The Text of the Month No 13

By Jos Slabbert

Do you understand?

The silence of Tao
is filled
with power.
Not even
the roar of cannon
can silence
the silence
of Tao.

Explanation and comment

I read the other day that there an estimated 40 wars going on right now on this beautiful earth of ours. Even the obscurest of these wars tends to devour the innocent more than the perpetrators themselves. Another sad statistic is that when war breaks out in a region, the children in that region are in greater danger of getting killed or maimed than the soldiers fighting it.

I just cannot comprehend how anyone can see war as a solution to anything. Of course you can argue that there sometimes is no other alternative to war. I mean, war was essential in ridding the world of the scourge of fascism and Hitler, wasn’t it? My own relatives fought and died in this war. But they also dropped bombs on the innocent in German cities.

War mostly is the certain sign that we are not moving towards civilization, but towards barbarism.

Personally, one feels so helpless when one sees the images of the dying and wounded on TV screens. War has a tremendous negative effect on faith in goodness. It destroys the hope that, somehow, somewhere in the future, the virtuous will be victorious and evil will be overcome.

The above poem is a declaration of faith. What it says in the clearest terms is that the world of the spirit cannot be conquered by an ignorant, cruel world. Every human being can come into contact with the indestructible essence of life and power, and this union with the Tao gives us the faith to continue and to be compassionate at a time when pride, chauvinism and greed seem to be dominant.

What we need to do is just to become silent, and listen to the silence which is Tao.