The particular copy in the post title photo was given to me in my early 20s by Michelle, a switch who also was on the spectrum and a play partner/colleague in crime for a few months. She was more of a polyglot than even myself and lived in books mostly. She has been an inspiration to me in finding life answers through the written wisdom of the ages. Having been snowed in recently such as I was and in setting up my books I came across this. Within the pages still are lines she underlined specifically for me and I have been finding re-reading it to be so rewarding I have sent numerous copies out to friends who are also currently in the state of reflection (as well as ordered a few more for here to give to friends I expect to see in the coming weeks/months..) (Amazon has a recommended translation for about $6 btw).
A little bit about this book. Yes, it is about Taoism – it is one of the fundamental texts that serve as a foundation for the philosophy/religion. This writing has been translated more than any other book with the exception of only the bible. It dates back to around 6th century BC. Check wikipedia for a treasure trove of information
The reason for recommending this book at this particular time, is that the message I get from the book is to accept what is in front of you without wanting the situation to be other than what it is. For an Autistic – that is one of the (at least my) greatest challenges. I see (and have researched) a very common trait, especially around high functioning Autistics is the inability to sit still or to leave anything alone without continually trying to make progress on it. Add in my OCD and often times being told to “just wait” on something is akin to being told to peel all of my own skin off my body flake by flake with rusty tweezers. The essence of this book is, in it’s simplest form is to “Simply Be”. For myself – this resonates well for me right now.
For those I have shared this book with in the past (well those who actually used it and reflected on it), I have found a few common take-aways (although one could almost translate it into meaning for pretty much any aspect of their lives). For many of my NT friends, the message has often meant acceptance of what is in front of them. This I have seen has led to suspension of disbelief and baggage with messages like “Yes, I can be loved”, “Yes this can be real”, and “Yes, this is okay <for whatever situation they are going through>”. For my fellow Autistics, it is often translated in a form that is riddle like and very tickling to the brain. It is far from literal, but by giving enough triangulation of being non-literal, the message can come through. In this way it is almost like practice for communication with NTs as it forces one to take in many nuances to piece together the message. It is also a message about being okay to just sit, and to not try so hard, and that things can be good (or even ideal) in their natural state without it having to be tweaked, adjusted, or played with. (Something I feel like I can struggle with even in a second-by-second natural state of being awake).
A few choice messages I have written in my journal this week from my reading of the Tao De Ching:
Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.
We turn clay to make a vessel, but it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends.
He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.
Goodness in words creates trust, goodness in thinking creates depth, goodness in giving creates love.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them-that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Seek not happiness too greedily, and be not fearful of happiness.
Next Book Review will be on Brain Lock – by Jeffrey M. Schwartz. One of the best books I have ever had on understanding OCD and is a great tool/resource for those wanting to understand OCD in others or in themselves.
Comments or mail always welcome. I found out how to turn on allowing anonymous commenting. Given the topics of the blog I felt inclusion that allows for anonymity should be allowed.