greater good.
Deanna purchased this book with her own funds from a local book seller.