Saturday, August 29, 2009


I understand about indecision, but I don't care if I get behind.
People living in competition. All I want is to have my peace of mind.
- Boston (Peace of Mind)

The endless chatter in our brains. The constant struggle in our hearts. Make it stop!!! This never-ending battle for brain peace is why many of us turn to blogs like this. Something – anything – to soothe the savage beast inside of us.

Meditation is a wonderful way to calm the waters. Even if it's just five minutes of silence in the morning or before bed. Turn off the endless chattter of the TV, music, books... whatever. Let your mind settle.

But remember, a calm mind isn't necessarily a peaceful mind. That can only come from ACCEPTANCE. We need to face the fact that most questions we ask simply don't have a True Answer. All answers are relative to your individual reality. In fact, you could say YOU are the true answer.

Let me put it another way: There's no single Truth. There's no single Way. It's different for everyone and different on any given day. And since there is no universal truth, there is no ultimate quest. And since there is no ultimate quest, there's no real struggle.

You are where you are and you believe what you believe because that is your truth in the moment. Accept yourself. Stop judging yourself. Like it says on the maps: You are HERE.

So take a moment and shut off outside influences and still your mind. Let the only sound be the sound of your deep breathing. Feel the chatter die down in your head (if you're just starting out, this will take awhile. That's how wound up our minds are.)

Stop struggling to find the Truth. Just relax. You're already there.

Practice not-doing, and everything will fall into place. (v.30)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Said woman take it slow. It'll work itself out fine.
All we need is just a little patience.
- Guns N' Roses (Patience)

Patience is the first step toward living in the moment. It's the hand brake that slows down our focus on the future. It's the dipped toe in the cold waters of unattachment. It's the training wheels on our Zen bike.

Patience allows us to loosen our grip on our need to control a situation. To have patience is to accept that we can't control when something is going to happen. We can still fool ourselves into believing we have control over the's just a matter of time. Patience, in that case, is misused as a stall tactic.

Patience is not about waiting for a particular outcome to occur. A better use of patience is to wait for a natural moment to act (note that I didn't say the perfect moment to act - there is no such thing). A master has the patience to not force a situation or an outcome but to sit back and watch as the right opportunity unfolds naturally before him or her.

This doesn't mean to just sit around and wait for life to drop in your laugh for snuggle time. It means to have the patience to trust your instincts and act based on the right action (in the present moment), not to force and action to grab at a desired outcome.

In other words, patience is not just about the timing of an outcome. It's also about waiting for the right outcome to present itself. It's about not forcing a situation to achieve a particular outcome.

Of course, who has time for that these days? ;)

Do you have the patience to wait
Til the mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Til the right action arises by itself? (v. 15)

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I never lost one minute of sleep worrying about the way things might have been.
- Creedence Clearwater Revival (Proud Mary)

Regret is the act of passing judgement on a past action. But just as you should forgive others, you need to forgive yourself. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Of course, the paradox is that it is what you learned from the past action that is now making you regret it. Mistakes are how we learn. You have to touch a flame to learn it is hot. But you can't go through life wishing you had never touched it.

The problem with regret is that it keeps you focused on the past, which isn't real anyway. When you find yourself looking back in regret, catch yourself. Stop. Take a deep breath. And ask yourself if there is anything you can do in the present moment to correct your past action. If there is, do it. If there isn't, let it go.

As hard as it may be, you have to surrender control. Remind yourself constantly: Everything is as it should be. What's done is done.

Don't spend so much of your life looking backwards that you can't take advantage of every single PRESENT moment you have.

The world is sacred. It can't be improved.
If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it. (v. 29)

Saturday, June 6, 2009


You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
– Bob Dylan (Subterranean Homesick Blues)

For a lesson in intuition, take a large glass or pitcher of water and slowly pour it on a rough, inclined surface. Now watch the flow of water as it travels down the incline. It will meander, pool around obstacles before flowing around them, take paths in small crevices unnoticed before.

Intuition is like that. It's our internal compass through life. We all have it. We only need to listen to it. Think of it like any other muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

The catch is, intuition has such a thick foreign accent it's sometimes hard to understand. If you've ever tried to communicate with someone in a foreign country, you know that you have to hear beyond the language. You have to watch gestures and facial expressions to understand what they're saying. Same thing holds true with intuition.

But how do you hear it? First off, it's best to clear your mind. This is why meditation or times of silence are so important. You have to let the muddy waters settle before you can see the jewels beneath the surface.

Here are some quick Intuition Indicators: If it's telling you YES, you'll sometimes feel an expansion inside. Or a release. A good feeling. If it's telling you NO, you'll tighten up. You'll feel a sense of anxiety. We've all felt intuition talking to us. But we're afraid to always trust it.

Pay attention to these feelings and follow them. Then pay attention to what happens. And give it time. Intuition exists in each step, not in the total journey. You may think you're going in the wrong direction but over time you'll see that you were really just going around an unseen obstacle.  (Disclaimer: if your intuition always takes you down the wrong path, you may be hearing Conditioning, not Intuition. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference. And only experience can help you learn which is which.) 

Taoists trust in the natural flow of life. Intuition is the language of that natural flow. Trust it as you trust the sun to rise every morning. The more you do, the more you'll hear it and more confidence you'll have in it. Its thick accent will even become easier to understand.

The Master observes the world
But trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is open as the sky. (v. 12)

Friday, May 29, 2009


Resistance is futile!!!
- The Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation

One of the basic - and most helpful - lessons I've taken from the Tao Te Ching is the concept of adapting. To go with the flow. To bend with the wind. To move with the groove.

Walking through the woods after a bad storm teaches a quick lesson in the futility of resistance. Even the mightiest tree can not always stand up to the forces of nature. Old trees are rigid and don't sway with the wind. Their branches snap off. Young trees, on the other hand, are soft and flexible. They move with the forces that blow against them. And when the winds stop, they are able to bounce back.

You can't stop change. You can't keep bad things from happening in your life. So what can you do? Simply bend with it.

Stop wasting your energy resisting every force that blows against you. Be flexible and move with it, using the force of the negative energy to steer it away (the martial arts use this concept very effectively).

When a strong wind blows at you, don't stand tall and firm and proud, taking the blow full force. You'll only wind up on your back. Instead, lean into the wind or turn away from it. By doing this, you're not letting the wind "win," you're letting it pass so you can continue on your journey.

Taking a force head on gives you the least control. Yielding puts you in the best position to stay on your feet and have the most control (of course, you can't really control it - but you can influence it).

Or as Kris Kristofferson put it: "You don't paddle against the current, you paddle with it. And if you get good at it, you throw away the oars."

Return is the movement of the Tao.
Yielding is the way of the Tao. (v. 40)

Thursday, May 21, 2009


When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble. Give a whistle!
And this'll help things turn out for the best. And...
Always look on the bright side of life.
- Monty Python (Always Look On The Bright Side of Life)

The pursuit of happiness. It's right there in the Declaration of Independence. One of our inalienable rights. The founding fathers were smart, but they were setting us up for failure on this one.

Because if we are constantly in pursuit of happiness, we will never find it. Happiness isn't a destination, it's the journey itself. If you're living with the mindset of "I'll be happy as soon as I get this" or "as soon as I finish this..." you'll never find it.

The key to happiness is simple. Just be happy. Admittedly, that's extremely hard to do. But only because we think it should be hard. And because of our expectation of what happiness is - which, frankly, is pretty unrealistic. It's just an emotion. It will come and go. Just like being sad. Or tired. Or gassy.

Happiness is not a process. It's not a reward. It's simply a state of mind. And, lucky for us, that's the one thing we have somewhat control over - regardless of our external circumstance.

You're not happy because of things you have (or don't have) or where you're at or who is in your life. You're just happy. Don't give it a reason.  

Focus on being happy instead of finding happiness. Or as Nathaniel Hawthorne put it:

Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued,
Is always beyond our grasp,
But which, if you sit down quietly,
May alight upon you.

Your state of mind always defines your environment. So choose a happy state of mind. Close your eyes and put a smile on your mind. And when you find yourself in your happy place, enjoy it! Because when you're there, things just feel... happier!

Be content with what you have;
Rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
The whole world belongs to you. (v. 44)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


What goes up, must come down. Spinning wheel got to go round. 
- Blood, Sweat & Tears (Spinning Wheel)

In Taoism, duality is represented by Yin and Yang. These two forces are eternally bonded together, constantly revolving and evolving into one another. They are mutually dependent - one simply cannot exist without the other.

It's like an electric current that needs both a positive and negative charge to power a light bulb. Or two magnets, each of an opposite charge.

As you push the magnets toward each other, you can feel the force between them, pushing them apart. If you try to force them together too fast, they will fly apart. If you hold them too far apart, they lose their identity. You no longer feel the magnetic energy. They are just two rocks.

This "dynamic opposition" exists between every two extremes. And how you balance these two forces has a major impact on... well, everything. You have to learn to hold your two magnets close enough to feel and use the energy between them. But not too close or not too far apart.

Recognize that both forces are necessary to exist. Instead of trying to reach the extreme of anything (extreme wealth, total happiness, no fear, etc.), it's better to seek the balance between the two opposites. Moderation. The middle way. 

Hard to do? It's easier than you think. Because it's the natural way. You must learn to trust your intuition. Know when you're moving too close to an extreme. Be aware of opposing forces and how they balance each other out. Everything is in constant flow. Day follows night, good needs bad, hard becomes easy. Recognize this flow and ride it. Just as you can't force the day to last longer than it really is, you cannot force the natural cycle of life. 

What goes around, comes around. Over and over and over.

All things have their backs to the female
And stand facing the male.
When male and female combine,
All things achieve harmony. (v. 42)

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Well, you know when you're young,
There's such a distance between you and your family.
Just can't see things from the same point of view.
- Bruce Springsteen (Family Song)

There's a Chinese proverb: "When the family is harmonious, everything prospers." Your family is your home base. Your source of strength and support. If there is dissent in the home, it will spill over into other areas of your life. And make no mistake. There is always, inevitably, some form of dissent in the home.

The Tao Te Ching doesn't specifically address family issues, but it does offer advice on governing nations and leading armies (and isn't that what being in a family is sometimes like?).

The main lesson? Don't rule with an iron fist. Allow the members of your tribe to grow in their own way. Guide but don't force. Caution but don't prohibit. Recognize that every family member is a unique human being with their own individual perspective and celebrate that.

Also, remember that a family is not a stagnant entitiy. It's an organic, ever-changing living organism. As children (or parents) grow and relationships change, the family dynamic should also shift and morph. Like water moving from a tall vase to a large, flat bowl. Same water, different shape.

You have to be able to open and adaptable to these changes - mainly because you can't do a thing about them.

And remember, harmony isn't produced by everyone singing the exact same notes, it comes from different notes complimenting each other.

Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
And the world will govern itself. (v. 57)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I get knocked down but I get up again. You're never going to keep me down.
- Chumbawamba (Tubthumping)

It's a cold, hard fact of life that things are going to happen in your life that knock you flat on your back. So it goes without saying that one of the keys to life is to learn to bounce back from these setbacks.

Remember the children's toy, Weebles? Rounded at the bottom, you would tip them or roll them but they'd always playfully bounce back. "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down."

When life pokes at you, be a Weeble.

That doesn't mean resisting the forces blowing at you. A Weeble doesn't stand solid when you poke it. It yields, moving with the force and using that energy to bounce back. To do this, it has to be smooth and rounded, not jagged and flat. That gives it the flexibility it needs. They're also weighted in their base. By staying centered, they have the resiliency to bounce back.

Go with the flow. Yield to forces that poke at you. Stay centered in the Tao. Trust that things will work out (they always do). Remind yourself of the constant circle of life: Day follows night, calm follows a storm, good times follow bad. There is a constant dance between the two. Without this movement, there is no life.

When life gets you down, close your eyes, take a relaxing deep breath and whisper to yourself: "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down."

Whoever is planted in the Tao will not be rooted up.
Whoever embraces the Tao will not slip away. (v. 54)

Sunday, May 3, 2009


If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?
- Sheryl Crowe (If It Makes You Happy)

The word pleasure conjures up a cornucopia of delights. It's defined by Mr. Webster as a state of gratification - a source of delight or joy. That's different for all of us. But we all like it. :)

Generally, we get pleasure from things defined by the senses: eating, laughing with friends, love, sex. These (and many other) sources of pleasure are all wonderful things. But too much emphasis on them can create problems, like obesity and addictions.

That's because pleasure is a temporary feeling. We enjoy it when we have it but then it goes away. And if your happiness is defined by pleasure, you feel empty when you're without it. So you go for it again. And around and around it goes. Pleasure. Emptiness. Pleasure. Emptiness. Pleasure. Emptiness. 

We get caught up in a never-ending pursuit of pleasure and spend our life running in circles. Like a dog chasing its tail.

And, because sources of pleasure are not necessarily sources of happiness, we have to keep upping the ante. Like a junkie needing more of a drug. Our hunger grows but we can never be satisfied. Because, as with all things, too much of a good thing is... well, you know.

That doesn't make pleasure bad. It just needs to be put in perspective. Aim for balance. Practice moderation (conveniently defined by your own limits or perpective of what's extreme). It's OK to indulge your pleasures. Just try not to overindulge too often. 

This life offers an all-you-can-eat salad bar of pleasures for you to enjoy. Enjoy what you want. Just remember to see them for what they are. Fleeting moments of satisfaction. 

Happiness is found in the Miracle of the Moment. That's the pleasure of living in the present.

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. (v. 9)

Thursday, April 30, 2009


It just doesn't matter! It just doesn't matter!
- Tripper (Bill Murray) in Meatballs

Nothing in life is permanent: buildings, relationships, achievements, possessions, disasters...nothing. We're all just building sand castles while the tide comes in.

And since everything is fleeting and going to change anyway, we need to remember to not take it all too seriously.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't care or try. Doing your best is part of the process. But we have to be able to take a step back and remember that, ultimately, it's all out of our control.

Revere life but treat it with irreverence. Or, to put it another way, lighten up, people!

Silliness is a wonderful way to remind yourself to relax the white-knuckle grip your ego has on your self-perception, your actions and your life.

Next time you find yourself getting too worked up about something, stop what you're doing, flap your arms and cluck like a chicken. It's a great way to interrupt your pattern and a great way to put everything in perspective.

Even if it doesn't break your pattern, it's sure to give the rest of us a good laugh. And that's worth something, right?  ;)

The Master never expects results;
Thus he is never disappointed.
He is never disappointed;
Thus his spirit never grows old. (v. 55)

Monday, April 27, 2009


Cherish the certainty of now.
- Faith No More (The Real Thing)

The expression "to live in the moment" is so overused, it's become a cliché. Yet it remains an unattainable goal for almost all of us. 

That's because our minds are based on thoughts. And thoughts exist out of the moment. They are made up of memories of the past and worries about the future. These thoughts are so pervasive that they monopolize our lives...and overshadow our present moments.

Like John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Starting this week, let's vow to start exercising momentness (myself included). It's not that hard - simply a matter of breaking bad habits.

Give yourself an hourly reminder. Post it on your computer. Set an alert on your PDA or computer or watch. Give yourself some type of invasive interruptor to remind you to snap back in the moment. 

You don't have to stop what you're doing. Just pay attention to where you are. 

If you're talking to someone, truly listen. Watch their body language. Stop thinking of what you're going to say next. Just listen.

If you're working, stop and really notice what you're working on. What is the work? How are you doing it? Don't think about the finished product. Or what others will say about your work. Just concentrate on the process.

If you're walking or driving, don't think about the destination. Notice where you are. How are you walking? Feel your feet hit the ground. How fast are you driving? Feel the tires rolling over the pavement.

Just take a moment and bask in your moment. It's the only thing that is truly, completely real. Don't miss it.

I'd love to hear how this works out for you. Share your experience, frustration, joys, etc. in the comments section to this entry. We're all members of OOMA (Out Of the Moment Anonymous). And we can do this. One moment at a time. :)

The Master gives himself up to whatever the moment brings. (v. 50)

Saturday, April 25, 2009


If you do what you've always done,
You'll always get what you've always got.
- Aerosmith (Get A Grip)

Just as we stretch our bodies to keep us limber and less susceptible to injury, we should also continuously stretch our minds. 

The more rigid we become in our thoughts and beliefs, the less likely we will be able to adapt to new situations (of which we will never be able to avoid). Certainty can quickly turn into stubbornness...and before you know it, a curmudgeon is born.

We need to be willing to bend and change as our world changes around us. It's not just good advice, it's crucial for our very survival.

Remember, there is no absolute truth. There is ALWAYS a different way to do just about anything.  If something isn't getting the results you want, maybe it's time to change what you're doing. Look at other options. Listen to other points of view. Learn a new skill. 

S-T-R-E-T-C-H your mind so you can bend and bob and weave effortlessly through the never-ending dance of life.

The hard and still will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail. (v. 76)

Friday, April 24, 2009


Black and white it should be, 
But shades of grey are the colors I see.
- Billy Joel (Shades of Grey)

Western philosophies and religions are based largely on the duality of nature. Good versus Evil. Heaven and Hell. Good Cop, Bad Cop.

But the world is never that cut and dry, is it?

The Yin/Yang symbol reminds that there are no absolutes. It's not half black and half white. The two colors flow into each other in a constant, revolving state of motion. Even when one color is most dominant, there's a spot of the other color smack dab in the middle of it.

Everything flows into the other. Both "sides" need each other to exist. EVERYTHING is relative.

We like to think the world is black and white because it would be easier for us to understand - and control (there's that bad word again). But life just doesn't work that way.

Good and evil co-exist in everything. Which means there is no REAL good and evil.

One man's right is another man's wrong. And definitions are relative, depending on where you live and when you lived (it used to be "good" to burn a witch at the stake, with evidence of nothing more than the person being left-handed).

Live your life as best you can - and see the world through the eyes of compassion, not judgement.

The Tao doesn't take sides;
It gives birth to good and evil.
The Master doesn't take sides;
She welcomes both saints and sinners. (v. 5)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Don't give up. You still have us.
Don't give up. We don't need much of anything.
Don't give up. 'Cause somewhere there's a place where we belong.
- Peter Gabriel (Don't Give Up)

You ever been to the Grand Canyon? Besides being a majestic beauty, it offers a valuable lesson in perseverance.

For over 2 billion years, the Colorado River has slowly carved this monument of stone. It didn't blast its way through or explode through the rocks. It simply stayed true to its water self.

Finding its own way, traveling the path of least resistance, always headed downwards. Never forcing its way through. And never giving up

That doesn't mean it stubbornly stuck to a straight and narrow path. It adapted (and still does). The mighty river bends and curves and widens and narrows. It rests in pools until it gathers enough strength to move on. But it never gives up.

Life can be as hard as rock sometimes. To get through it, we must remain as soft as water. To persevere, we must adapt along the way. And never give up.

Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it. (v. 78)

Monday, April 20, 2009


Working for a living, living and a' working.
I'm taking what they're giving 'cuz I'm working for a living.
- Huey Lewis & the News (Working For A Living)

If you're like most of us, you spend the majority of your waking hours at work. And if you're even more like most of us, your job is not necessarily your life's true passion. It's a job. A paycheck. A means to an end. But that doesn't mean you have to be miserable, does it?

You can find joy in any job simply by living in the moment. Giving your full attention to the task at hand. No matter what you have to do, no matter how challenging or mundane it may be, just do your best.

Don't worry about being the best. Don't get caught up in office politics or live in fear of what others think. Don't spend your days fighting or complaining about the job process or the corporate culture. If it was all easy and fun, they wouldn't have to pay you.

Remember, you have a job. You're not your job.

Do your best and walk away. It's the only thing you can control. Let everyone else worry about the other stuff.

If you want to accord with the Tao,
Just do your job, then let go. (v. 24)

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Hope. It's all that I have.
The calm in the storm. It's right where I am.
- We Shot the Moon (Hope)

Hope appears to be such a positive sentiment, right? We all want to have hope.

But hope has a downside....

When you think about it, hope is based on a sense of lack. We hope for something better. So that would mean what we have now isn't good. Hope can only exist with a negative perception of the present. How's that for a paradox?

And, yes, at least hope is an optimistic take on the future, but it's still future-focused. Which means it's not real. All that is real is right now. So instead of hoping for a better tomorrow, find hope in the moment. Right now.

That's not to say we shouldn't strive for better things. Just don't pin your hopes on the future. It's all relative, after all. What we hope for today may not be what we want tomorrow.  (Be careful what you wish for.)

True hope springs eternal in the present moment, not the future. If you spend all your time staring at the horizon, you'll miss the flowers right in front of you (and may trip over a big rock).

Hope and fear are both phantoms
That arise from thinking of the self. (v. 13)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, life goes on.
- The Beatles (Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da)

Of all our emotions, worry is easily the least useful. In fact, it's of no use at all. It serves absolutely no purpose.

It accomplishes nothing and causes unnecessary anxiety. And the time you spend worrying could be time spent solving the problem you're worrying about.

It's bad for your health. From ulcers to migraines to nail-biting – worry takes its toll on our bodies.

The problem with worry is that it focuses on an imaginary future instead of the very real present moment. Worry is, literally, all in our minds.

It's a control issue, really. Our mind/ego worries because it feels it has no control over the outcome. And guess what? It's right.

Taoists believe that everything follows the natural order of things, which means everything is in its proper place and will work out the way it's supposed to work out - regardless of our interference.  You HAVE to trust in this. 

When you catch yourself worrying, remind yourself that it's all gonna be OK. Relax your body, take a few deep breaths. Focus on the things you can do right now and let the future take care of itself.

It always does.

Stop trying to control
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
And the world will govern itself. (v. 57)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Seasons don't fear the reaper.
- Blue Oyster Cult

If you think about it, every negative thought or behavior is rooted in fear. Worry is the fear of the future. Guilt is the fear of your past. Anger is fear that you've been attacked. But what do we really have to be afraid of?

The worst-case scenario of any scenario is that our situation will change.

Want to make yourself indestructible? Release the need to control your life. Let go of the outcome of your actions. Trust your life to the natural process, which is never wrong.

When you were a kid, were you afraid of a bogeyman under your bed? But when you turned the light on, it would always disappear, wouldn't it?

Turn a light on the fear in your lives. Ask yourself: "What's most likely to happen?" Or better yet, "What's the worst that could really happen?" Many times, what we really fear is simply the unknown.

Finally, channel your fear into action. Fear can be a great motivator as long as you don't let it paralyze you. 

And remember, in the end, there's nothing to be afraid of.

When we don't see the self as self
What do we have to fear? (v. 13)

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes.
Nothing remains quite the same.
- Jimmy Buffet (Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes)

If there is one thing you can count on in life, it's change. NOTHING ever stays the same. Heck, even our body generates new cells and sheds old ones so fast that we're literally a different person every single day!

Yet change is the one force we tend to resist the most. We even fear it. Talk about spitting into the wind.

Try as we might to resist it, change is inevitable. So instead of fighting and fretting it (Which never seems to work. In fact, it only leads to unnecessary stress.), why not embrace it? 

Look around. Notice the changing pattern in everything around you. A seed becomes a plant that becomes a sapling that becomes a small tree that becomes a mighty oak that sheds its leaves that makes fresh soil... and so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby.

Life is Change. Change is Life.

The waves of change are gonna keep crashing down on you. We can either let it pull us under or jump on top and body surf 'em in.

Trying to control the future
Is like trying to take the master carpenter's place.
When you handle the master carpenter's tools,
Chances are that you'll cut your hand.
- Tao Te Ching, verse 74

Welcome to NOW

Thousands of years ago, so the story goes, a wise old Taoist master jotted down 81 passages of wisdom before disappearing into the wilderness. These notes are what we know as the Tao Te Ching pronounced Dow day jing).

The story is a bit more involved than that and whether it is even true or not is open for debate. But it really doesn't matter. Someone or several someones wrote something down somewhere at some time or another. Regardless, there is no denying the text is real and filled with incredible knowledge and insight you can use to help live your life. 

If you've read the Tao Te Ching or any of the other classic Taoist texts, you've experienced the poetic and ethereal nature of its passages. They are beautiful, paradoxical and, many times, elusive.

The irony is that Taoist philosophy couldn't be more simple. The word "Tao" is used to represent the true Source, the ultimate Way. It's the essence and energy all around us, permeating everything and in everything. It IS everything. Grounded firmly in the natural flow of life, the lessons of Taoism can be found simply by watching a bird in a tree or a plastic bag dancing in the wind (as in the movie American Beauty?).

And while Taoism is an Eastern philosophy, it has quietly permeated Western thought for many years. It can be found in such nuggets of wisdom as "go with the flow," "use the Force, Luke,"...even "shit happens."

That's why I've chosen phrases or quotes from popular songs and movies as a framework for the postings on this blog. It not only helps put Taoism in a modern context, it also reminds you how much Taoist philosophy you already know. 

Please feel free to add other lyrics or movie quotes that come to mind as you read the postings. My references are limited to what I've heard or seen, but I'm sure there are many, many more.