The sage does not bring order
to times of chaos.
This is a very deep Taoist truth. Taoism, breaks up times in human society relative to Times of Social Order and Times of Social Chaos.
How one reacts and works with their community varies based on if times are Orderly or Chaotic.
Currently we are experiencing transition from Orderly to Chaotic times. You can see this within the uncertainty many people feel in their lives.
The first thing: don’t confuse times of negative order to be chaotic.
Up till recently, the last 10 years 2001 to 2010, we have been witnessing a large degree of negative social order, changes in rules and business that have been causing financial meltdowns and social unrest. However, as chaotic as it felt, it was still an orderly process. The times were being controlled by a few to profit through changing rules and social conditions. Since these changes were negative in nature, people considered the times to be chaotic. Chaotic change is neither negative nor positive, rather it’s unpredictable and not controlled by any one group or person.
The second thing: Humans are primarily orderly beings.
People work towards minimizing chaotic periods as much as possible. As a result truly chaotic times are more of a rarity than people realize. When experiencing chaotic times people often yearn for order. People will desperately grab for any social order, including negative order to fill their lives. As a result in times of chaos, dictators and despots often take advantage of normal people. We find despots pushing their negative order as positive change to changing society into something they can profit from at the expense of others.
The Tao Te Ching writes 2300 years ago, during another major time of chaos this passage.
When the Way (Tao) is lost
Righteousness & Justice appear to give direction
Knowledge and shrewdness follow
Ensuring great hypocrisy.
When harmonious relationships dissolve
Laws manifest to limit our homes.
As a nation falls to chaos
Yoked loyalty and patriotism become the norm.
Many Taoist written works warn people of nationalism and righteousness during times of change. Taoism teaches awareness to help mitigate the losing of personal freedoms, against those who impose negative social order. We are now currently at the cusp between a time of social order and chaos.
How long a time of chaos will last, by definition of chaos, is unpredictable. The signs of chaos are all relatively predictable – the breakdown of orderly processes.
Most people instinctively know how to behave in times of social order. Most potentials are predictable by the momentum guided by social rules. These rules constrain the majority of actions down consequences of predictable results of laws, social pressures and social norms. Few people flow smoothly within times of chaos, since they rely on external social rules in their unconscious actions. The unpredictability within times of chaos often causes people to over-react or to follow out of date rules of society that don’t necessarily apply any more.
A simple (initial) list of guidelines for living in times of Chaos.
- Reinforce local community. Being strong and active in your local community helps you weather unexpected changes, shortages and those who would try to take advantage of you in a weakened state.
- Don’t over extend yourself. If you overextend yourself, chaotic changes will catch you off guard
- Be patient and be aware. Chaotic times are neither good , nor bad… good and bad are human morality statements. Rather chaotic times are times of great change. With great change come opportunities that are equally beneficial as they are earth shaking. Patience allows you to pace your endeavors to gracefully use your resources and with awareness timed to your intuition you then decide which opportunities are indeed positive options rather than negative situations.
- Buy and work towards quality over cheap/fast. Times of chaos stress out people, materials and social systems. This means in times of chaos things break down, people make things more cheaply and unexpected shortages will occur. Make sure your work is of quality so it lasts through the time of chaos, make sure you invest in tools and materials which are of quality so that your material tools won’t fail at critical times.
- Invest in personal time, keeping in shape and helping those around you to stay in shape. The stress in times of chaos will push us to our own limits. Take care of yourself, family and friends so you remain strong and can flow with the unexpected changes that will occur.
- Predict nothing! By definition times of chaos are when everything shifts to being unpredictable. Be open to change rather than trying to jigger change or outguessing it. By being aware and flowing with change you will more gracefully move with what happens over than trying to outguess all the random shifts that will occur.
Orderly times are more logical, chaotic times are more intuitive.
Pausing between Social Order and Chaos
Chaos overwhelms an orderly person by unpredictable potentials and results.
The unpredictability of Chaos creates the illusion of fast paced events around a person. It’s not that events are speeding up as much as unpredictable actions are destroying the predictable order of normal day to day operations. One random event cascades into a hundred unforeseen activities. In orderly situations, we don’t see much of the action since people purposely created order routines to hide away most actions from our view.
Chaos forces you to deal with everything at once…
Most people handle this by trying to block out changes (resisting change).
- To resist change is to slowly face erosion of your soul.
(This often leads to depression that reinforces erosion)
- Some people get overwhelmed and give up.
To be swept away by the events and lose your uniqueness in life
Ironically the times that appear most chaotic are not in times of chaos. These are the times when social order is breaking down to chaos or Chaos is being reorganized into Order. This is the in-between time, the blinking of transition, the unknown moment: that anyone feels in real change…
Overall chaotic times really aren’t as destructive as the times of negative social order. People tend to act more carefully in times of chaos. The most dangerous time of all: Is in the blink between times of chaos and social order, when the system of rules are in turbulence between chaos and order.
In Taoism we teach to pause between changing states, to allow awareness to be part of our process to better flow with what will be. This isn’t about gathering all the information you need. In fact to try to figure it all out, will just cause paralysis rather than pause.
Discover pause, true pause, an active state when our essence is open to everything around us. Not categorizing everything with knowledge, but accepting the connections around us with awareness. With pause we can see and then select the connections that reinforce our essence and release any connections that diminish ourselves. Then as the situation evolves into either social order or general chaos, it become possible to change your personal stance to act accordingly.
Right now, between 2016 to 2020 we are starting to witness events that are in between Order and Chaos on a Global scale.
As a result: I highly recommend taking some time to pause.
Becoming Stronger from our Times
Currently tides of high potential are pushing society about in unpredictable directions. Tides of change are rippling out to shift society and how people live life. What does this mean for you?
- Will you let yourself be changed to outside forces…
- Will you follow your own inner potential…
allowing yourself to blossom as yourself?
Know yourself to facilitate personal transformation.
What does “know” mean? I use know in a larger sense of accepting oneself fully. This translates into three aspects of acceptance
- To come to terms with the “facts”, your stories, of who you are
- To anchor oneself in personal “faith”
- To be aware and use “perception” to guide how change flows in your life
Few people take the time to listen to their inner voice. Like it or not, as a culture and a world, 2016 is shaping up to test people. As individuals we each are being forced to take a look at who we are. Yet many people will flow to fashion, be molded by fear, get shaped by outside powers rather than taking the time to redefine themselves to personal truths and move to stand stronger against the times.
I personally prefer the other option: Live more gracefully. That it’s also possible to be aware of your inner nature, to personally embrace potential to channel one’s transformation to heart. Ironically chaos is also a time for people to shine, to be the most they can be outside the same old same old. Many people I know are taking advantage of this fact to drop out of the mainstream culture, to live better and healthier. If enough people do this: then this becomes the primary wave of potential that becomes reality. We can, in times of chaos, grow and improve life and society. What matters is this, we are at a place now, to take advantage of the times to be in heart. To take the extra energy that chaos is shaking loose and use it for our own life.
In the 60’s there was a hopeful statement saying all we need is love. People discovered from the 1960’s love is actually not quite enough on its own. Love is connection to become more. But we also need awareness to shape ourselves, the will to change and compassion to shape ourselves with kindness in order to transform. Love is not enough to transform the world. Love is a starting point but we need awareness and personal strength to follow through with transformation.
Lets mix Love, Awareness and Strength together to discover a path that can truly transform, both ourselves and our culture.
Heart represents connections to others and your life. Being in heart, coupled with surety of oneself, is what makes the difference later for a grounding and flexibility during times of change. That is the challenge and joy of being alive today, is how to use the times to transform, to be oneself fully… Possibly and I would argue these are indeed the best of times now…These only become the worse of times if you don’t live as yourself.
Discover in transformation we have many potential forms to take, many good choices. It’s not the final form that matters, as much as making sure the process of transformation matches to your nature. Some people might be surprised at where they end up, but they will discover joy if the process follows the heart. It’s a personal choice no matter how others may try to take your power away. Know, just by living and living well now… is enough to start the process of discovery and follow your life truly, one step at a time in these times of potential.
So always remember the steps of Personal Transformation are:
- Practices to explore one’s nature. Play is a critical part of any transformation. Seriously, play is about testing and exploring possibility. When you are transforming, you are changing, becoming something new. If you don’t play while in the middle of transformation.. then chances are you will revert back to what you already were… since you didn’t take the time to play and work out new options of being.The problem is when a person gets older and yet gets caught in a crisis or transformation…. their adult shape and society: forces them to forget the most important aspects of life. The exploration of play to become more.
- repeat 1-3 in several iterations (which equals patience)
- Relaxation into self
- You are now in a place where you worked and released most of the issues holding you back.
- Pause and perform an evaluation of your progress, if you are not done, then repeat steps 1 – 5 again.Please note: Never try to solve all your problems at once, otherwise new problems will creep in to fill the void. Step 4 is critical since it allows a person to process their personal evolution in smaller increments of change.Move ahead with yourself in wonder and enjoyment. If done well it takes roughly two years to do steps 1-5 with several iterations and ten years to become a master of your own life.
However, this path I teach is deeply patient and very Taoist: most people will choose to just grab what they see someone else doing and run with that. Not many people risk taking the time , two to ten years, to deeply explore their life: since the unknown scares them.
So don’t make the assumption that chaotic times are bad times. It is up to us on how to use everything to grow from. Chaotic times offer opportunity of new options. Such times open the doorway to transformation. How you use the energy of chaotic times is also a choice about your own personal growth.