The Tenets of Easeness
1. Humans are acceptable.
Acceptance is the bridge from suffering to bliss. Resistance strengthens its target. Practice deepens the rut, whereas play greases the groove.
This tenet is the mirror image of one of the core themes of the human story: humans are exceptional. If you don't believe me, do a cursory search for "what makes humans unique". In this vein of separatism, one will discover a host of theories, and books on each one, stretching back into the annals of history. (I'd better rope off a post for another time on this wide spectrum of pseudoscience.)
The truth is that humans, as a species, as a group, generally speaking, are not exceptional. Nothing sets humans as a group apart from nature. This sort of thinking, where every member of a group is assumed to possess the same qualities or character just by dint of belonging to that group, is the essential kernel of bigotry, which leads its victims to hold certain types of others as unacceptable or intolerable.
Of course, each individual is exceptional, as is every sacred morsel in the grand cornucopia of life. Recognizing the sacredness of any being we might have once classified as a human helps us to remember that that being, like any being in any form, is unique, fallible, forgivable, and acceptable.
2. There is enough for everyone.
Abundance is the default state of existence.
The Way bears one.
The one bears two.
The two bear three.
The three bear the ten thousand things.
— Tao Te Ching #42 as interpreted by Ursula K. Le Guin
This tenet is the mirror image of another dominant theme in the story of human culture: resources are scarce. While it may be true that we cannot have everything we want, it is this wanting, this insatiable desire, that creates the scarcity we often treat as ineradicable.
Abundance emerges as we voice our needs and share our gifts. Things get super easy when we can distinguish the sheep we need from the goats we want.
3. We and nature are within each other.
Evolution twirls on, yin defining yang defining yin. Within any other being sits the same source of self that we hold in our heart. And yet we continue to delude ourselves that we can get the best of Nature, or fearing that we will be devoured if we do not maintain control.
This fear is quite rational and well-founded. In nature, everything is food for something. Even the molten sulfur pools that gird the descent into the abyss at Challenger Deep have their extremophilic, microbial gastronomes. And though we may cremate our fallen, this makes them food for the flames. No one can escape this simple fate, though endeavoring to try does keep us mighty busy building rockets and pedaling Pelotons.
Must we fear one day being eaten? How might we live differently, were we to embrace our role in the cycle that vitally nourishes us? Bury me beneath a sapling cherry tree, and I'll see that it becomes a Kerry tree.
4. Evil and good create each other anywhere they emerge.
A vast many of the ventures in which we invest ourselves deign to solve a problem. Even those seemingly enlightened organizations who conjure business from thin air tend to run on a fundamental duality. Whether our aim is to "do no evil", or our solemn vow is "Don't let Earth suck", we attach to outcome and ignore the co-creative force of that attachment.
Put simply, one who seeks to solve a problem also creates a problem.
This tenet is the mirror image of yet another core theme of human culture: the quest to purge ourselves of sin, to conquer evil. But what is good without evil? Do they not co-generate and interpenetrate? Even the most vile tyrant had a mother. Would one who has never tasted love lash out for its lack? Likewise the pious know well the depths of depravity; peering into the darkness serves to deepen their devotion to the light.
As Victor over at Ei once asked me, "What if there were no problems to solve?"
5. We are okay.
Without the proper context and a broad enough variety of perspectives, it is no surprise that many of us struggle to know that we are okay.
Let's recount the story of human culture we are all but force-fed by the fearmongers a.k.a. media:
There is evil in the world, pure unadulterated evil.
Nature, red in tooth and claw, brims with mindless beasts murdering each other. And it will consume you, infect you, tear you apart, unless you can smell it coming and avoid it, or turn and fight and somehow vanquish the demons.
Even if you can get the best of evil, it never stays down. Evil will come back with a vengeance drink up your milkshake.
All you can do is keep your head down and try to rake in as much as you can. Unless of course our glorious technology can one day bend evil Nature to our whim and will.
Total control is the goal. A techno-totalitarian utopia is our only hope.
Sound familiar? Probably not. The euphemism is missing, the subliminal threat is on the surface. That's not how we sell eyeballs!
Caveat lector: these tenets are not intended as principles, rules, or axioms. At best they will hold true as we navigate our experience of being. At worst they will flap in the breeze like so many tattered aphorisms. With any luck they will at least act as signposts along the path to greater ease.