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Tao Te Ching Day 1: Infinite Imagination (with audio)

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Link will take you to the audio of the article: https://anchor.fm/matthew-whiteside/episodes/Tao-Te-Ching-Day-1-Infinite-Imigination-euebh5

A person sits quietly in meditation. The unmoving, unchanging expression on their face, disguises the universe being created inside of them.

A world of chaos, and beauty stirs around them, as they sit and breathe in the invisible life force.

I have spent a fair amount of time reading and working to understand the Tao Te Ching, and in that time I have realized that my understanding does not result from me thinking more diligently about the text. Instead, it is a practice of feeling the text with out sense’s.

Today, on the day of my birth, I am embarking on a 365 day journey into the Tao.

Each day I will read the book, and then do my best to interpret my understanding of the book. I do not propose to be an expert of any sort and my only hope is to deepen my own understanding of the source of creation.

I hope you find what you are looking for here, and I hope that we all let go of what we desire a little more each day.

Day 1

I am spoken to in side of an empty room. I am not even present in this room, yet the room is created for me.

Day one of reading the Tao, brought up a simple thought, IMAGINATION. The Tao Te Ching says, “the Tao that can be named is not the true Tao.”

I will be honest a lot of the book is confusing as hell, but I believe that is the point. To break our minds of its old pattern recognition and see the true pattern in the Universe.

The Tao I believe is speaking to the formless, form of imagination. When reading the book, I had the distinct vision of the big bang as the universe began. However, this vision was different, it wasn’t simply matter exploding from nothing, it was a person sitting down to meditate. In the darkness of my mind, I saw into the darkness of their mind and from that nothingness, from the stillness of a moment of meditation sprang forth all of creation.

If anyone has ever meditated, they can speak to this sense of thoughts exploding to life almost at an unfathomable rate. Most people do not make it past the first explosion before standing and getting on with their day, and rightfully so.

The big bang that appears in our mind during a moment of meditation is seismic and can in many cases shake the foundation of our personal Universes as we are shown all the terrible, horrible, nasty things that transpire in the past, and future.

The beauty of the vision I had was that, the bang of creation, or imagination does not stop once we arise from meditation. On the contrary, the truth of the matter is that we were and are The Bang. No amount of doing anything will take us from the source of that creation.

We are the imagination.

However, if we are unwilling to allow ourselves to deal with the hell of the moment of creation as trillions and trillions of particles and atoms collide to create something new, in a hell storm of fire and destruction, we keep our minds in that time and space so to speak.

The Tao, like the imagination expands, never ceasing. It contains and welcomes all thing’s, so say’s the Tao Te Ching. In which case we can focus on the bang, or we can focus on the continued ordering of the expansive chaos.

Talk about a brain full.

Where our focus flows our energy goes. So, if we find ourselves in the chaos, realize that we only must sit and see past the chaos to the glory of all the beautiful creation.

The lesson I received today was simply to exist through the chaos and know that all things flow to the Tao. So, as I remain still in the midst of the storm, I am being carried to gentler waters.

But, I don’t want anyone to try and understand this with their mind. The point is to feel it. To feel the chaos at the beginning of your silent meditation and watch as it all fades and orders it self the longer we sit and breathe in the silence.

To me this is understanding the Tao, not in mind but in practice. The Tao Te Ching, also says that you can not try and be one with the Tao, you just are.

I feel that there is so much more to say here about day one. The interesting thing to note also, is that like the expansiveness of the imagination, the ideas about the Tao continue to flow unending for eternity.

Thanks for reading, the Tao is yours.

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A Darkness Building (Audio) #writingcommunity #poetry

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The loss of all life inside the estuary brought about more minions of death and doom than he was able to handle.

His instincts had led him down this road, fighting every demon with righteous wrath and a Feral call to the God of heaven that appeared before him in his darkest moments.

All the sweat all the blood.  All the loss and heartache that had strengthened his resolve had burned a hole in him that was hidden by rage and torn open by fear.

The road was in utter darkness for the way ahead had no end… no finish line.

The warrior’s sword slick with the sinew and death of the battles freshly won only to find more destruction with the next swing.

It was tiring, the endless darkness went on forever only to be ignited by the sheen of the blade as it made contact again with the next.  The spray of blood brought fresh waves of heat and nausea to the worn down warrior.

It would be over soon, he couldn’t continue in this fight for much longer as he poured soul and sword into the oncoming destruction.

He knew there was nothing he could do.  That the only way was to give up because the night would never end.  It was never meant to end, he was never meant to survive.

Yet he strikes with all the fury and fear of a man with a different destiny.  Of a man that believes there is a purpose to the slaughter.

He believes he can win even though there is no winning.  There is only darkness and it will swallow him as soon as he submits.  And then he will be free.

He does not see the freedom in the submission he only sees the failure.

As the Warrior stumbles and slips, the floor wet from the battles.

He trips and falls upon the ground as the minions gather to devour the kill they have been craving.  The one that thought his light could break through.

The warrior who fought for years and years never sleeping or eating, never stopping.  Beating back the plague of darkness that was born only to end him.

Now he stops unmoving save for the heavy falls of his breath from his ragged chest weathered and beaten from the unforgiving battle.

The light lost from his sword now taken in only by the darkness around him.

And

he

is

gone.

A foolish fight, by a foolish man.  To believe he could change anything.  His fight was for nothing and now he joins the nothing.

Because never was he more than nothing.

For all his belief and all his life, he could not overcome the night.

Tao Te Ching Day 45: Greed

I see us looking out our windows. Peering longingly into the haunting world full of empty promises and desperate grasping of misshapen dreams.

We were promised paradise yet we are finding dystopia. We look to the sky angrily as if it made us pour our souls down the abyss of more. We look gauntly around us for solace, another morsel to extinguish the burning pit inside of us.

No morsel will suffice and no paradise will arise around us. We slaughter millions to make for thousands. We cheer happily for the death of our “enemies” and scream in horror as our days get interrupted by crisis.

“When the world has the Tao Fast horses are retired to fertilize the grounds

When the world lacks the Tao Warhorses must give birth on the battlefield”

TTC 46 (Lin)

Do more or die! Make more or die! Buy more or die!

Violence screams through barred teeth at our willing agreement to do as we are told, lest the demon we have nourished inside ourselves gets let loose on the world around us.

Can a world be so sick that past it’s dying it lives as an undead, heartless, mindless entity only parading as human, in its evil stampede towards further destruction.

Am I alone in feeling the weight of so many in a frenzied feeding to be unbound by their shackles and once again let loose to feed on humanity. Chained by circumstance they waited. Freed by “benevolent” incentives to get back to the way things were.

Were things really good the way they were and is getting back to it necessary if it means resuming insanity?

There is no crime greater than greed

No disaster greater than discontentment

No fault greater than avarice

Thus the satisfaction of contentment is the lasting satisfaction

TTC 46 (Lin)

If it isn’t enough now, it will never be enough. If the crazed demigod living inside us has not tasted enough flesh or had its fill of pleasure, another bite won’t do the trick.

If we want something different something different must be done. If we want to feel full, we must as Lao Tzu says “allow ourselves to become empty.”

The beast was almost starved, was almost banished back to the inferno, yet it only needed the scent of a morsel of desire to come raging back to life.

We can hang on to greed as we fall off the mountain top or we can descend slowly with grace down the other side cherishing our memories of those wild things we did on the way up. We can live on in our humble acceptance that the only way forward now is down. And the only way down is to remove our own heads from the clouds.

There is enough when we decide there is enough. We are filled when we allow ourselves to be empty. Contentment exists as a reward for letting go of desire. Letting go of desire is as easy as saying thank you for the fire that burns down our home.

Happy Day!

Tao Te Ching Day 44: A Need For Stillness

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At the juncture between exhaustion and unending stress we can find a place that I like to call, “who the hell cares.” In this place we get out of the worry game and move instead to the place of let’s see what happens.

I read the headlines to only two headlines in the past 4 months.

One Said- “Gas shortage as a pipeline closes due to hackers.”

And the other was about people dying in rapid numbers from not getting the vaccine, according to projections.

Now I’m no propagandist but if you are not afraid of the future something is wrong with you. I intentionally avoid the news for this reason, but all it took was two headlines to make me feel like the end was nigh.

I want to bring peace not violence, contentment not fear. So here is what I have to say.

There is always a shortage when you feel like you need something beyond what you have.

There is always death, when the life in your body is controlled by someone else.

There is never freedom when fear is our main driver.

“Movement overcomes cold,

Stillness overcomes heat.”

TTC (Lin) 45

In fear we rush around creating more heat and exhaustion in an attempt to solve the problem all of our motion created.

In Stillness the fire of insanity and fear cools and we can again come back to center.

There will always be those that prosper off the fear and anxiety of others but remember that you alone are in control. You alone have the ability to find the Stillness that reconnects you to the source of all things.

“Knowing contentment avoids disgrace.

Knowing when to stop avoids danger.

Thus one can endure indefinitely.

TTC 44 (Lin)

We are only in danger if we run head long into the storm created by the mass hysteria of contrived fear.

This insanity that says, “Oh my God what will I do if there is no gas? What will I do if I can’t get a vaccine?

You will stay home, go for a walk, sleep more, enjoy those literally close to you and give up the love of excess playing on the fringe of our own life.

Come back to the heart, it’s all right here.

We do not have to spin out of control, we have a choice to be still. Be still my friends and see that the fear being pushed on all of us does not really do anything if we don’t let it.

Happy Day.

Tao Te Ching Day 43: A Story

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A distinguished man walks upright to the sound of his breath and the beat of his own heart. Pushing forward beyond what others would call common sense, into another realm. A realm of his own sense, born from the depths of hell and the farthest reaches of heaven.

He moved into an apocalypse stance to bring his feet to burden the weight of the end of all things. He was told never to enter into this stance unless he knew for sure that he was ready to make the ending of things, begin. It was time however, the life of all those surrounding the fortress depended now more than ever on the end of all things and less on the fortifying of the walls that held this once great kingdom together.

It was a darkness that set the curse but light that would finish the job. No man, woman or child would survive and that was the point. To survive was to live in a perpetual hell built of the deepest darkest suffering anyone could ever know. A suffering that is born of righteous intent by the individual themselves. The only sanctuary was, is, the end.

To call forth upon Heaven and Hell in a brutal embrace to lead the people away from the disgrace of all our follies. Of all our failures. To throw in the towel and end the battle. To give up the fight that we began, because we know it is the only way to true salvation.

We the many lost do not come to this undertaking with joy or misery but with a nobility of duty to the honor of what it means to be human. To know that the ending of all things will be the beginning of something new. The beginning of a grand story of all of us. A story that will be undoubtedly told for more generations than we were even here. Because to give up what we have and what we are is to accept that the life we inhabit is not our own and was not taken by us but was given to us in the greatest gift ever bestowed upon the world.

We do not fall here at the feet of all creation in a losing posture but a humble embrace of all that was, is, and will be.

The Apocalypse stance was a subtle gesture by the king of all, an angel of divine grace for he was only a humble man that asked not to fight but did so because it was required. Left others more qualified to lead but did so because he was given the charge and gave up his own life when those around him were losing theirs.

The greatest of these was once considered the weakest, softest of these and now he would do what no one else could he would bring an end to the greatest battle of all time.

The souls of humanity danced with a charged excitement knowing the play was reaching its finality and they would soon be in the green room enjoying one another for the incredible performers they all had been.

To allow this challenging display to end in such grand fashion was the only way it could happen and as the tears of the forsaken and the saved fell upon the scorched earth, He reached his hands to the sky one last time.

All light was extinguished from the earth and with a single word the whole of existence went from being to non being.

“Goodnight”

“The softest things of the world

Override the hardest things of the world.

That which has no substance

Enters into that which has no openings

From this I know the benefits of unattached actions.

Teaching without words.

The benefits of actions without attachment

Are rarely matched in the world.”

TTC 43 (Lin)

Happy Day

Tao Te Ching Day 42: Subtle Clarity

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“If one wishes to shrink it,

One must first expand it.

If one wishes to weaken it,

One must first strengthen it.

TTC 36 (Lin)

When I was a kid I loved milk and milk based products. I would consume a gallon of milk in about two days. I was a gluten. I remember a distinct moment in my childhood when milk and milk products lost their taste for me.

I was maybe 12 and was at home by myself after school, (my brother and sisters were probably there but involved in there own stuff). In the freezer was a box of 36 ice cream sandwich’s. That’s right 36, my mom had bought them for all 5 of her kids and probably for her self as well.

Well, it didn’t take long after I found those bad boys and the realization that no one was watching me that I began a quest to eat every last one. I didn’t start with the thought that I would eat them all but after that first bite I knew I was in trouble.

It wasn’t until I reached for the 20th or so ice cream sandwich that my body began to have a reaction. I was there alone in my misery stuffed to the brim with cream and sugar and I felt like I was about to die.

The amount of sugar and lactose I ingested could have killed any regular human, but I was an addict even from childhood.

I made it until there where only 2 sandwiches left before I went and passed out on the couch into a food coma assisted by the worst stomach ache I had ever had. I wish I would have thrown up, but I didn’t.

Instead what I did was create an allergic reaction for the rest of my life that anytime I eat anything with lactose I get a pretty nasty stomach issue.

What I did was similar to what I have seen parents on old tv shows do to their kids when they find them smoking. “You wanna smoke a cigarette, here smoke a carton.” Until eventually the kid pukes and swears off the stuff for life.

This is what Lao Tzu is referring to. Everything has its natural limit. If you want something to shrink allow it to grow past its natural limits and let it correct itself, because it will. Nature, uh… uh… finds a way.

“If one wishes to discard it,

One must first promote it.

If one wishes to seize it,

One must first give it.

This is called subtle clarity.”

TTC 36 (Lin)

“Subtle clarity,” is also translated as “subtle virtue,” or “subtle Te.” The clarity here is that everything has its natural harmonious state of resting, of being its self. Many times in life we see something out of whack, like a person with a bad habit, or a massive ego and we want to humble them with our own abilities.

The Tao makes it clear and actually very simple, when faced with a person or situation that is headed in a direction that we think is not good we allow them to go there, in fact we give them assistance to get there quicker, if they want, so that they can reach the point of no return, which in Taoism is return, as all things return to the Tao.

I remember all the people that tried to keep me from drinking myself to death when I was younger, they threw themselves and their lives in front of my addiction. This was a noble thing to do in many ways, and in many ways it simply delayed the inevitable.

I was going in the direction of blowing up my life with drugs and alcohol and no one was to stop me. Once I was finally left to my own devices and allowed to drink like I wanted it wasn’t long before my only options were to get help and stop drinking or die.

Of course that is always a choice any addict has, but in my experience it isn’t until we find the bottom of despair for ourselves that we can truly turn it around. Sometimes that means allowing the ones you love to hurt themselves and even die. As unfortunate as that outcome is, I have found that it is not until we meet death face to face that we can truly live.

I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, and yet I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone’s because I have discovered something greater than death, greater than fear, I have found eternal life and it exists right here, right now in this moment.

Allow things to go their own way, all things are moving towards the Tao, what is it you wish to keep them from?

“The soft and weak overcome the tough and strong.

Fish cannot leave the depths

The sharp instruments of the state

Cannot be shown to the people.”

TTC 36 (Lin)

Happy “Mothers” Day

(Love you mom, thanks for letting me go my own way. You are a True Sage)

Tao Te Ching Day 41: War II

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I feel, as of late, that I am at war with myself all over again. My knowing self, my higher self understands what must be done to end the war. But my lower self, my animal self feels that it just needs to push harder. If only we keep going forward harder eventually our opponent will break.

It is incredible that I can still fool myself into underestimating my opponent (Life). That I am some how more capable than life.

“There is a saying in the army:

I do not presume to be the master, but become the guest.

I do not dare advance an inch, but retreat a foot.”

TTC 69 (Addiss & Lombardo)

Presuming to be the master means in a lot of ways that I am now calling the shots by which reality works. I presume myself to be the master and am shown that I am only a guest. Life has an incredible way of humbling me very expediently, while I am still with my head in Life’s proverbial refrigerator.

I forgot that I was only a guest so life reminds me and Lao Tzu says, “dude I left you instructions.”

I know, stupid me.

I must always be in the posture of stepping back to allow life never assuming that I may advance even an inch. When it is time to advance I will be moved. Again, I must humble myself, lest I get humbled.

I feel humbled. I am exhausted by my war strategy of PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!

I continue to be reminded that I do not have to struggle so much. I choose to struggle because it is what I am used to. But, damn I am sick of it.

“This is called moving without moving,

Rolling up sleeves without baring your arms,

Repelling without opposing,

Wielding without a weapon.”

TTC 69 (A&L)

When I allow myself to be the guest of a great power like life or any other force which we may face, I align myself with power and thus and given the gifts of that force without needing to lift a finger.

It is like riding the river, just let go and allow the force to move me without fighting it.

I wrongly assume my enemy to be life. I fight against it and struggle to bend it to my will when with clear eyes I can see that it was given to me as a gift and not as something to be overcome, bested or conquered.

“There is no disaster greater than contempt for the enemy.

Contempt for the enemy-

What a treasure is lost!”

TTC 69 (A&L)

All that is asked of me is to see my “enemy” as myself. Seeing my enemy as myself I realize we want the same thing. In understanding we want the same thing, I do not lose my greatest treasures, which are the ability to see things not as black and white or good and evil but as the Tao.

I can also see that what I struggle to control in my “enemy” is what I struggle to control in myself. What I fight against is not that which opposes me but that which lives in me that does not see the unity of all things.

In that way I am constantly gaining and losing vision. I wish I had the ability to see clearly always and not lose sight of this oneness but I do not.

Therefore,

When the fighting gets hot,

Those who grieve will conquer.”

TTC 69 (A&L)

This is also translated as “those who show compassion will win.”

Meaning we can lose a battle, lose ourselves but as long as we have the ability to see the death of what we believed existed and have compassion for its passing we can be born again to a new way of life. We can continue to flow on the journey as long as we are able to humble ourselves to the way things are.

Happy Day.

Tao Te Ching Day 40: Outcomes

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We try, we really do. I see it everyday in every person I meet. There is such a great effort given to being the very best version of ones self in the eyes of another. I see the exhaustion of so many worn out people, sleeping on the shoulders of those with blood shot eyes and stretched out faces.

We had been a people of accomplishment, a people of unrelenting will and can do, won’t quit attitude. We had been a people with the heart to conquer everything.

Something changed, the pandemic took a toll on that mentality. But I think more than that it showed people that the illusion of control that we all believed we possessed in our life was just that, an illusion. Once the illusion has been seen it is hard to un-see and the masks of a world of outcome chasers are beginning to fall off.

“Do not glorify the achievers so the people will not squabble…

TTC 3 (Lin)

I have always wanted to be a high achiever. I have always looked up to high achievers for their incredible will and undying confidence in themselves. The men that did the impossible and lifted themselves by their own boot straps, as they screamed, “Fuck gravity.”

Those were the people I wanted to be like. And so the toiling commenced. Toil, toil, I would on many a thing holding on with such a grip to life that I wanted to control so that I could look at my champions and they would have me join them on my Mount Olympus.

But the illusion of more, the illusion of achieving and lifting ourselves has had the curtain pulled back on it in the past 10 years, and as the world was asked to stop, the gravy train that was self reliance and pure force of will hit a wall. The wheels fell off.

And thank God. It was about time. I couldn’t keep up the charade any longer. Hell, I stopped being capable of pretending to be in control way before the pandemic.

I see the world differently than I ever have. I see a people so tired of pretending to control the world and wanting to be given relief in some form. Chasing money, fame, glory, to validate an existence that to this point makes very little sense.

Yesterday I wrote about my falling prey over and again to this same life style. The quick fix of the dopamine drip, that instills in me a lack of sick. A deep satisfying prick of a drug to my system that keeps me running into the great void screaming “here I come, the finish line I almost made it.”

It is insanity at its finest and it all starts with wanting to control the uncontrollable outcome of an unknown future. So Lao Tzu gave us this…

“They work with myriad things but do not control.

They create but do not possess

They act but do not presume

They succeed but do not dwell on success

It is because they do not dwell on success

That it never goes away.

TTC 2 (Lin)

There is nothing to do but live and let what may come, come. We drive ourselves and everyone around us to a place of sickness and exhaustion by our infernal want to control the future.

Yesterday, I realized I had been obsessed with the acquiring of money. Today I realize more to the point I was obsessed with the idea that I had such a definite control over my favorable outcome, and when I was proven wrong, like I always am, my world fell apart.

Because I began to live with an expectation of a perceived outcome that I thought I had control over. The serenity prayer gives insight to this as well.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change.

To change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

Serenity Prayer AA

There is nothing wrong with being in control. The problem arises when I place my idea of control anywhere outside myself. I place it in money, I place it in government, in other peoples thoughts of me. If I place my idea of what I can control anywhere but squarely within myself I am surely lost.

That is why Lao Tzu said,

“When Achievement is completed, fame is attained

Withdraw oneself

This is the Tao of Heaven

TTC 9 (Lin)

It is also translated as “When the work is done, let go. This is the way of Heaven”

It has been told to me time and time again since I was a child, “Matt, just focus on your work everything else will take care of it self.”

And the truth is, it has. Regardless of the state of the world, everything has taken care of itself as long as I continue to put in the work.

The tiredness, the exhaustion will leave us when we let go of our control of that which we have no control. We will be more at peace with a world that is doing just fine if we only focus on our own process and internal action.

Happy Day

Tao Te Ching Day 39: The Average Man

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Perhaps I have been to lost in my own thought of how I understand the Tao, that the understanding that was taking place was lost to me. I have a carnal desire for comfort, for ease, for anything really that makes me feel good. I found myself feeling really good about my own understanding of the Tao the other day, and speaking about how easy things were flowing, how life was really an effortless effort. I was enjoying the fruit to much.

“Knowing contentment avoids disgrace.

Knowing when to stop avoids danger.”

TTC 44 (Lin)

Man oh man, do I have a problem with knowing when to stop. Knowing when enough is enough has always been a real thorn in my ass. This is what in alcohol and addiction counseling equates to cross addiction. I can be free of my primary problems such as drugs and alcohol, however seemingly innocuous ones will take there place if I am not constantly vigilant.

This past week it was money. I was so engrossed with making more money than I had ever made each day with so little effort that I got away from myself.

I stopped eating, I stopped sleeping, I stopped showering. I barely had time to write, I was so caught up in the dopamine drip of money that I was falling back to the old way of living. The one where I was constantly discontent and always seeking more. I couldn’t see that I was overfilling my cup, I was sharpening my blade until it broke. I was on a course for disgrace.

“Holding a cup and overfilling it cannot be as good as stopping short.

Pounding a blade and sharpening it cannot be kept for long.

TTC 9 (Lin)

I am not proud of the fact that I lost my peace of mind. That I put my contentment on the back burner and let it burn for the feeling of being high on my own achievements. I was so lost in my own excitement for what I was accomplishing I became a version of myself I thought had been dealt with. The old addicted, unhappy, miserable, Matt showed back up this week. All because he thought he knew what he was doing and that he was doing what needed to be done.

“It achieves it’s work, but does not take credit.”

TTC 34 (Lin)

It amazes me the need that resides in me to push past what is needed because it feels good. It is why I have struggled with my weight since I was a child, with relationships, with drugs and alcohol, with over exercising, with money, and anything else that a person can have a relationship with I have done in excess.

Coming out of this addicted state I see the insanity of it being based in a fear of lack. The thought that says, “I must get all I can now, all the money, all the good feelings, all the food, booze and love, because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and it may not be here when I need it.”

“Those who know contentment are wealthy.”

TTC 33 (Lin)

I knew contentment until a shinier proposition showed up and then I was lost to it’s beauty. I was lost to the allure of a promise of contentment when I believed I had contentment. The whisper of this deceit is so subtly powerful that it may have you right now in its grasp with out your knowledge, I know it had me.

But I see it know, it disguises it self as contentment, whereas true contentment does not get dressed up and does not pursue you. True contentment arises as a result of stillness. True contentment already resides with in us and can not be attained by action.

So, I see you false god that you are, promising me the world. You can not give me something you do not own and that already exist for me.

Beware the promises of that which you already posses. If someone promises you riches and wealth, know that they are already with in you, what is being offered is an illusion. If you are offered peace and a full life, know that it can not be given or found outside of you, its only home is within.

I see that I succumb to the whisper of a promise to the outside world on a regular basis. My five senses know me well and are deceived easily.

“The five colors make on blind in the eyes,

The five sounds make one deaf in the ears,

The five flavors make one tasteless in the mouth.”

TTC 12 (Lin)

I thought I was becoming such an incredible practitioner of the the Tao. That I was well on my way to sage (its ok to laugh), I have always been an arrogant person when it comes to my own abilities. I am prayerful that I do better. As this lost place is not fun, but seeing the delusion is promising.

I pray for the natural and effortless unfolding of all life as we continue on this journey.

“Higher people hear of the Tao

They diligently practice it

Average people hear of the Tao

They sometimes keep it and sometimes lose it.

Lower people hear of the Tao

They laugh loudly at it.

If they do not laugh, it would not be the Tao.

TTC 41 (Lin)

Happy Day,

Tao Te Ching Day 38: The Spirit of Life

I have fallen down more times than I can remember. From the physical act of falling or getting knocked on my ass to the emotional act of getting knocked on my ass it happens to all of us.

We are a people of perpetual fall downedness. We are a people that were built with some structural issues not every one is a weeble wobble, some of us are potatoes on tooth picks in the wind. Yet, our foundation is so deep, rooted to something so profoundly solid that we never fear getting knocked down because getting back up is the only possible next step.

That which is well established cannot be uprooted

That which is strongly held cannot be taken

The descendants will commemorate it forever

TTC 54 (Lin)

When studying the Tao we are taking to a cultivation of something older than God. To practice that which has always existed, roots us in the infinite. To be rooted in this infinite place sets us apart from the normal and being set apart we stand out in a way that becomes attractive to those who witness it.

Because we may continue to fall but we always rise from that place of being rooted to eternity.

People like Lao Tzu and other sages still exist because of the cultivation of the Tao in themselves.

I remember when I first started writing I was so afraid of dying that writing, to me, felt like a way to immortalize myself. I would be able to write down my thoughts, my stories and in doing that would live on forever with them.

Years later and having done a lot of work on my own fear of death along with now studying the Tao I realize it takes more than just the writing of our feelings and a few stories we think are interesting.

What I realized is that for a person to live on after they are gone that person most show up as the most fully realized version of their incarnated form. To do anything less would to be living a life of another.

Unless we take the teachings of the Tao and allow all of our accumulation of life to fall away we will never be who we are.

It would be like Jim Carey playing Andy Kaufman and then forgetting he was Jim Carey and living the rest of his life as Andy. That person already existed.

Cultivate it in yourself; its virtue shall be true

Cultivate it in the family; its virtue shall be abundant

Cultivate it in the community; its virtue shall be lasting

Cultivate it in the country; its virtue shall be prosperous

Cultivate it in the world; its virtue shall be widespread

TTC 54 (Lin)

Once we begin to cultivate this pure way of being we can see it take affect in those around us. First our family takes notice and without effort they begin to be curious in what we are doing that makes our life so rich and full.

The Tao is very much an attraction rather than promotion, way of living.

The wonderful finding here is that we only need to focus on our own cultivation and by doing that we will affect not just those in our generation but those generations to come.

Therefore observe others with yourself Observe other families with your family

Observe other communities with your community

Observe other countries with your country

Observe the world with the world

With what do I know the world? With this

TTC 54 (Lin)

When we begin to see others as ourselves and other communities as our community we fall into the Tao as we become one with all things. Being one with all things, serving all things, we let go of the finite space of this physical reality and move into the root of all creation.

We start by cultivating at the root and we end by cultivating at the root an eternal circle of oneness.

Happy day.

Tao Te Ching Day 37: The Broad Path

If I have a little knowledge

Walking on the great Tao

I fear only to deviate from it

The great Tao is broad and plain

But people like the side paths

TTC 53 (Lin)

Yesterday was a day. It was a good day, a long day, an exhausting day, a frustrating day and a wonderful day. It had everything.

I worked for 11 hours. In between work I was at the dentist for 2 1/2 hours. I read the Tao twice, had what felt like a hundred conversations all about the Tao and yet still I felt I was off the path yesterday.

Lao Tzu says if he knows anything it’s that the path of the Tao is wide and easy to follow, unfortunately we as people love going down those strange back alleys and side paths with snakes and poison ivy everywhere.

I can appreciate what makes them so attractive is that in my egoic state of being a side path represents a choice to prove that I can out smart all of creation. That the source of me, the all powerful thing that created me does not have equal intellect to that of mine.

Right?

I have been shown time and again just how easy and wonderful life can be when I just let go of my own will to seemingly destroy my self in a quest to find myself, while the Tao is lighting the path forward saying “you are here and are eternally moving towards who you are, no need to struggle.”

Then I say, “ yeah but then how will my life hold any meaning if I don’t struggle, if I don’t blaze a new path?”

And I can stop and see that a story I have for myself is that struggle equals meaning. If I am to find meaning for myself then I have to struggle.

If studying the Tao has taught me anything, it is that the exact opposite is true. In fact to find your self we have to let go of struggle so that we can become what we were meant to be.

The next few lines in this chapter are interesting. I imagine the scene from the Bible when Jesus went into the temple and saw the money collectors and began over turning tables and telling people off for making a mockery of his fathers house.

Let’s watch.

The courts are corrupt

The fields are barren

The warehouses are empty

Officials wear fineries

Carry sharp swords

Fill up on drinks and food

Acquire excessive wealth

This is called robbery

It is not the Tao!

TTC 53 (Lin)

Look at that rage 😂. But seriously Lao Tzu is pointing to what happens when we follow our own will and not the Tao. We become unnatural and unharmonious in our actions towards one another.

Every decision is a selfish decision. Every action is to fatten our wallets or our stomachs. Life stops mattering and things begin to take its place.

Any way. Use this as a reminder when you feel you are struggling and disconnected, remember the path is wide. So look down at your feet to see which direction you are headed, I had to do that today and I am glad I did.

Happy day.

Tao Te Ching Day 36: Cause and Effect

Let’s face it we live in a cause and effect universe. While writing my finger hits the key, the key performs a function based on said action.

Cause- pressing the key

Effect- greatest writer of all time.

Day 36 has me tracing back the origins of the first cause. The initial cause and because of the initial cause what it means for us today as living, breathing humans.

What it means is that we came from something great enough to make this ball we call life roll and that speaks for itself.

The world has a beginning We regard it as the mother of the world

Having its mother We can know her children

Knowing her children Still holding on to the mother

Live without danger all through life.

TTC 52 (Lin)

I think about this chapter and how it points to us being the children of the Tao and yet I still encounter on a daily basis the absolute fear and lack of the people closest to me.

How in the world could we see that we are created from the same source that made all of heaven and earth and still say, “well I don’t know how I’m going to pay this bill.” Or “I can’t heal myself from the way I feel or the issues I am struggling with.

It is the most irritating thing to be confronted on an almost daily basis with this level of insecurity and frailness in our own incredible being.

Trace back the source and what do you find at the beginning? A power source so great it’s immeasurable, unquantifiable and seemingly ever expanding.

But we can’t leave our job because, how else am I gonna pay my rent. We can’t overcome our depression or anxiety because “I’m to scared and things are never going to be ok”

We are the children of source. Can you do what your parents did and more or are we just the lame step children of an accidental happening?

I know what the problem is. I know why it is showing up so blatantly in my life right now. It is because I am not fully expressing the truth of the power that resides in me, because I myself am still playing scared.

I can’t do it anymore. I can’t be held back by my own disbelief, there by allowing others to continue to live in there own small world.

To free anyone we must only free ourselves.

Close the mouth

Shut the doors

Live without toil all through life

Open the mouth Meddle in the affairs

Live without salvation all through life

Seeing details is called clarity

Holding on to the soft is called strength

Utilize the light

TTC 52 (Lin)