The Emily Dickinson of Tao

The Tao Te Ching, a work of art as far removed from New England in location and language as can possibly be, is well-known to Western society nonetheless.

Chapter 47 of the Tao reminds me of Emily Dickinson:

Without opening your door,

you can know the whole world.

Without looking out your window,

you can understand the way of the Tao.

The more knowledge you seek,

the less you will understand.

The Master understands without leaving,

sees clearly without looking,

accomplishes much without doing anything.

Others have linked Emily Dickinson with Eastern religion and this passage from the Tao seems to prove the point and fits her well. She kept to her small room, but she explored metaphysical depths in her poetry.

Dickinson probably never heard of the Tao or read much about Eastern beliefs (outside of an exposure to transcendentalism), but she traveled that path. And she did it without wandering much past her New England garden.


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