Trusting the Untrustworthy

August 14, 2019

Shambhavi riffs on a passage from Chapter 49 of the Dao De Jing about hearts, minds, and the real nature of trust. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

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I wanted to talk about the teaching I posted earlier this week. It’s just so beautiful. This is the one about trust from the Dao De Jing. That’s the central text of Daoism. This is loosely from Liu Ming’s translation. He’s the teacher who taught me how to do divination, and he died a couple of years ago. He lived in Oakland, California for the whole time I knew him, since around 2001.

Liu Ming taught the Dao De Jing for 30 years, maybe more, and he created a translation of it. So it’s really not a literal word-for-word translation. It’s not not that. But it’s really an intertwining of a literal translation and his decades of engagement with the text. So it’s very much a practitioner/teacher’s interpretation.

“The adept has no fixed heart-mind.” Heart and mind are the same if we’re talking about the wisdom heart. It’s not the brain. There are a lot of different ways we could understand that. One of the ways is that the adept has no fixed sense of self in the ordinary sense. So we have a feeling of self, or selfness, that comes from everywhere. It comes from reality. That’s never going to go away. But this fixed sense of self that we have—our small sense of self—the adept doesn’t have that.

I also came across this wonderful sculptor today. He creates portraits of people, animals, and landscapes. When you’re looking at the sculptures, you see the portrait, the landscape, or the animal. But as you walk around it, you see that the whole thing is made up of this collection of junk.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.