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Angles against lavender sky
Flung far across heaven’s vault.
Unfettered, swallows
Circle back to the nest.

Swallows are famous for their daring speed and the unpredictable paths that they take in flight. Yet no matter how far they fly, they circle back to their nests.

The idea of returning is significant for all of us. We must work, explore, travel, and make our achievements in life. No matter how much we strain and how wide we wander, we all need some lodestone, some center from which to operate. For some of us, this is a place, a home. For others, it is merely withdrawal into our own hearts.

Followers of Tao believe that there is a core spirit to which each of us should return. This core spirit is increasingly obscured by our own thoughts and the complexity of civilization. All education, while a necessary evil, is a stain upon the primal soul. Therefore, returning is a process of simplification that throws off the unnecessary problems of socialization. One gradually peels back the layers and makes one’s way back to the unsullied, pure inner person. The time to do this is long, and one needs a great deal of guidance and self-cultivation to achieve it, but until one returns to the natural state, one cannot truly hope to be one with Tao.

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