“Without looking out your window, you can see the essence of the Tao.”
March 20, 2010 by gregwebb
“Without looking out your window, you can see the essence of the Tao.” I’ve reached my final entry in this exploration of inner fitness. It comes on the heels of another week-long layoff. My left knee is gimpy and my chest is again congested, but springtime and afternoon sunshine more than compensate for these hurdles, and soon I’m out the door…What is the essence of the Tao? Just because the Tao te Ching says I can see it without looking out my window doesn’t mean I can articulate what it is that I see when I see it. Indeed, the best answers to this question may be akin to those given in response to notions of beauty (“It’s in the eye of the beholder”) or even pornography (“I can’t tell you what it is, but I’ll know it when I see it.”). Stories are about the closest that language comes to conveying the sense of such things, and as I run today in sacred silence – save for the sound of my breath – a series of images arises in my mind’s eye that grace-fully carry me all the way around the magic path once more.
These images are actually memories of a story ESPN did of a young man who decided he would walk every eighteen-hole round of every tournament of the 2008 Professional Golfers Association tour. Not that big of a deal, you might think – except that this thirty year old was born with Cerebral Palsy, and was told by doctors that he would never walk a single step in his entire life.
Enduring multiple surgeries to break and reset his legs before he even entered first grade, this embodiment of the Tao, progressing from walker to crutches to finally just a single cane, developed a love of golf as he grew to adulthood – a love that his parents enthusiastically supported Bracing himself with his cane, his one-handed swing is now good enough to consistently score around 105 for eighteen holes.
One image in particular stays before me as I run. It is one the cameras caught from behind of this hero where he’s simply walking down a beautiful fairway. And falling. And getting back up to resume his quest. My lungs and knee don’t bother me at all as long as I see him in front of me. I fly around the magic path, light as a feather, but even though his gait is halting and arduous, he remains out in front of me, uncatchable, unstoppable.
The thing that inspires me the most about this guy is his humility. The image in my mind’s eye that keeps me going today is the same one that embarrasses him as his story starts drawing more and more media attention. He’s not ashamed of who he is or how he is; “It just feels embarrassing sometimes” is all he’ll say, through tears. – And my own rush up to meet his…The essence of the Tao carries within it the seed of transformation. Once we find that seed, we can use it any way we want. Once we become aware of that essence, we naturally want to use it to allow and embody and demonstrate the perfection that is present in every moment and every circumstance we encounter, regardless of outward appearances and challenges. I cannot say ‘what’ it is, only ‘that’ it is – because I have seen it. – And sometimes I have seen it not because of anything I have done, but because it has been shown to me by someone who never had any intention of doing anything other enjoying a round of golf. – I finish this, my final round, in a state of amazement – as good a phrase as any to describe the indescribable.