Taoist believe in nature and the way how nature works. Nature never stops, just like time never stops; air never stops, so why should we believe that we can stop and take “breaks” with our cultivation? Commonly, people believe you get burnt out or exhausted; then you should stop and take a “break” from things and get back to them later. However, that’s not what a Taoist should believe or do. In this article, you will see the wisdom from the Taoist perspective; if you want to be a good Taoist, you should learn from it.
We cultivate the gods ourselves, and god is like the mirror of ourselves. How we want the gods to be, then act like so yourself. If we are selfish, our gods will be selfish too, and what do you expect from a selfish god? You request help, and god cares for itself first, before you. Not so great, right? What if you want a “break” from your discipline and Tao? Your god is doing the same to you. What does it mean? Well, your god can also “pause” the protection, power flowing to you, and all the help for you until it is “feeling” better. When will that time be? Who knows, maybe never too.
There is a line in our Ten Commandments – 道業綿綿; it means to build and accumulate with the Tao on and on, without stopping, like waves in the ocean, it never stops. Just like air flowing to us. It never stops. Or even like the help from gods to us, it never stops.
What if we feel exhausted or burnt out, or tired? No worry, there is something called “balancing.” Like the pressure, temperature, and all that element in weather, nature balances itself and never PAUSE itself. You have a schedule for your daily life, and you have things to accomplish, but you have a way to do them with greater effort and a way to do them with less effort or “symbolically” do them for a day or two, yet you shall never think about stopping it completely. You should aim to get back on track, not just taper down and downhill.
For example, if I have to chant 100 spells in the morning, I could do them in 2 hours, or I can finish it in 1 hour or even 30mins, depending on the speed and how I do them. I could be more efficient if I multitasked and did my dishes as I chanted. I can also do a speed-read instead of a full-on chanting style, which will use less energy but still get the job “done.” At least it’s done!
Our mindset should always be that we should never feel the TAO is exhausting us (anything related to the Tao), including your cultivation and discipline. The fact is that if you do so, then you are cultivating your god to be like so to you. What happens if the god feels “sick and tired of you”? The god feels like YOU are the troublemaker and consuming its time too much. Does the god feel like it needs a BREAK from you? It’s going to be a disaster, for yourself only. Many disciples fail themselves when it comes to this kind of hurdle because they are too into believing that we as humans need a break from time to time, just because we were programmed to be like that since school time. You have the weekend, work hours are mostly just Monday to Friday, and the weekend is “off.” However, that is not how it is for a Taoist, just like you don’t get a break from being a mother. A mother or father is a 24/7 thing, and so is a Taoist. You are never taking a break from being a Taoist, just like the gods will not say you are not its disciple for the weekend. You have chosen to be a Taoist; then you should treat it seriously and know the proper mindset to embrace being one.
Trust, faith and determination take you to the end goal as a Taoist. Being determined, you never give up and never stop moving forward. Like in a marathon, you can slow down and jog forward but never stop, sit down for 2 hours, and then continue to “run.” Once your system cools down, it is like a cold wok, it is very hard to pick up again, and you are just wasting time “starting up” again later, which most of the time only leads to failure and nothing more. Keep the moment going, keep moving, stop giving excuses; and that is the only way to survive in life and be a successful Taoist.
What to do if you have trouble dealing with this hurdle and your heart starts to feel weak and shaky about things? We strongly suggest you embrace and cultivate the scripture. Golden Zen Scripture, and the Heart Scripture, is a very good ways to get help from the gods to overcome these hurdles.