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Tao Te Ching Day 61: Fucking Names

What limitations I place on Tao are the same limitations I place on my existence. To name anything is to lose the essence of the thing.

“The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.” Chap. 1

Right from the start, we are warned not to name this eternal power. We are given explicit instructions that to name it is to lose it.

Yet, I name. I name. I name. I name. Dammit, I limit all that could be by my fear of the unknown.

My fear of the mystery leaves me caught up in the known reality of my little life.

“What do you do,” someone asks?

“Oh, I am a writer,” I reply.

“Awesome, what do you write?” They say.

“I write about spirituality and also fantasy.”

“Whoa, that’s cool.” They kindly respond.

Then I sit there wondering, is that me? Is that all I am, someone who simply writes about spirituality? Someone who only writes about magic or fantasy?

And I hate myself for it because I know I have taken the Tao’s name in vain. Can you see it?

I am a writer, is blasphemy to what I really am, to what Tao really is.

I am the unnamable.

You may be thinking, “take it easy, Matt, it’s not that big of a deal.”

Nay, I say to you. Nay, like a horse in the house.

As soon as I speak this little story of what the nameless is, it becomes named and therefore fixed. Being fixed, it will only manifest itself in this way, the way I chose to bring its nameless name to life.

Why is that important? Why is it important? Why?!!!

Because what if the desires of my heart are not in line with the reality I am naming? Meaning, what if I say I am a writer, but the Tao is trying to bring something else through me, something more?

Why do I continue to limit infinity in this way? The Tao is flowing towards perfection constantly, yet here I am telling everyone which way my Tao is supposed to flow as if I somehow know or can even direct its flow. I feel myself swimming against the current when I name.

I believe this is at the heart of my addiction for more. I name something I want, and knowing I have just limited myself, I scrape and scream for every drop of anything else I can get my hands on because I just cut myself off from infinity.

We are trapped here by false rituals, rituals empty of heart, producing only more rituals.

“Ritual is the husk of true faith.”

TTC

This can mean rituals are the trash to be thrown away and keep us from the fruit of faith, or that the husk is the guardian and the doorway into the fruit of true faith. Either way, the meaning will be derived from the application of the ritual.

Our rituals are empty, so they make more rituals (mess). I have a pattern for making money; it’s called a job. This ritual only serves itself. As my way of making money eventually traps me into the ritual act of doing more work to produce more money to have more of what I want more of. The ritual increases itself and enslaves me to its process so that I believe I can not make money unless I have a job and work XYZ amount.

The same can be said for anything we do. Have you seen those people that have coffee mugs that read, “don’t talk to me, I haven’t had my coffee yet.” We have rituals for talking to other people. We need be fully stimulated before engaging.

Do you see this madness? We are then ritualistic about naming. “This is a thing I see, so I must name it.” Because how can anything in a dualistic world exist unnamed?

“The 10,000 things all have names; they don’t need anymore.”

TTC

So, we name it as a ritual to feel secure in our knowledge, and in our security, we create the prison for which we live bound by our fear of the great mystery. Led by empty rituals that are means to no end, yet they are familiar, so we keep them.

Fuck that.

However, if I speak the names and practice the ritual from my true nature, that is honoring the Tao. That is how the Sages lived.

“Can you let your dust settle and allow action to arise naturally?”

In this way, we are not trapped by contrived action but free to live the way we were created to live, in pure connection with the Tao.

Such elegance with which this prison has been constructed. Look at it with all its space and depth. Its variety and beauty, the scents and textures of a truly remarkable heaven.

It is all that it is because I have created it this way. A heaven with so much variety, yet only a few of the 10,000 things are used. Only that which I am familiar with I allow to become familiar with me.

My named termanel life,

With its fixed positsions

illusions of ideas, and novelty.

Touch the sun, can you?

Go anywhere, do you?

Have anything, will you?

No,

They are ruled by the named one,

The judge of all judges, the masked faces of all things.

I am trapped because I name,

I name because of this trap,

I think identifying my cell will help me escape.

There is no escape; the opposite of the way things are is still the way things are; the only ones who are free have left this ritual of naming and go within.

I even require inspiration for my inspiration. Does anything come from the original source, or is it all ping pong balls bouncing off rocks at a rodeo?

Happy day.

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

Photo by Chavdar Lungov on Pexels.com

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 without senses.

Today, on the day of my birth, I embark 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 knowledge 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 inside of an empty room. I am not even present in this room, yet space 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 amorphous form of imagination. When reading the book, I had a 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 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 things, so says 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 to exist through the chaos and know that all things flow to the Tao. So, as I remain still amid 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 itself the longer we sit and breathe in the silence.

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

silhouette of man standing against black and red background
Photo by Elti Meshau on Pexels.com

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.

The Joy of Being Present: Embrace Life One Step at a Time

In today’s fast-paced world, we often find ourselves constantly striving for the next big thing, the next milestone, or the next achievement. But amidst the hustle and bustle, we tend to overlook the present moment and the joy it can bring. Embracing the philosophy of being where your feet are means focusing on the now, appreciating the journey, and finding contentment in every step. This blog post will explore the significance of being present, the benefits it offers, and some tips for cultivating mindfulness in your daily life.

The Power of Presence:

Being present means fully engaging in the moment, without letting your thoughts wander to the past or future. It requires active awareness and a conscious decision to connect with your surroundings, emotions, and thoughts. By focusing on the here and now, you can derive joy and satisfaction from even the simplest of experiences, and ultimately, live a more fulfilling life.

Benefits of Being Present:

  1. Reduced stress: When you’re fully present, you’re not dwelling on past regrets or worrying about the future. This can significantly reduce stress and anxiety, allowing you to enjoy life more.
  2. Improved relationships: By giving your full attention to conversations and experiences, you can foster deeper connections with the people around you.
  3. Enhanced focus and productivity: Mindfulness allows you to concentrate better on tasks, resulting in increased efficiency and satisfaction in your work.
  4. Greater appreciation for life: Being present encourages you to notice the beauty and joy in even the smallest of things, promoting gratitude and contentment.

Tips for Cultivating Mindfulness:

  1. Practice deep breathing: Take a few minutes each day to focus on your breath. Inhale slowly and deeply, and then exhale with the same intention. This can help calm your mind and bring you back to the present moment.
  2. Engage in mindful activities: Activities like yoga, meditation, or tai chi can help you develop mindfulness and concentration. Dedicate time to these practices regularly to enhance your ability to be present.
  3. Disconnect from technology: Set aside specific times during the day to disconnect from your devices. Use this time to focus on your surroundings and engage in activities that require your full attention, such as reading, journaling, or going for a walk.
  4. Practice active listening: When conversing, make a conscious effort to listen to the other person. Avoid thinking about what you’re going to say next, and instead, focus on understanding and appreciating their perspective.
  5. Savor your meals: Eating mindfully means paying attention to the flavors, textures, and aromas of your food. This practice not only enhances the enjoyment of your meal but also promotes healthy digestion and eating habits.
  6. Create mindful routines: Establish daily routines encouraging presence, such as a morning meditation or an evening gratitude journal. These habits can help anchor you in the present moment and set a positive tone for the day.

Embracing the philosophy of being where your feet are is a powerful way to experience the joy and fulfillment that life has to offer. By practicing mindfulness and making a conscious effort to be present, you can reduce stress, improve relationships, and cultivate a greater appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you. So take a deep breath, slow down, and remember – life truly unfolds in the present moment.

Embracing the Silver Linings: The Unexpected Benefits of Suffering

Suffering, an inevitable part of the human experience, often feels unbearable and cruel. However, it also possesses the potential to contribute to our personal growth and self-discovery. By examining the benefits of suffering, we can learn to find meaning and purpose during difficult times. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the positive aspects of suffering that might help you develop a new perspective on life’s challenges.

  1. Personal Growth and Resilience

Suffering can act as a catalyst for personal growth, pushing us to confront our fears, vulnerabilities, and limitations. As we navigate through tough times, we discover our inner strength and develop resilience. This newfound fortitude empowers us to face future challenges with confidence and adaptability.

  1. Empathy and Compassion

Experiencing suffering enables us to empathize with others who may be going through similar situations. We become more sensitive to the pain of others and develop a heightened sense of compassion. This emotional connection allows us to support and uplift one another during difficult times.

  1. Gratitude and Appreciation

Suffering can help us gain a new appreciation for the things we once took for granted. As we endure hardships, we realize the significance of our health, relationships, and life’s simple pleasures. This renewed sense of gratitude leads to a more fulfilling and contented life.

  1. Clarifying Priorities and Values

Suffering forces us to reassess our priorities and values, helping us gain clarity on what truly matters. This introspection often leads to a deeper understanding of our life’s purpose and the pursuit of more meaningful goals.

  1. Creativity and Problem-Solving

Adversity often demands creative solutions. As we face challenges, our problem-solving skills improve, and we discover innovative ways to overcome obstacles. This creativity can be applied to various aspects of our lives, making us more resourceful and adaptive individuals.

  1. Spiritual Growth

For many, suffering can inspire spiritual growth and foster a deeper connection with a higher power or the universe. This connection can provide comfort, strength, and a sense of purpose during difficult times.

  1. The Power of Community

Suffering often brings people together, strengthening relationships and building a sense of community. As we support one another through hardships, we develop lasting bonds and connections that enrich our lives.

While it may be challenging to see the silver linings during moments of suffering, embracing the potential benefits can help us navigate through life’s difficulties with a renewed sense of purpose and resilience. By recognizing the opportunities for growth, empathy, gratitude, and connection, we can transform our suffering into a powerful force for positive change.

The Perils of Personal Gratification: Why a Service-Based Life Leads to Greater Fulfillment

In today’s fast-paced, consumer-driven society, it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeking personal gratification as the ultimate goal. However, this pursuit can have adverse effects on our well-being and overall happiness. In contrast, a service-based life, centered on contributing to the welfare of others, can lead to a more fulfilling existence. This blog post will explore the dangers of prioritizing personal gratification and highlight the benefits of embracing a service-oriented mindset.

The Dangers of Pursuing Personal Gratification

  1. Short-term satisfaction, long-term dissatisfaction While personal gratification can bring immediate pleasure or satisfaction, it often provides only a temporary sense of happiness. Over time, the need for new and more intense experiences may increase, leading to a never-ending cycle of chasing fleeting moments of satisfaction.
  2. Strained relationships An excessive focus on personal gratification can strain relationships, as it may lead to self-centered behavior and disregard for the needs of others. This can result in feelings of isolation and loneliness, further diminishing overall well-being.
  3. Loss of a sense of purpose A life centered on personal gratification may lack a deeper sense of purpose and meaning. Without a clear purpose or direction, individuals may feel unfulfilled and adrift, regardless of their material success or achievements.
  4. Negative impact on mental health Constantly seeking personal gratification can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. The pressure to maintain a lifestyle focused on self-indulgence can be mentally exhausting and may lead to burnout or other mental health issues.

The Benefits of a Service-Based Life

  1. Long-lasting fulfillment By shifting the focus from personal gratification to serving others, individuals can experience a more profound and lasting sense of fulfillment. Acts of kindness, compassion, and altruism have been shown to increase happiness and well-being, creating a positive feedback loop that encourages further acts of service.
  2. Stronger social connections A service-based life promotes the development of stronger social connections and a sense of belonging. By engaging in meaningful acts of service, individuals can forge deeper relationships with others, fostering a sense of community and reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  3. An Increased sense of purpose Service-oriented living provides a clear sense of purpose, as individuals contribute positively to the lives of others and the world around them. This purpose-driven approach to life can lead to greater overall satisfaction and contentment.
  4. Improved mental health A service-based life can positively impact mental health, as it encourages empathy, compassion, and gratitude. These qualities can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, promoting emotional resilience and psychological well-being.

Conclusion

While pursuing personal gratification may seem appealing, it often leads to short-term satisfaction and long-term dissatisfaction. In contrast, a service-based life offers a more rewarding and fulfilling path, fostering stronger connections with others, a greater sense of purpose, and improved mental health. By shifting our focus from self-indulgence to serving others, we can cultivate a more meaningful existence and contribute positively to the world around us.

To embrace a service-based life, consider engaging in the following activities:

  1. Volunteer your time and skills to a local non-profit organization, community group, or charity.
  2. Offer help and support to neighbors, friends, or family members in need.
  3. Practice random acts of kindness, such as leaving a kind note for a coworker or paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line.
  4. Explore opportunities to mentor or tutor others, sharing your knowledge and expertise to help them grow and succeed.
  5. Be mindful of the needs of others and look for ways to lend a hand or provide encouragement when necessary.

Ultimately, the choice to live a service-based life is a personal one. However, by taking the time to reflect on our priorities and values, we can make a conscious decision to prioritize the well-being of others over our own immediate gratification. In doing so, we not only enhance our own lives but also positively impact the lives of those around us, creating a ripple effect of kindness and compassion that extends far beyond our individual actions.

The Purpose of Life: An Endless Quest for Meaning

Throughout human history, people have sought to understand the purpose of life, often turning to religion, philosophy, or personal introspection. While there is no universal answer to this question, our understanding of life’s purpose can shape how we live, interact with others, and approach our goals. This blog post will explore some of the common perspectives on life’s purpose and offer suggestions for cultivating a sense of meaning in our own lives.

  1. The Religious Perspective

For many, religion provides a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Belief in a higher power or divine plan can offer guidance, comfort, and motivation. The specifics of each faith’s teachings vary, but a common theme is pursuing personal growth, moral development, and deepening one’s relationship with the divine.

  1. The Philosophical Perspective

Philosophers have long debated the purpose of life. Some of the most well-known ideas include:

  • Existentialism: The belief that individuals create their own meaning and purpose through choices and actions.
  • Hedonism: The pursuit of pleasure and happiness as the primary purpose of life.
  • Utilitarianism: Maximizing the overall well-being of society through moral actions.

These philosophical perspectives emphasize the importance of self-reflection, critical thinking, and personal responsibility in shaping our sense of purpose.

  1. The Humanistic Perspective

The humanistic approach to life’s purpose centers on the inherent goodness and potential of human beings. It encourages personal growth, self-awareness, and the pursuit of self-actualization. By fostering empathy, compassion, and understanding, we can contribute positively to the lives of others and create a sense of purpose through meaningful connections and relationships.

  1. The Individual Perspective

Ultimately, the purpose of life is a deeply personal question, and each person must find their own answer. Some may find purpose through career or educational pursuits, while others may prioritize family, friendships, or creative expression. Embracing our unique strengths and passions can help us forge a sense of purpose that aligns with our values and aspirations.

Cultivating Your Sense of Purpose

Here are some suggestions for cultivating a sense of meaning and purpose in your own life:

  1. Reflect on your values and priorities: Take the time to explore your beliefs, values, and goals. This can help you clarify what is most important to you and guide your actions and decisions.
  2. Set realistic and achievable goals: Establishing clear, attainable objectives can give you a sense of direction and purpose.
  3. Pursue personal growth: Continuously strive to learn, grow, and improve in different areas of your life.
  4. Build strong relationships: Develop meaningful connections with others and engage in activities that bring you closer to those you care about.
  5. Contribute to the greater good: Find ways to make a positive impact on your community or the world at large, whether through volunteering, charitable giving, or advocacy.

Conclusion

The purpose of life may remain an enigma, but the quest for meaning and purpose is a journey that can bring fulfillment and joy. By exploring different perspectives, reflecting on our values, and cultivating a sense of purpose through our actions, we can create a rich, meaningful life that benefits us and positively impacts those around us.

Tao Te Ching Day 98: Yummy in my Tummy

Thus the governance of the sage:

Empties their hearts

Fills their bellies

Weakens their ambitions

Strengthens their bones

TTC 3 (Lin)

One of my favorite passages from the Tao Te Ching.

A full stomach and a heart emptied of desires is like my Friday nights.

Does Netflix strengthen ones bones?

Anyway, happy 4th. I hope everyones bellies are full and hearts are open.

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Tao Te Ching day 96: Expect the Unexpectacular 😁.

“They succeed but do not dwell on success.”

TTC 2 (Lin)

Realizing success is a subjective result it does no good to dwell in it, just as it makes no sense to dwell in failure.

Each of these things could be the opposite to another individual so it is best to experience it and then let go.

I see a rumination on being successful in my own life as an invitation for unnecessary expectations. Expectations that would assume I must succeed at everything I do or that I will no longer try unless my expectations of success are a sure thing.

The hole which we can fall down is great when we hold on to any idea of ourselves or our outcomes.

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Tao Te Ching Day 95: It’s like a 3D painting.

Difficult and easy bring about each other

Long and short reveal each other

High and low support each other

Music and voice harmonize each other

Front and back follow each other

TTC 2 (Lin)

Two people walk into a bar. The first person asks for a cider drink.

The bartender says, cool drink bro.

The second person orders a glass of milk.

The bartender says that will cost you extra.

The second guy asked why.

The bartender said, because our cows are sick.

The second guy says, oh well, never mind, I’ll have a bag of chicken.

The bartender says, ok here ya go.

The first guy asks if he is ever gonna get his cider.

The bartender says, oh your still here?

I love you.

Can you deal with that second person.

Wait who is talking.

I am.

Who are you?

I am the person talking.

That is unhelpful.

Ok.

The bartender went out of business the next day.

The two people were actually really thirsty.

The one who was talking left after a while.

First always goes second and last won’t be the first.

Are there tacos in space?

In The end?

If confused read backwards.

If still confused read from the 6th line up then from last line too the 6th.

If you still don’t understand read every other line from the top.

Now read every other line starting with the second line.