Are Your Values Your Own?

Must you value what other value, avoid what others avoid?

Verse #20 from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.

These lines in the Tao Te Ching are asking us to look at our values and what we avoid. We are asked to take a look at the “why” behind these  choices. We are asked to look at these choices to decide if we have made the choices because of our own want or need or because we are following the pack. Are the values you have and the things you avoid something you do with a conscious choice or just because someone else decided that it was good or bad?

Ideas must begin at some point. When we are eating a shell fish of some kind, my husband often remarks how, at some point, someone would have to have been really really hungry to eat a snail, lobster or a squid. Now, those foods are considered delicacies. We understand how yummy these foods taste – now. Yet, think about what would have driven someone to look at a snail and think “food.” Either a very great hunger or a very big dare. It is considered a normal thing now-a-days. Well, normal by some, as I still haven’t come over to the idea of eating this slug-like creature that moves across slime infested rocks and eats “ick”. I will reserve that until I actually taste one and then see if the taste is enough to overcome the idea of slime and “ick”. At some point, someone has the original thought and then others join in. If that thought has great value and is adapted by many, it becomes a permanent idea. Freedom comes to mind. In olden times there was never a moral conflict about having slaves. Now it is a very repugnant idea.

The Tao is not saying to run amok and rebel against every idea out there and always embrace what others avoid and always reject what others value. It is asking you to look and see the reasons behind your choices. To look and see “the why” behind choosing those things. Was it because your neighbor had one? Was it to look cool? Was it because you truly thought it was fun and genuine and useful?  What was it? Each time, look anew at some idea and ask “What is my value in this?”. If that idea has true value, then that value will be reinforced and strengthened. So this week, look at your values and avoidance from a new perspective, from a perspective of investigation and introspection. Are these things you truly value? Why do you avoid those certain things? You decide for yourself what has value and what to avoid.

 

in love and light,

Celina

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