This week I happened upon this quote from Derek Lin, an American Taoist writer:
"Seeking The Tao
Many people are searching for the right path for themselves. Perhaps the mainstream religions do not suit their spiritual needs, so they look around for something different.
Some of them are dabblers who sample one tradition after another, never spending enough time for in-depth understanding. Perhaps they are looking for the silver bullet, something that solves all of their problems in one shot. The Tao is not suitable for such individuals, because years of cultivation and actual application of the teachings are absolute requirements.
Real cultivators understand that the teachings reward persistence and patience. They know that, in the long run, there is nothing better than the Tao that has endured for thousands of years. They delve into it with confidence, because it is something that has passed the test of time.
The Tao Today
What is your motivation for seeking the Tao? Is it something exotic and mysterious that has attracted you? If so, you may be disappointed by the plainness and simplicity of its teachings. Follow the Tao only if you can feel, in your heart of hearts, that it is the right path for you. Devote time and effort to it, and you will find yourself amply rewarded from here to the rest of your life and beyond."
I could write much more on this but I am really still mulling over my thoughts.
So far, what I can say is I find it chastening yet I also find it affirming at the same time. So called 'spirituality', the modern day word used in place of the less fashionable 'religion' and even less fashionable 'discipline', is not easy - it's not about simply 'being accepted for who I am' and 'exploring different ideas', the phrases to often trotted out by religious liberals (including myself). It is about growth, about transformation, and this involves a long journey of starts and stops, of faltering moments and moments in which we must actively return.
This might sound like common sense - I suppose it is. But common sense is something we are prone to losing sight of. Again, we must actively work to rediscover it.