Taoism – Perspectives & Possibilities

Tag: Taoism

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I–It, I–Thou, I–THIS

“We cannot avoid using power, cannot escape the compulsion to afflict the world, so let us, cautious in diction and mighty in contradiction, love powerfully.” —Martin Buber I first came across Martin Buber when I was in college. I had had no exposure to spiritual thinkers at the time. Buber, a Jewish philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature ten times and the Nobel Peace Prize Read More

Title: Blackbird on Mount Sinai, South Sinai, Egypt | Author: David Stanek | Source: Flickr | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Prophets and Their Purposes

The world has been blessed with powerful messages from prophets of the past. Five of these prophets have a present-day influence on billions of people: Moses, Laozi, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. These five men were the impetus for Judaism, Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Those religions represent almost 6 billion of the 7.6 billion people on the planet. Given those numbers, it seems appropriate to discuss who they were and what they were about. Read More

Title: Cnidaria, MultiView Light Sheet Microscopy (3 of 4) | Author: Helena Parra | Source: ZEISS Microscopy | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Evolution of Consciousness

My wife sometimes accuses me of selective engagement. She says I am much more open to conversation with people whom I find physically attractive, intellectually stimulating, emotionally responsive, or spiritually evolved.

Guilty as charged. As it turns out, the idea of selective engagement goes back 500 million years.

Image Credit: Eleanor Caves and Claire Spottiswoode | Source: African Cuckoos

Shams and Shame

In the book, Mark Twain and the Art of the Tall Tale, Henry Wonham quotes Twain as saying, “the moral responsibility of the American humorist is ‘the deriding of shams, the exposure of pretentious falsities,’ and ‘the laughing of stupid superstitions out of existence.’” Thus, he said, “the humorist is the natural enemy of royalties, nobilities, privileges, and all kindred swindles, and is the natural friend of human rights and liberties.” Twain offered high praise Read More

"February 22, 2016," by David Gabriel Fischer, www.thezendiary.com (License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Timeless and the Timely

It’s hard to find elevated and elevating messages these days. It seems to me that we keep looking for quick and easy solutions to complex problems that require deep debate, creative thinking, and thoughtful analysis.

In this post, I revisit some sources of ancient wisdom, finding timeless principles that can help us deal with today’s challenges.

Title: Window of St. Mary’s Cathedral in linz | Author: Magdalena Sick-Leitner | Source: Ars Electronica | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sin and Spin

There is no greater sin than desire, No greater curse than discontent, No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself. Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. —Tao Te Ching, Chapter 46 It seems to me that religions focus too much on sin; and politics focuses too much on spin. They may both be guilty of the sin of spin and the spin on sin. Religions specifically call out the Read More

Walter De Maria, 360˚ I Ching/64 Sculptures, 1981. © The Estate of Walter De Maria. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York.

Ethereal Threads and Cosmic Fabric

“Creative interpretation of the world: Art. Personal beliefs trumping objective facts: Lunacy.” —Brian Greene. When you are swimming upstream in a powerful current, it’s not only hard to think about anything other than surviving, it’s also difficult to raise your head up to look around. This river we are swimming in has a mighty flow, and we are hanging on by a thread—perhaps an ethereal thread or a vibrating string as you will see later. Read More

Title: Half Full Half Empty | Author: Thomas Hawk | Source: Flickr | License: CC BY-NC 2.0

Wisdom and Wealth

All religions allude to the challenge of acquiring enough wisdom to deal with whatever wealth you may have.

These various points of view help us address the questions, “What is wisdom?” and “How do you measure wealth?”

Author: Insomnia Cured Here on Flickr | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-margie/3087375315

Gauging Gurus

As Lao Tzu suggests, “when a person crowns himself as a guru, he is not.”

We should always be able to ask and answer: At what level are the people we entrust with power operating? In this post, I share my guide to evaluating leaders, gurus, and practitioners.

Credt: David Gabriel Fischer | www.thezendiary.com | License: CC BY-NC-ND

The Sacred and the Significant

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” —Joseph Campbell

In her role as a Pretend Princess dressed in her frilly yellow gown complete with a crown on her head, my 5 year old granddaughter imperiously issued a solemn proclamation to her constituency: “Be kind, be truthful, and stay alive.”

"July 15, 2014," www.thezendiary.com

Reacting and Responding

People deserve to be understood.

Many people are suffering from crushing pain that they just can’t seem to beat.

How can we respond–without reacting?

"Basalt Columns of Giant's Causeway" Credit: pictruer / 一元 马 | License: CC BY 2.0

Fast-Slow-Stop-Look-Listen

My nickname growing up was Rapid Rick. I always got things done quickly. Not always accurately or perfectly, but fast. After 70 years of taking pride in this reputation, I finally realized that slower is better. Ouch!

Yes, there were some advantages to my “now is good” approach to life…but now I wonder at what price.

"Lego Wars," Credit: FFCU on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/free_for_commercial_use/ (License: CC BY-SA 2.0)

Letting Go and Letting In

It seems like we always have to let go of stuff. As babies, at some point, we have to give up our pacifiers or security blankets. As young adults, we have to let go of our dependence on parents and become independent. As we grow older, we need to let go of our defensiveness in order to let in constructive feedback. Over the course of our lives, our security blankets and dependencies change, but we Read More

Title: Fox at Malone Bay Campground -2 | Credit: Ray Dumas | License: CC BY-SA 2.0

The Tao of Money

I just spent a few days on Isle Royale, one of the best kept, National Park secrets in the United States. I walked ten miles a day on rugged trails on this spectacular island in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The views were stunning: pristine lakes, lush forests, breathtaking views, and occasional sightings of fox, moose, and wolves. These walks filled me with renewed appreciation for Teddy Roosevelt for founding and funding the National Parks Read More

Mirror Pond at Belton House, by Flickr user Rich Bamford (https://www.flickr.com/photos/myrialejean/)

Awareness with Acceptance

Call it serendipity. Call it luck. Call it random events that just happened to be connected. Call it anything you want, but I just experienced a strange coincidence that boggles my mind a bit. I had been thinking about a new post (yes, that’s what I do with most of my free time) about the notion of awareness and acceptance. Incidentally, my process for writing posts is to latch onto an idea from something I have read, Read More

Photograph of starry sky | Author: Michael Hull (License: CC0)

The Dance

“At the still point of the turning world, there the dance is—and there is only the dance. Yet the enchainment of past and future, woven in the weakness of the changing body, protects mankind from heaven and damnation which flesh cannot endure. Time past and time future—allow but a little consciousness.” –T.S. Elliot Lynnda Pallio vividly describes those wondrous still points in poetic prose in her multiple-award-winning new book, Trusting the Currents. Trusting the Currents Read More

"Stools," by Ai Weiwei | Photo Credit: Daniel Silliman

Stages and States

I just completed an on-line course through MindValley Institute entitled “Beyond Seeking” taught by Ken Wilber, whom I mentioned in my last post. The course triggered so many ideas that I wanted to filter them through my lens and write a post. So here it is. As the title of this post indicates, throughout our lives, we can experience many stages and many states. In my last post, Spiritual Awakening, I constructed scales for Wilber’s Read More

Bryce root

Two-Dimensional Taoism

What a jarring juxtaposition. My wife and I had just spent 10 days hiking in the natural beauty of Yosemite, Zion, and Bryce National Parks. We ended this delightful vacation with a one-night layover in Las Vegas—the capital of decadent artificiality. It shocked our systems and sensibilities to move so abruptly from the real to the unreal. Ironically, I had also spent the evenings of our day hikes on the spectacularly beautiful trails of our Read More

Transcendental Possibilities

My hunch is that we are all searching for transcendental possibilities, but what in hell does that mean? I have been on a long journey trying to figure out what those possibilities might look like and how I can have any real degree of assurance that what people claim can be true. Thirty-two years ago I co-founded Possibilities, Inc. with Barry Cohen, a PhD philosopher, as a discovery vehicle for this journey. I’ve covered a Read More

Credit: Valeria Boltneva | License: CC0

Possibility

As the world veers ever more perilously toward the precipice, it doesn’t seem like a giant leap to suggest that we need a major shift in thinking and relating. Essentially, we need to start thinking about ourselves as connected vs. separate and we need to start relating to each other interdependently vs. competitively. This post will address the possibilities of making that shift and the planetary potential if we can make it happen. I will Read More

Photo of Machu Picchu by Rick Bellingham

The History of Great Ideas

Great ideas have been piling up in history’s graveyard for 3,000 years. They are left unattended and largely forgotten. When these ideas are first introduced, they are usually met with laudatory excitement and abundant enthusiasm. Then, the ideas are gradually diminished and distorted through this four step process: Trivialization, Bastardization, Privatization, Commercialization

Author: Elizabeth Lies

Conscious Dualism

Dualism means the tendency of humans to perceive and understand the world as being divided into two discrete categories. Dualism exists in many belief systems including Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Taoism and Confucianism. In these beliefs the universe is divided into the complementary oppositions, e.g. good and evil. In traditions such as classical Hinduism, Zen Buddhism or Sufism, a key to enlightenment is “transcending” this sort of dualistic thinking.

Image by Thomas Hawk

Being at Home in the Universe

An Internal Space or an External Refuge At my older daughter’s wedding, she sang the song, “Feels Like Home to Me” to her husband. It struck me that we are all searching for a sense of home in our lives and I was so grateful that she had found a man with whom she felt at home. Her beautiful voice filled the reception hall and my hope for everyone there was that they felt, in Read More