I picked this verse because its number, 22, coincides with the week of the year that I next need to supply questions for our Pub Theology group. Interestingly, “Pattern” is one of the themes I like to pursue when communicating my take on the Tao. Here, I will select from R.L. Wing’s translation and commentary from her book, The Tao of Power.
Evolved Individuals…regard the world as their Pattern (paraphrased). Look for the pattern of nature in the pattern of man’s behavior. Once one has become exceedingly crooked, the only coarse is to straighten. When the depths of indulgence become filled, emptiness follows and self might be found. For the ages, those who sought not to display, define, make claims or boast are forever illuminated, distinguished, credited and advanced. They do not compete and so the world cannot compete with them. To evolve one’s outer countenance, turn within.
Wing writes that change is governed by cause and effect. Cause and effect are transcended through balance and harmony with the environment. At this point, I will insert my own interpretation of “Pattern” and try to match it up with what Ms. Wing is saying. I view the Pattern of all events as seasons of the calendar. All activity begins in the “dead season” of winter, the important time prior to actual action. This is the time for balance and harmony to be contemplated before launching oneself into the foray of activity in the Spring, where one’s events begin to grow. The elements and interruptions of this second season cannot be known in the first, but they can be prepared for.
Let not one goal cost you all that you have attained up to the Spring. Balance the desire for your future with the weight of the past. See that the harmony you have attained and aspire to exists in the goals you wish to attain and aspire to the seeds you are gathering for planting. Those plantings must persevere and progress through the fire and deluge of the next season, Summer, which seems to seek your development but never in a painless and obvious way. The four seasons are like a set of toll bridges on a single path. Not one can be skipped to without paying the toll of the one before. Not one cares whether you are prepared to pay the toll, so one should be prepared to pay. The end that comes before the next beginning is the Fall Harvest. Have no doubt, even if there is nothing to thrash, that is something. One’s Harvest, while viewed as great or small, is always something. It is the stuff one takes with when the dead season again beckons and encourages contemplation.