“Easy gives rise to difficult … resonance harmonizes sound, after follows before.” — Lau Tzu
When the vessel is empty, fill it to overflowing. When the vessel is overflowing, distill the essence. — McD
Western thought is either/or, an artificial duality that, when focused on one aspect of some thing, excludes the other. When we write, Western thinking pits the right brain against the left in a war of control. Imagine right-brain and left-brain at opposite ends of a stick. Pick up that stick from either end and you hold both left and right in your hands. You can’t have one without the other.
The Tao embraces the interplay and dynamic unification of opposites. In the words of Carl Jung, “Our Western mind…has never yet devised a concept, not even a name for the union of opposites through the middle path, that most fundamental item of inward experience which could respectably be set against the Chinese concept of Tao.”
The Tao of writing then is the ebb and flow of right and left brain, the interplay of intuition and rational thinking. Right brain feels and inspires but doesn’t know how to manipulate words, left brain calculates and arranges but is devoid of emotion.
The Tao of writing is a dance of partners, each taking the lead in turn, but always moving as one. Right brain (our dragon) pours forth inspiration and ideas whole while left brain (our inner critic) cooperates and guides our hand to fill the empty vessel. Later, our inner critic takes the lead to distill and arrange our ideas while our dragon helps us preserve the essence and the feeling of our words.
Writing is difficult. Writing is easy. Writing is both; and neither. Writing is a whirling dance and quiet contemplation. Writing is and — not or.