Daily Tao / 223 – Charlatans


He sits on a throne with smug confidence.
Skin in bright gold, eyes are reptilian marbles.
Lips are smeared with honey, tongue is virile red.
He exhorts his followers to purge inhibitions.
“Whatever you feel is Tao, and should be indulged.”
They scream, they sob, they dance madly.
“Yes! Yes!” he exclaims. “Whatever you do is Tao!”

There are all too many charlatans in spirituality these days. If you meet such self-proclaimed masters, you must be wary. If the way they present to you seems easy, it is probably false. Why should spirituality be any different than any other endeavor? Can you become a ballet dancer easily? Did you learn your job easily? Was it simple to graduate from school? Everything takes effort.

It does not stand to reason that spirituality will be established simply by sitting in the presence of a master. Yet people continue to fall victim to this logic. In mass gatherings, a mild hysteria and a herd mentality are cleverly exploited. A teacher will tell you that whatever you do is holy. Whatever is said, though, the teacher cannot claim to give you Tao.

Tao is only gained by the self. Masters are hard to find, and following the road takes solitary discipline. It takes daily work, so how could you get it at a rally? Indulgence is not Tao. True Tao cannot be gained without understanding and strength.