It’s Tao or Never

A friend and I were talking this morning and she mentioned that she was a futurist.  She likes to dwell upon what is coming, a visionary.

As a joke, I answered that I am a ‘todayist’.  Today is all I can control, so it’s all I’m worrying about for now.  Today is enough.

That reminded me of some of the precepts I’ve read from the Tao Te Ching.  I’m no expert, but the basic idea seems to be that things are perfect now.  There is no nirvana to aspire to.  This is as good as it gets.

That may seem fatalistic, but to me it makes sense and is the reasoning behind my ever-present happiness.  Yes, I get sad and have bad days.  But if there were no bad days then I wouldn’t know what a good one was.  You can’t recognize what ‘dry’ is until you’ve been wet.  You don’t know how lovely a warm fire is until you’ve been cold.

I used to suffer from migraines so bad they would make me throw up and roll up away from all light and sound unable to speak.  Whenever the tell-tale numbness and blindness would start I’d have a stab of dread, knowing I was in for a full day of intense pain.  At the same time, I knew that when the pain had subsided, life was going to seem so utterly gorgeous and amazing it would all come out even.

For me, tomorrow is a myth that never arrives.  By the time I see it a mutation will have occurred, turning it into today.  I do my best to take wise steps to prepare for the future, but always with the knowledge that I am doing my best and nothing is guaranteed. 

Today is all I can influence, and if I spend it worrying about what may happen I’ll miss what’s happening now.  Important steps and opportunities will be passed by and lost.  I think the world needs futurists.  They are the dreamers that invent new possibilities.  It’s good to look to the future, as long as we can see where we are.

Markets crash, money vanishes, people die, disasters rearrange our world within hours.  I have no promise but today.  I own nothing but my attitude.  I’ll do what I can now, with what I have.  This is all I get; now.  It’s enough.

Some other things you might enjoy:

Taoism 101

The Story of the Farmer (one of my favorite tales)

Three Stories of the Tao

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher and author. Her first collection of poetry, In Favor of Pain, was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award. Her latest novella, Bitter Suites, is a 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist. Currently, she publishes Space and Time magazine, a 53 year old publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction. For more information visit SpaceandTimeMagazine.com or AngelaYSmith.com.
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