Tao Te Ching Day 35: Virtues

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I went for a hike with my girlfriend today in a completely new space, to us. We had never before set foot in the area that we did today, prior to today.

Then I thought well that is always true. We never walk in the same place as the same person ever. Like the saying “the same man never walks in the same river twice. Because the man and the river both change”

Or the “Ship of Theseus” question. The ship of Theseus was built by Theseus each board sanded and nailed by the man. Years and years of sailing the ship needed repairing all the boards and pieces from the original ship now replaced by different people with different pieces, is it still the Ship of Theseus?

It’s an interesting question, and an even more interesting thought experiment when applied to ourselves. We are not the same cells that came into this world however many years ago we are copies of copies with memories encoded in the copies.

Which brings me to the Tao Te Ching.

“The sages have no constant mind

They take the mind of the people as their mind

Those who are good, I am good to them

Those who are not good, I am also good to them”

TTC 49 (Lin)

In living we have a choice each moment who we are to be. In each moment we can set our lives to the tune of past experiences and be what we have always been. Simply replaying life over and over again with new characters and new environments.

The Sage’s are giving a different perspective. They are saying, “what if, in each moment we do not live from some other time and place? What if we lived right here and now with the highest virtue?

We can see from our own personal lives that when we act from a place of hurt because we have been hurt by another we continue to get the hurt. Now with the idea that we are not the same people as we were a year ago, can we apply that to a moment ago, and become a completely new creation in this moment?

You see the Sages were some super wise people and they understood that remaining in a place of the highest possibility their DNA would continually rewrite itself from that place. When they based the way they lived on virtues and not past events that no longer exist, they created a space to change their entire being and so can we.

This is why people who make small but profound changes like not drinking anymore and being honest no matter what, have lives that become a really incredible and beautiful existence. I am speaking from personal experience here. I could not imagine how being kind, honest, loving, and tolerant would, one keep me sober, but two improve my life to the unimaginable level. But it has, oh it has and it’s incredible all because of simple virtues.

“Trustworthy people, I trust

Untrustworthy people, I also trust:

Te as Trust

TTC 49 (Addiss & Lombardo)

“Te” in this context is virtue or action of life. When we come from our highest space of existence regardless of circumstances our cells rewrite themselves and we build a new body. A body that is full of miracles. This is similar to work people like Dr. Joe Dispenza are doing in rewiring peoples minds through meditation and active visualization.

We can see that if we let go of our past information about the way life works and instead live in a perpetual Now state we can create a body and a mind attuned to the highest possibility. We never have to be the person that walked down a dangerous path again, or one of regret, we have the ability by living in virtue to rewrite our present moment.

It is an exciting proposition. We know that we already are copying cells that hold memories from past experiences and bring them to life in the present moment. So, the work then is letting go of the past experiences that no longer exist and no longer serve us in our life. Some times this means only seeing these experiences differently.

I now see my alcoholism as one of the greatest gifts that has ever been given to me, because of where it brought me. 3 years ago while trying to get sober, I believed it was a curse. But a curse that allows me to love my family more to be there for people in need more and to love my self fully does not sound like a curse to me.

Sometimes a reframe is all it takes.

Our physical body is a representation of all of our experiences expressing them self in human form. We have the choice to keep what we want and release what we don’t. We can Love people that do not love us because we are Love.

We can Trust people that do not garner Trust because we Trust ourselves.

We can be Good to people that are not Good to us, because we are Good to ourselves.

These Virtues are Keystones to rewriting our entire being. What a wild thing.

What will you choose?

“Sages create harmony under heaven,

Blending their hearts with the world.

Ordinary people fix their eyes and ears on them,

But Sages become the world’s children.”

TTC 49 (Addiss & Lombardo)

Tao Te Ching Day 34: Being a Loser

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Pursue knowledge, daily gain

Pursue Tao, daily loss

TTC 48 (Lin)

We live in a fickle world, with fickle people and fickle ideas. The word fickle is fickle. I am fickle for writing it and it rhymes with pickle. Can you see the insanity in this.

We the people believe in gaining more an more from a material world whether it be through knowledge or any other form of accumulation. What I see here in chapter 48 is a truth bomb.

Lao Tzu is showing us truth at its purest core. When we pursue knowledge, or any other thing we are accumulating more and more of the thing we are seeking, in so doing we find there is a never ending pursuing of ideas and images, thoughts and theories that we must take on as our selves.

When we pursue the Tao we begin to shed away all these constraints of ideas, of boundaries of thought and theory. We shed away who we are. We shed away what we are. We shed away why we are. Because the truth of the Tao is a refining fire that burns away all the false stories of this world.

“Loss and more loss

Until one reaches unattached action

With unattached action, there is nothing one cannot do.”

TTC 48 (Lin)

When we acquire the knowledge we so desperately seek, the practices we desire to help us become something, we attach ourselves to a certain pattern of living, a fixed construct of life that has a clear yes and a clear no.

Bend in this position, pray in this way. Don’t swear to God. Ask for forgiveness on your knees, while holding rosary beads. We become dogmatic in our beliefs and not just religious ones but every day beliefs, like you must go and find a job when you leave college and work at it no matter how much you hate it because that’s what responsible adults do.

You must hide your feelings and not show weakness because men are not weak.

When we attach ourselves in this way to any knowledge or belief system we cut our selves off from the source of creation. We lose the ability to see straight because we can only see in one direction when we hold to our hard fought knowledge.

What happens if we are looking for something that is behind the wall but we can’t see past the wall to the bend in the hallway because we can only see in the direction we have learned to see?

The Tao Te Ching, is expressing the virtue of letting all beliefs, all knowledge fall away so that we are not weighed down by it and so we become truly unlimited.

“Take the world by constantly applying noninterference.

The one who interferes is not qualified to take the world.”

TTC 48 (Lin)

We can see that in our actions based on decisions, stemming from the accumulation of knowledge to make the RIGHT decision we interfere with the natural unfolding of things and thus keep things exactly as they have always been without even realizing it.

Then we fall into a state of despair unable to understand how we could feel so lost even after we did the thing we Thought we were supposed to do.

Because, there is nothing to do.

We live in a holographic universe, sending electrical signals to our brains that turn these signals into what we call reality, which in turn elicits a wave of emotions that tell us what is happening is either good or bad, positive or negative. When the truth is, it is neither.

The truth is, we could sit perfectly still in meditation and experience all the incredible feelings we spend a life time chasing by simply allowing them to come forward from inside of ourselves. Everything already exist inside of us.

It is a false belief that we need to acquire anything to attain something. We already are everything.

Let the Tao cut through the knowledge we hold so dear and release you from the prison of Knowing.

Be unknown and everything will be miraculous. In this eternal Now.

Happy Day

Tao Te Ching Day 33: The 3 in 10

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I am really no good at math, and word problems really kick my ass. So when reading the Tao Te Ching and chapter 50 shows up talking in riddles about 3 in 10, I was super lost.

Then I was working out and listening to the Tao Te Ching being read by Wayne Dyer, when all of the sudden as I am counting reps it hits me, “this chapter is giving me the stats on people.”

Don’t laugh (to hard), I know its stupid but I really finally understood what they were saying.

Coming into life, entering death

The followers of life, three in ten

The followers of death, three in ten

Those whose lives are moved toward death, also three in ten.

Why? Because they live life of excess.

TTC 50 (Lin)

See! A word problem. Word problems always gave me so much trouble but I figured this one out.

9 out of 10 people in life are attached either to life, death, or allowing life to blow them in any direction. Meaning things outside of ones life control them.

Amazing, I am a genius. Haha, sorry. I could not believe how dense I had been about this one.

I have been and sometimes still am one of the 9 of 10. There are times when my positivity towards life exceeds the bounds of human capacity. A doctor would call this manic. Then there are time when I am attached to death, and nothing in the world has any meaning. A doctor would call this depression.

Then there are times when I am nothing but a victim, attached completely to what others are doing, how others are making my life difficult. A doctor would call this, good drama for a reality TV show (funny doctor).

Then there is the 1 in 10. Those holding to the Tao

I’ve heard of those who are good at cultivating life.

Traveling on the road, they do not encounter rhinos or tigers

Entering into an army, they are not harmed by weapons.

Rhinos have nowhere to thrust their horns

Tigers have nowhere to clasp their claws

Soldiers have nowhere to lodge their blades

Why? Because they have no place for death.

TTC 50 (Lin)

The 1 in 10 are those cultivators of the Tao. The ones that practice being a channel for what ever is needed to flow through. In so many ways, this last paragraph reminds me of The Saint Francis Prayer of Assis.

Lord make Me an instrument of Your peace

Where there is hatred let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness joy.

O Divine master grant that I may

Not so much seek to be consoled as to console

To be understood, as to understand.

To be loved. as to love

For it’s in giving that we receive

And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned

And it’s in dying that we are born…

To eternal life.

St. Francis of Assis

Becoming a channel for all that is needed, of peace, love, light, joy we walk a different path. No longer held to a reality in which we are offended by those that are attached to death because we are attached to life. We are not offended by those that have lost their way because we believe we have found ours. We are simply and beautifully a tool of divine grace, to be used by all of creation.

In this way we are the 1 in 10. No man or beast shall come against us as we remain open as channels in this way because we no longer belong to ourselves. We no longer fight for our egoic desires. We remove the block holding us from our divinity and open ourselves to eternal life. Because we have no place for death.

Beautiful.

Happy Day

Tao Te Ching Day 32: Other People

What is it about other people that makes me feel as if I need to be or do something to hold them up, to give them worth and validation? It is more to the fact that it has nothing to do with other people but instead it has everything to do with me.

I am at times so desperately in need of validation for my own personal self worth that I will act as if another persons whole life is riding on me supporting them.

Now I’m not saying that supporting another is wrong, in fact I think it’s wonderful but I also have to realize when to stop. When the gap between true support of another is really just fishing to support myself through my false belief that another’s well being and emotional health rest solely on my shoulders.

The Tao, eternally nameless

Its simplicity, although imperceptible

Cannot be treated by the world as subservient

TTC 32 (Lin)

I was just recently invited to be a part of an online event with a teacher of mine that I really care about, and think does incredible work.

I was trying to move my entire schedule around, but as it turns out I have made commitments to myself prior to being invited to this event. I got stuck in a mindset however that if I wasn’t there, if my presence wasn’t continually held in that space for the nine hours it was scheduled for then I would be letting this person and the group as a whole down.

I had this idea that I was so necessary to the health and well-being of other people that to leave would be entirely selfish and actually hurtful to them.

I see now how wrong that is.

I forced myself to step away when I knew I still had work that I had previously committed to.

I see that I wasn’t giving other people enough credit, because I always shortchange myself. The Tao is pretty clear that holding sovereignty in oneself ,are ability to have an inner state of control or worth, is apart of allowing the Tao.

If the sovereign can hold on to it All will follow by themselves

Heaven and Earth, together in harmony Will rain sweet dew

People will not need to force it; it will adjust by itself

TTC 32 (Lin)

People will naturally find their way, and many times me attempting to be a comfort or a support is a hinderance to their true growth.

I used to think that I wanted to help people get rid of their suffering, but that was because I was lost in my own. I see now true inner strength comes from dealing with your suffering not alone but not constantly comforted by the enabling of another’s codependent needs.

Allowing for this space will produce that sweet ass dew from heaven.

In the beginning, there were names

Names came to exist everywhere

One should know when to stop

Knowing when to stop, thus avoiding danger

TTC 32 (Lin)

I took a step today in honoring another sick part of me that names it’s worthiness by others.

I honored it by allowing it to suffer and be seen by me. My loving awareness that accepts all of me as the whole package of eternal perfection.

In allowing its suffering by stepping away and not relying on my old codependent nature growth can take place and in that growth is an immense sense of peace.

The existence of the Tao in the world

Is like streams in the valley flow into rivers and the ocean

TTC 32 (Lin)

We all find our way, and nothing is needed to be done as rivers don’t need to be told to flow to the ocean, we do not need help in returning to the Tao.

Tao Te Ching Day 31: Enlightenment

When I was younger, I remember praying to reach enlightenment. The idea of this mystical state of being where you were finally free from all the troubles of the world.

I realize now as I have aged that enlightenment in the form I described above doesn’t exist or rather it shouldn’t exist, not in that form anyway.

In chapter 33 the Tao Te Ching explains what I believe to be the truest form of enlightenment.

“Those who understand others are intelligent

Those who understand themselves are enlightened”

TTC 33 (Lin)

I have thought for sometime now that enlightenment was more a state of illumination into ones own honest problems and the understanding of how to solve them.

In this understanding there is not a feeling of absolute bliss for some magical state of being that has taken over, but more of an understanding that something must be done or something must be accepted, either way it takes great resolve and can be a painful process.

That magical enlightenment I believed existed where all my problems disappeared has turned into an understanding that we can finally see all that we have issue with in this world as a problem of our own making, as our own responsibility to deal with.

I used to believe that Enlightenment meant someone or something else handled all the troubles in my life so that I could sit back and laugh and have a good time. I am seeing now that this is not so. Lao Tzu made this same assumption.

“Those who overcome others have strength

Those who overcome themselves are powerful

Those who know contentment are wealthy

Those who proceed vigorously have willpower”

TTC 33 (Lin)

The gift of understanding enlightenment as the proceedings of our truest power, our greatest strength is what I believe Lao Tzu is referring to here.

Where in we do not simply float happily above the world no longer bothered by troubles or human flaws, rather we find our truest power in overcoming ourselves. Overcoming our faults or shortcomings.

I realized this while making amends to those I had wronged in my life through my addiction. It wasn’t that suddenly everything was better and life was somehow rosie, it was only that I made a choice to deal with myself head on and overcome my past so that I may use it to improve my present.

I found true freedom in this way. I found an enlightenment of my spirit. An enlightening of my entire life.

When I finally shined a light on the places in my life I had been avoiding real power was able to come forth. Power that exists for all of us inside every difficulty and it wasn’t some easy, breezy feeling. It was a gut punch but also a friends hand on my back helping me up.

We become wealthy when we realize our life is already full regardless of how it may look to someone else.

And our willpower is available when we fear that we cannot continue. Again that is not what I saw enlightenment as I didn’t think will power would be necessary but I see now that without overcoming something challenging and having to push yourself past what you believed you could achieve we cant enjoy the exponential growth of the spirit that lies with in us.

Which brings me to the last lines of the chapter.

Those who do not lose their base endure

Those who die but do not perish have longevity

TTC 33 (Lin)

“Base” here in my opinion is referring to our root in spirit. A root in a deeper more powerful place than the physical realm can hold.

Those who know they have a base that is eternal do not fall in the face of challenge, because they know that no challenge on earth is as lasting or as powerful as our connection to spirit.

When we live with a life fully connected to this base then death does not hold us any longer . There can be no wiping away of who we are if we live fully connected.

Having overcome ourselves by connecting to this inner power. We root ourselves to eternal life and as we allow all we have been to die, our most authentic selves step onto the eternal stage and can shine forever as we have enlightened our being.

Happy day.

Tao Te Ching Day 30: The Journey So Far

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Hello to all you wonderful readers out there. Today is the 30th day of my study and full absorption into the Tao Te Ching. I wanted to take this time to catch up on lessons learned thus far and how I have been affected by studying and digesting this material everyday for 30 days.

First I would like to let you know what my process has been.

Starting first thing in the morning I wake up and I read from 1 of 2 versions of the Tao Te Ching, a lot of times cross reading from each version, marveling at the difference in clarity of language used in translation.

Honestly some days I will be reading and thinking, “what the hell are these people talking about?” Some days the reading of the Tao Te Ching feels like it makes no sense. Like a rock skipping over a hard surface, the words seem to bounce off my brain.

After reading from the book I then spend the next couple hours listening to the audio version of the Tao Te Ching, while exercising, walking the dog or other tasks around the house.

During this time, I am hoping that something sticks out to me. You know like one of those “Aha” moments where the lessons being taught finally click. Most of the time that does not happen and I am just stuck folding clothes, while Stephen Mitchell or Wayne Dyer read the Tao Te Ching and I stare off into space drooling. The proverbial rock continues to skip.

After my brain is thoroughly mushed by wisdom rocks I go about my day doing what ever else needs doing hoping (more often the last few weeks, trusting) that something will come to me at some point through out the day and I will have the fervor to write it all down.

I would like to say that I have enjoyed every moment of the process but as is with anything in life the process has its rough patches. Usually when I try and force the work that needs to be done.

“Proceeding calmly, valuing their words

Task accomplished, matter settled

The people all say, ‘We did it naturally’.”

TTC 17 (Lin)

The incredible thing about studying the Tao and trying to understand it, is that I simply do not. I don’t get what is being said as I am reading it most of the time.

However, I have begun to realize that as I look back on my days, recording what I have been doing and how I have been traversing the landscape of my life, suddenly parts of the teachings that feel so obscure come into clear focus.

Lessons such as effortless, effort. Upon first reading and hearing the words, “The Sage does nothing, yet nothing is left undone,” I had no clue what the hell Lao Tzu was talking about. However, upon further study and in living by “letting the dust settle,” I have come to realize that the way of effortless effort is to BE what you had previously been trying to do.

Embodying what ever it is we are doing the process unfolds naturally with out effort. The Tao Te Ching talks about all things having their own nature and simply allowing ones nature to unfold.

When we embody a process, say something like doing laundry, or cooking, or writing, or being with our family, we drop our ideas of how that thing should look. We forget or unlearn our own ways of being and take on the being of being with family, or cooking or laundry. In doing this, the natural way these things unfold (or in laundries case, fold) happens no matter what, and all we need to do is allow it.

I have realized my life has become so much more peaceful and effortless in retrospect, and I see it as a reflection of studying the Tao, or should I say not understanding a word of what is being written, so just living as naturally as possible.

The effect has been rather miraculous. Things that would have taken much deliberation and mental strain and stress are getting done with out a second thought.

In the process of unlearning my old ways of creating struggle, I have learned a simpler way. One that throws off ideas of easy and difficult and just allows what is to be. Dropping my own knowledge of events has changed me profoundly.

With out attachment to outcomes or the way things should be, I am working and living in a place where all things are as they are, as they have always been. I am seeing clearly the veil that was placed over my eyes by my thinking mind and instead now am embodying moments and time more fully.

Now, I am no saint, I am no sage. I am only stating what I have noticed about myself during these 30 days, and find it rather incredible, as like I stated above, most of the time I have no clue what I am reading. It is like the book is reading me, and changing me the way it needs to.

Nothing on my end needs or has ever needed to be done. My natural way of living was always more peaceful than I had previously made it through force of my own will. 30 days into this study I can see that.

I am happy and beyond grateful to you all for joining me on this journey. As the Tao Te Ching brings more to light in my life, I will do my best to share it as honestly and openly as possible with you.

Thank you for reading

And

Happy Day

Tao Te Ching Day 29: My Unhealthy Obsession’s

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I am sitting here staring at my computer trying to dig some gold out of my brain, and I am not talking about the gold in the nose caves, I mean the gold of wisdom that comes from studying the Sages words for almost a month now.

I woke up at 3am today, by choice. Why, many a reader is probably wondering, would any human wake up that early by choice. Well, the reason for me is something I like to call my obsession.

I have many obsession’s or as they are so fondly called around the world in the recovery community, addictions. My addictions have taken me to hell and back more times than I can remember. The incredible thing about these obsessions is that no matter how many times I believe I have cornered the damn thing and locked it up good, it somehow escapes and takes me for another ride.

The one that got me up this morning at 3 am is my obsession of money. Or, rather the acquiring and greedily standing over my pile of money like a golem, Mr. Scrooge hybrid. Drooling and panting for the next hit of a penny in the bank.

“To know that you do not know is highest,

To know but think you know is flawed.”

TTC 71 (Lin)

Money looms large for many people in this world. We all want a piece of the pie that can buy us more pie. The interesting thing about any of these obsessions is their ability to disappear and reappear in the most harmless, well to do forms.

“Oh you did so good not eating bad all week. Now you can celebrate your kids birthday. What no cupcakes with your kids? Don’t you love your kids?”

Or, “look I haven’t drank in over 6 months, but my friend is in mourning and wants to have a drink with me. I need to be able to be there for them.”

Or, “I haven’t gambled in a year.”

“Wow Lloyd that’s great. I got 3 to 1 odds I get you to gamble by the end of this road trip.”

“Make it 5 to 1 and your on, Harry.”

We are so simple and so sweet in our own idiotic nature of falling over and over again for these obsessions.

As the Tao Te Ching points out, it is when I believe I know something, that I am in trouble. Knowing that we do not know keeps us in a safe place. Every time I think, “I got this thing handled, I know what causes me to get obsessed.” Here comes that devious little obsession with a new gimmick.

“Only when one recognizes the fault as a fault can one be without fault.”

TTC 71 (Lin)

So, I must be willing to know that, believing I know is a sickness, a mistake. The actual word used in ancient Chinese is “bing,” which translates to sickness, or disease. This is what it means to recognize fault as a fault.

It also means that I have to be aware that I will fail regularly, I am faulted in this way. In this way we are all in our perfect nature and with out fault.

Wait… What?

You heard me.

Look to believe one can be without fault, is in itself a fault as we are all inherently faulty, in a sense. Moral of the story-

Sure, I have a ton of obsessions or addictions. Some like drinking and using drugs have been under control for almost 3 years now (and only one day at a time one moment at a time can I manage some addictions.). Others, like money, food, television, exercise, caffeine, are flaws that I live with knowing they will continue to come up and bite me.

My only chance for survival in any of this is to understand my nature and be forgiving of that nature. I could beat myself up over it, but where would that get me, besides closer to the addictions that almost took my life.

My life today is one that is based in Grace and Forgiveness, this is what I believe is being taught in chapter 71.

Know your faults, and know that you are faulted in knowing your faults, so forgive yourself.

“The sages are without fault

Because they recognize the fault as a fault

That is why they are without fault.”

TTC 71 (Lin)

If you find yourself lost to an obsession or an addiction that you believed you had beat, know that we all are flawed in this way. Be assured that you are in great company with the rest of the human race and know that if you can not love yourself for the flaws that keep showing up, know that I Love you. That you are loved because you are exactly as you are supposed to be.

The easy thing to do is become obsessed and then lose ourselves to the obsession. True inner strength is becoming obsessed and then letting go of it through, love, grace, and forgiveness.

It may come back, but there is always more Love, Grace, and Forgiveness to go around. Luckily it is completely free, too.

I hope whatever obsession or addiction has you right now you can allow the loving embrace of the Tao, or God, or Universe to hold you until you can drop what you believe you know.

I know I had to today and I was pretty pissed and embarrassed about it at first because, you know I am pretending to be wise and stuff, then I remembered I was studying the Tao Te Ching and all I needed was right here waiting for me to just own it and drop it. The Tao had it already taken care of for me.

Happy Day.

Tao Te Ching Day 28: What We Focus On

“Tao produces one,

One produces two,

Two produces three,

Three produce myriad things”

TTC 42 (Lin)

The first few lines of this chapter are in a way speaking of cellular mitosis. Where a single cell splits and becomes two, and two becomes three, and you get the point.

All life begins with the death of one, so that it may become two.

I had an interesting conversation today. I was out enjoying the day with my family when I received a call. The person on the other end of the phone was someone I love very much and have known all my life.

They were excited to talk to me. Excited to check in and see how life was going. I was excited to hear from them, until the subject of why they called came up.

“Did you see how many people are dying in India from the virus, you have to go and get a vaccination now.”

Now I don’t care where anyone stands on any of the current affairs in the world, I want everyone to have their thoughts and opinions.

What bothered me was the absolute fear of death happening around the world as reported by our friendly neighborhood news.

I asked them to refrain from telling me about what the news said and if they can’t then we can talk later, so we hung up.

Here is my issue. So many people spend so much time focused on things happening outside of them that are in fact scary to them, such as death. I get that people dying is sad and I wish no one got sick and died, but as it is the way of things, I move on.

My next thought was. I wonder if they even realize that they are alive and healthy? I wonder how much time today they spent in gratitude for their own health and life?

I did some research, each day our bodies replace 330 billion cells. That’s right, inside each one of us their are around 330 billion deaths of individual cells going on.

Isn’t that absolutely astonishing. Now if you didn’t know any better you might think, “Jesus, I should be dead at that rate how many can one person lose?”

But isn’t it interesting that we are alive and well for the most part. How do you think people would act if there was a news report every time a cell in your body was killed via elimination through one’s bowls. People would probably be pretty insane if that’s what they subjected themselves to.

Thank God that’s not the case, instead we focus on living and breathing and moving and loving. Again, some of us do any way.

If all this death is happening inside of us all the time yet here we all stand, what then does that also mean is true?

It means that new cells are constantly being born and in a higher number than the old ones are leaving.

Why are there no news stories about all the babies being born?

Why do we so easily choose to see the loss in life instead of the gain?

“Myriad things backed by yin and embracing yang.

Achieve harmony by integrating their energy.

TTC 42 (Lin)

All of the physical reality is backed by yin (life) and it embraces yang (death).

Living in this way all things are in harmony.

Death is apart of life even if it feels unfair. In this world many of us see death as a final happening and those who die are gone forever but I don’t believe this is true. I believe as we are with life in a relationship we will be with death in a new relationship but still in a relationship which means to exist.

We die, we lose, so new can be born. If the cells in our body never died and they just kept accumulating we would all be covered in giant tumors, which would kill us. Over growth of cells in the body is called cancer and it kills the body for which it resides.

I am saying all this to say, we have a choice on where we put our attention. We can live in the realm of death and loss while we are here, or we can live in life, light, and abundance. The choice is ours to make.

However, if you are going to call me I want you to know that I am focused on living and not dying.

I am not denying the reality and pain of death and loss. I am simply choosing to be alive here in my body, right now.

I do not choose to look at the fear and loss in this world as something that is killing us all. I see it as a light unto itself, giving life more flavor and purpose. In that way I can love deeper knowing my experiences inside may only be for this time and this moment.

We also have to see that our perspective is sometimes shown to us through a lens that only wants to keep us afraid and small.

In this harmony of yin and yang we can not allow one to out way the other. See death, deal with death, but live a beautiful, expansive life as well.

Don’t hold to one or the other.

“So with all things

Appear to take loss but benefit,

Or receive benefit but lose

What ancients taught I will also teach.

The violent one cannot have a natural death.

I will use this as the principal of all teachings.

TTC 42 (Lin)

Tao Te Ching Day 27: Going With The Flow

“In governing people and serving Heaven There is nothing like conservation

Only with conservation is it called submitting early

Submitting early is called emphasis on accumulating virtues.”

TTC 59 (Lin)

In this translation of the Tao Te Ching the author Derek Lin notes that “Conservation is the principle of valuing your time, energy, mind, and spirit and also using them wisely.”

Where to begin? What is it about rainy days that makes every plan feel ruined? Unless of course the plan was to play in the rain.

Yeah I had plans today. I had plans to celebrate my son’s birthday and make him feel like a special little dude. It wasn’t long before those plans got rained on that I decided to let my good old friend Tao take over.

Turns out kids are pretty good at having fun with their friends wherever they are, even if it’s stuck inside an apartment. You know when kids don’t have fun? It’s when ex-kids like me try and get involved and make the day something it’s not.

Accumulating virtues means there is nothing one cannot overcome

When there is nothing that one cannot overcome One’s limits are unknown

TTC 59 (Lin)

This chapter stuck out to me for this reason. I have a tendency to force things. That tendency is like swimming against the current. When I do that I become irritated, grumpy and ruin other peoples perfectly good day.

Accumulating virtues of conservation means that I am at peace with conserving the energy of mind, body, and spirit I did have. Let me set the scene.

It’s 11 o’clock. I had planned to be out of the house with my son and his friends by 10:30am . Rain was pouring like some one told the sky it’s dog died.

The kids are in their room playing video games as I sat on the couch stressed out and upset, my girlfriend trying to cheer me up says, “ come on let’s take them to the arcade I’ll go get them wrangled up.”

When all of the sudden, what do we hear, but the most joyous sound of laughter coming from inside the room. It was my son and he was having a blast.

I looked and my girlfriend and it hit me, “Matt, it’s time to go with the flow buddy.”

And so I did, I waited and laughter continued. As it turned out I was pretty tired, which was probably a cause of my irritation. So, I went and I took a nap while my kids played in the room and you know what? My kids had no idea I was sleeping, because they were to busy having a good time.

The limitations being unknown, one can possess sovereignty

With this mother principle of power, one can be everlasting

This is called deep roots and firm foundation

The Tao of longevity and lasting vision

TTC 59 (Lin)

Then something amazing happened, I woke up and felt great. Not only that, the rain stopped. Not only that, the kids came out and said let’s go play. Not only that, we went and had a freaking blast.

Now they are eating cupcakes and I’m writing this.

These virtues that are being accumulated are those that take Matt’s ego out of the equation and allow for the unknown that is spoken of in this chapter. I was reading this chapter when it hit me like a ton of bricks that I needed to just go with the flow of the Tao.

The Tao already had a perfect day setup, the only thing stopping it was me and my will. My will does not conserve, because my will is to afraid that if we are not constantly forcing life into existence it will never happen.

This chapter talks about possessing sovereignty and having a firm foundation. Meaning, if I am willing to see the flow of things and allow it to be based on my belief in the virtues of the Tao, anything is possible, even an awesome day that I didn’t have to make happen.

Again the effortless effort. How many parents out there would love to take a nap and just chill? I know my girlfriend and I were very happy we got to.

Tao Te Ching Day 26: Simplicity II

I started out my day with what felt like a thousand different options on how to proceed. It is like that alot, the blessing and the curse of the time we live in is that there is an infinite abundance of options and opportunities to be and do what ever we want.

The amazing gift of this time we live in now is that no matter who you are you have the chance to live your dreams, assuming ofcourse you know what your dreams are. 

“Act without action, manage without meddling.

Taste without tasting.

Great, small, many, few.

Respond to hatred with virtue.”

TTC 63 (Lin)

I felt what was being said in this chapter today, I didn’t just know it, I felt it. It came to me because of how crazy I was feeling having all the options in the world to do whatever I’d like.

When we have an unlimited number of options we have to take action to act. 

When I finally decided to let go of all the different things I could do and which one was the best option, I saw that every option was the right option, and there was no difference between good, better, best. I was creating separation and war in my self from my own value system that was designed to keep me separated from source.

Coming to this understanding I knew all I had to do was decide and Simply embody what ever I chose to do.  I just had to be present in what ever it was. 

Life is really this simple.

Plan difficult tasks through the simplest tasks.

Achieve large tasks through the smallest tasks.

TTC check. 63 (Lin)

This very clearly states how to set clear and efficient goals. Chunk things down to bite size pieces and then take one piece at a time.

When I eliminate the idea that doing one thing or another is better or worse I come to a place that allows life to happen in the present moment and effortless action takes place.

The amazing thing is, if I have a clear understanding of my life and the direction I’d like to go I actually don’t have to worry about the important work getting done.  It will get done because I have already created an intention with in myself that it is important. 

This makes doing anything become an effortless process.

Take the writing of this blog right now.  I am writing this at my son’s baseball game that I had to drive 2 hours to in another state, yet my day was still fulfilled with all the other things I wanted to do and needed to do.

I’m not trying to brag, what I am saying is letting go of the idea that life has to be a complex series of perfect decisions to optimize every moment is completely off base.

Every moment is already completely optimal if we exist in it with our full attention (you’re probably thinking we’ll pay full attention to your son’s game. To which I say they haven’t started yet). Our full attention and presence is all that is required to live an amazing life.

“The difficult task of the world

Must be handled through the simplest tasks…

Therfore, sages never attempt great deeds all through life.

Thus they can achieve greatness.

TTC chp. 63 (Lin)

When I realize all things will work out in their own way and that which I have prioritized will come to completion with out a great effort. The fact that all of life can happen in this simple way by following simple principles.

These principles are.

Take little steps

Let go

Allow

Accept

Be present.

You are right where you need to be.

Because you are the only place you will ever be, right within yourself.