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August 01, 2007


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The only words and concepts that we have to best explain pure awareness are emptiness and nothingness.

We can conceptualize consciousness but not pure awareness.

But rather than pure awareness being empty it is all that is. (i.e. isness)

It is a paradox: pure awareness is no thing yet pure awareness is every thing.

It will sizzle the mind if we try to intellectualize it with words or concepts.

Great blog, Brian. I'm with you on the appeal of Taoism, though there is an element of magical thinking associated with it that can strain the credulity sometimes.

What I like best is Taoism's simplicity, and its focus on nature as the source of information on how to live a spiritual life.

Mystic Wing, I agree with you about Taoistic magical thinking. That's a side of Taoism that I don't resonate with. Moeller talks about this some in his book.

He makes the usual distinction between "religious" and "philosophical" Taoism. The first places a lot of emphasis on the physical body. Immortality, or at least very long life, is sought for, thereby supposedly reflecting the eternal Tao.

Philosophical Taoism, which appeals to me a lot more, tries to become one with the Tao in a different sense. Not bodily, but more holistically. (Guess I should say, holeistically).

By emptying ourself of self, we naturally attune to the Tao - which is beyond the distinction of self and other, while encompassing them.

I do enjoy relating Taoism to Tai Chi, though. Just started to read a book by Stuart Olson that relates Tai Chi movements to the I Ching and Taoist philosophy. But that's not really magical.

Physical movement is very much real, as is the interplay of yin and yang in both individual movement and partnered movement (like dance).

Dear Brian,

Please forgive my not staying in accord with your essay subject today, but - for those who might wish to follow up on it - I commend Miguel Ruiz' _The Four Agreements_ (San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Publishing, 1997) - xx + 138. Its essential message is: "...Today I will be impeccable with my word, I shall not take anything personally, I will not make any assumptions, and I am going to do my best" (p. 90). That sums up the book, and, as Hillel [a chopper of wood!] said, "The rest is commentary." Some few might find the book useful or worth bothering with.

Robert Paul Howard

Robert dangerous very dangerous agreements. Agreements must have love in them. Love self and love others might be a good start.

Compassion for self and others might be another.

Those four agreements could be used to justify their actions by a horrible dictator or elitists that want to give to the rich to help the poor that I just saw stated on fox news.


When humans try to intellectualize laws for society or individuals without the wisdom the spiritual masters have taught us this is what we get.

Laws that can be used by the few to take advantage of the many.

Dear research seeker,

The set-up here at the Library does not permit me to hear what was said in the Fox-News clip you referred us to. I am not able to respond to it. I do ask, however, whether you are familiar with the "commentary" portion of Ruiz' book? It seems that you may not be.

Robert Paul Howard

you are right robert I read that book several years ago and have forgotten the thrust of the book.

sorry if I overspoke.

I just went on what your comments where about that book.

I read "The Four Agreements" and put the agreement "don't make any assumptions" to good use. This has saved me a lot of trouble and money, for example in real estate deals. This agreement keeps me more alert and 'present' and it applies to everything in life from driving a car to hearing the news, to approaching dangerous situations. By applying this agreement, you find out how conditioned and habitual your mind is. Things are not always as they appear. Keeps you on your toes like an antelope on the savannah. A soldier who doesn't understand this is more likely to become a dead soldier.

The administration assumed that when we booted Saddam the people would all jump on the democratic bandwagon in an orderly fashion and this would then have a stabilizing influence the Middle East political situation and oil supplies. They assumed it would be easy and that we all would be patting Bush on the back by now. To me it appears the CIA, Rumsfeld and his department were the real fuck-ups here. Wish they'd read the book.

they read books?

Certainly Taoism, as any school of thought, can be misused and turned into various cults, sects, etc...however the pure philosophy is what attracts me and keeps me centered and focused on what is really important.

That is, nothing.

I love the Tao.

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