Thursday, December 23, 2010

From the Tao Te Ching to autism

There was a post on WrongPlanet about how autistics can accept who we are. This was my response:

Even if you do not hold to Taoism, you can still take wisdom in these words. Much as the Golden Rule still holds for those who are not Christian, these sayings can help you as you go about your life:

There is no greater offense than harboring desires.
There is no greater disaster than discontent.
There is no greater misfortune than wanting more.

Hence, if you are content
You will always have enough.


Others are social. I am not. I don't care to be, so it does not bother me.

Others are rich. I am not. I don't care to be, so it does not bother me.

Others have careers. I do not. I don't care to have one, so it does not bother me.

An interesting thing happened to me the other day: My sister was visiting and she pointed out that the people around her managed to get so interested in a particular thing, such as painting or dancing... and she wished that she was capable of becoming so interested in something. It's extraordinary that people talk about autistics having such trouble going through life, and yet she envies that particular trait. In fact, I have had many people come and tell me that they envy me for a particular autistic trait I have.

Knowing others is to be clever.
Knowing yourself is to be enlightened.
Overcoming others requires force.
Overcoming yourself requires strength.


I know who I am, so I do not reach for things that I cannot grasp. I build my strength, so I might overcome those troubles I wish to overcome.

Therefore, the True Person benefits yet expects no reward,
does the work and moves on.
There is no desire to be considered better than others.


Again: Do not look to others for your own fulfillment. Do not worry what others have. Do you think your cat cares for a career because you or others have one? Does it wish to live to be 100 simply because you might?

It seeks only food, water, and a place to sleep. And the occasional petting.

Both favor and disgrace bring fear.
Great trouble comes from having a body.

What is meant by:
"Both favor and disgrace bring fear"?
Favor leads to a fear of losing it and
disgrace leads to a fear of greater trouble.

What is meant by:
"Great trouble comes from having a body"?
The reason you have trouble is that
you are self-conscious.
No trouble can befall a self-free person.

Therefore, surrender your self-interest.
Love others as much as you love yourself.
Then you can be entrusted with all things under heaven.


I think one of the reasons why we have such trouble is because of experiences in our past. We remember the disgrace, and we fear we are at our limit. Let go of past mistakes, however, and move forward. Make those mistakes again, and don't worry about how people will react to them. If they ridicule you, fine. Do not feel you need their friendship. If they accept you in spite of them, that is fine, too. If they love you for them, then do not worry about trying to please them further.

It is your desires that lead you to ruin. Desires for things you see others have, and desires for things you feel you need. Let go of those desires and you will be at peace with yourself and with others.

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