“To see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower, to hold infinity in the palm of the hand, and eternity in an hour.” ~William Blake

My first introduction to Taoism occurred when I happened to find a book on the subject while in college…It has had a deep influence on my thinking and decisions through out my life.

The quote below is one of best descriptions I found summarizing Taoism…it was copied from a page in eastern-philosophy-and-meditation.com

“Taoism has as its goal, helping people realize their oneness with the Universe. Nature functions in a state of harmony, the various plants and animals that form a part of the natural world live in a state of interdependence with each other. An acorn tree for example, derives its nourishment from the Sun, the rainfall and the soil. The wild pig depends upon the acorn for its food. The droppings of the pig nourish the soil and provide for the acorn tree and the other plants rooted in the soil. Taking another example, the leaf of the acorn tree derives its nourishment from the parent tree. When its life ends, in autumn, the leaf falls, decomposes and fertilizes the soil for the parent tree to draw its nourishment. Thus all being in the Universe live in a state of interdependence, none can survive on its own.

Man is not separate from the Universe or from Nature but is a part of it. Hence, according to the religion of Taoism, we must respect nature. The ruthless exploitation of natural resources by modern man to support his lifestyle and his economy cannot but be condemned by Taoism.

But what is it that prevents us from realizing, from experiencing our oneness with nature. It is our identification with the mind – the rational mind. The rational mind thrives on solving problems. That is its purpose. It should be used when there is a problem to be solved and not as a guide to life. There is an old Chinese saying that goes, “The Human mind is as much an organ for finding food as a pig’s snout.” And what does the pig do with its snout when it is not hungry. It does not use it. The habit of compulsive thinking, which we are all subject to in the modern age, is a grave problem and must be addressed to solve the ills of our civilization.

The rational mind classifies and bifurcates, it sees one object as separate from another. It is indispensable to problem solving, to finding food. But we overuse and misuse the rational mind. Because the rational mind perceives that we are separate from nature we exploit nature. It sees us as separate from other human beings and we exploit, take advantage of and compete with our fellow human beings. We live in isolation and loneliness. We have lost our feeling of oneness with nature and with each other. Our mind sees us as separate from the world around us. This false separation is called the ego.

The religion of Taoism also has the concept of Yin and Yang Chi, or vital energy. Due to our rational mind and compulsive thinking we feel separate from the world around us. But even more tragic – as the religion of Taoism teaches us – is our sense of separation within ourselves – the separation of our mind and body.

When we are doing any activity, for example while chopping onions while cooking food, are we truly there in the present moment as we do the work? For most of us the answer is no. As we wash the dishes we will not be present in the moment, but our mind will be thinking of the cup of tea that we will drink after finishing this chore. The beauty, the aliveness the juice of the present moment will be lost to us as our minds will be occupied elsewhere.

The religion of Taoism stresses on being present in the Here and Now as we do any activity. The present moment is the only moment that is – the past and future are only concepts within our minds. By being wholly present in the Here and Now, we stop the habit of compulsive thinking. This is the most important step that anyone can take to experience wholeness with the Universe, to experience oneness with the Ultimate.”

“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.”~ Rilke

One Response

  1. Hi Mr Sid
    Hmmm. In the west we are infected with the aristotilean brain fart, viewing the world in discrete terms. In the east they are infected with the taoist brain fart, viewing the world in terms of balancing forces. but unfortunately profound insight and wisdom do not mean that taoism is valid, any more than the scientific method proves that a theory is true, it can only prove it is false. This is all inside the skull. Yin IS the right mind, yang IS the left mind. max qi or feng shui is achieved when there is no conflict between the minds. reality is outside the skull. I’ll call it Tao, since taoist’s don’t know what’s happening. all of the duality based philosophies are merely projecting this duality on the world. There are physicists who have elaborate theories built up “proving” with calculus that light has a particle nature or a wave nature. The ABF has limited the western mind to think in either/or term. This paradox is not at all confusing to the oriental who is used to thinking in boolean/bottom manner. The scientific method, however is incomprensible to them, viewing it as circular reasoning, start with a presuposition, and gather data the to “prove” it. start with the answer and work their way back to the question. Both views say more about how the mind works than the nature of reality. this is what i mean by “it ain’t real” everyone’s involved in mental masturbation.It’s the yin/yang wars, fighting the battle of Moot Hill. Here’s something i did on plato
    and tao
    or….. I could be full of shit, i am crazy don’t you know?

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