Once, on a 40-mile backpacking trip through Olympia National Park, we came across a bear. And not just any bear – a MAMA BEAR, who, as soon as we rounded the corner and scared her (very large) cub into a tree, stood up and HISSED at us! I almost died of fright.
What saved us? The Tao Te Ching.
Earlier that morning, over a humble breakfast of oatmeal and raisins, we read from the Tao Te Ching (an ancient text written in the 4th century BCE). It describes “the Way” – the essential, unnamable process of the universe, as applied to one’s moral and ethical character.
That fateful morning we read from Chapter 52:
Seeing into darkness is clarity.
Knowing how to yield is strength.
Use your own light
and return to the source of light.
This is called practicing eternity.
You’re supposed to stand your ground with mountain lions, but not black bears. We both said “YIELD!!!” and slowly backed away, hearts racing.
Years later I named my abstract painting explorations my Visual Taoism Collection. Painting them feels a bit like meeting that Mama Bear… slightly terrifying and definitely awe-inspiring. The best result depends on succumbing to a greater force. The flowing, effortless “Way” must eventually take over for the paintings to be born.
These works are all about flow, spontaneous expression, and the natural way of the universe.
Visit the whole collection here. I love creating these abstract pieces. They complement my more realistic, intricate work, and give me a place to stay loose and explore.
xo, Meghan Oona
P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights! Have you ever see a bear in the wild?!