We made it through yesterday – through the artificial insanity of my wife’s birth control pills, the hurricane (or tornado, as it were) of tumultuous emotions that tore her up. We made it through, got strong and fierce and courageous, pulled her through the fire and flood (not without getting singed or water-logged) because of care and attention, intention and affection.
This brings me to something I read in Tao of Pooh. I have said here before that love is automatic. Love is the emotion you feel, it is directionless and pure energy. Caring is the action, the direction, the follow-through of love. Ironically enough, the thing that makes others feel loved, feel loved when they are alone, feel affected by love, is not love itself. The ironic thing about love is that directionless, it has the ability to make others feel unloved. Love itself, by itself, would be selfish. Love does not make the lover feel loved; love makes the lovee feel. On the other hand, caring – the action of love – that makes others feel loved. We found out yesterday, once again, that being courageous and fierce and loving and strong, that these traits related not to love, but to caring.
In line with this, according to Benjamin Hoff and Taoism, the source of courage and strength (of believing) lies in caring, which is the action of love:
“The two Fearless Rescues just mentioned [(of Roo from the river and Piglet who was Trapped by the Flood)] bring us to one of the most important terms of Taoism: Tz’u, which can be translated as ‘caring’ or ‘compassion’ and which is based upon the character for heart. In the sixty-seventh chapter of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tse named it as his ‘first treasure,’ and then wrote, ‘From caring comes courage.’ We might add that from it also comes wisdom. It’s rather significant, we think, that those who have no compassion have no wisdom. … We also consider it significant that cor, the Latin word for ‘heart,’ is the basis for the word courage. Piglet put it this way: ‘She isn’t Clever, Kanga isn’t, but she would be so anxious about Roo that she would do a Good Thing to Do without thinking about it.’ Tz’u … saved Roo, discovered the North Pole, and rescued Piglet” (128-129).
Strength and compassion, ferocity and fierceness, wisdom – these are built through caring, through Tz’u. When my wife and I talk about her recovery, we talk about love being natural and care being intentional. Care takes courage, awareness takes strength, but as it states above, “From caring comes courage” – what you put in – in terms of belief and strength and courage – will feed the recovery, will beget greater belief and strength and courage and feelings of love. This is not done through love itself, but through the actions of love, through Tz’u.
I feel the love of my mother-in-law not because she loves me, not because of some abstract emotion she has within her. I feel the love of my mother-in-law because she thinks of me when I’m not there, buying berries that cost much more than they should (probably because of the water they taste like! – but I’ll never tell). Tasty or not, it is the caring in her action that makes me feel loved [AN ASIDE: (my metaphor continuing, of my wife and my Roo to her Kanga) my mother-in-law, through her Tz’u and because of her love, demonstrates time and time again her strength of character and that she is wise beyond experience]. Similarly, I feel the love of my grandparents because they sought to understand how they could support my veganism, even if they did not understand the love I have for it. The caring in their actions – Tz’u – is what makes me feel loved. Intentional Acts of Niceness make absolute strangers feel loved, and yet, there is no love for that stranger by the actee. However, the IAN will give them the strength to do a nice thing for the next person, even without love being behind the Tz’u. There is caring, which begets love and happiness, strength and wisdom in the lover and the lovee.
Going back to my wife’s path of recovery, it is about intention and belief. Her path of recovery is reclaiming her healthy, her Tz’u. I have faith in her love, but I also believe in her Tz’u. I carry around a lollipop notepad from her. In it, there are messages of love. I have yet to open it, have yet to read a single one of these messages. And yet, I feel loved because of it. I feel loved not because of the words on the page, words that are finite and after being read once are never-to-be-read the same again. No, I feel loved because of the infinite care that the lollipop notepad represents.
In 1494, Leonardo da Vinci stated: “Oh ye seekers after perpetual motion, how many vain chimeras have you pursued? Go and take your place with the alchemists.” Not so, because the source of alchemy is Tz’u. Even if I never read a single message from the lollipop notepad, it will always be an infinite source of strength and belief, of courage and ferocity, of matter-and-universe-defying love. This act of love – caring, compassion, Tz’u – always creates and therefore is perpetually in motion.