No Original Idea. Know the Tao of Heaven!

the tao of heaven

What is the Tao of Heaven? The ancient Greeks wrote of “the Logos” as the guiding principle behind all of reality. Was this their idea?  The Egyptians spoke of Toth as the guiding word, and son, of the supreme god, Osiris. Where did they get this idea? When Lao Tse, in east-central China, wrote his Tao Te Ching he gave us great detail of the Tao of Heaven. This the nameless Path, or Principle, guides all the Universe from within. How did all these people, in all these places, get the same idea all these thousands of years ago? John’s Gospel begins, “In the beginning was the Word.” Did he think this up?

In this day it’s common to think that spiritual awareness is a made-up idea. The truth is that that idea, itself, is a pretty recent notion. Early people, we’re told, worshiped the sun, the stars, or some other aspect of Nature. While we’re sure many did, isn’t it wiser to say that these things serve to remind us that we aren’t as big, or alone, after all? Or, do they help us see how big we really are, encompassing it all?

To put it another way, considering the immensity of the heavens puts us in touch with the Tao of Heaven, and our own tao. . In fact, it’s fair to say that the folks who are the loudest with these anti-spiritual ideas haven’t seen these things. They have never been far enough out in the open to have a good look at the sun. Not many have been far enough to see the stars away from the cities’ light clutter. What is the Tao of Heaven? If we said the Tao is the conscious essence within the universe we would be stopping short.

Spiritual awareness is not something we can find just in books. One very wise writer, Zhuang Tse, wrote that a truly aware person – a sage – can’t impart this experience, but only offer evidence of it in the dry bones of writings left behind.

The Tao of Prayer tells about living into this Word, Logos, and Tao. The blog considers a little of what it means, day by day. Welcome!

Spontaneous Generation

 

Where does life come from?
Where Does Life Come From?

In the early days of Natural Philosophy some thought that life just happens. Where there is old meat, flies happen. Where rags are left in a corner, rats happen. Grain, weevils, &c. A naive teen might worry about a kiss making babies. Today we’re a little smarter: life has to come from somewhere, right? Where does life come from?

Where does our life come from? More to the point, where does our aliveness originate – our awareness, our skills, our mastery?

Life, and Mastery

There is an old story that Zhuang Tse told about a butcher who could cut an ox with the grace of a dancer. His blade never dulled, and his motions were fluid, never meeting any resistance. He “knew” just where to apply the edge as the meat fell away and the joints divided as if on their own. The Emperor watched him work, and learned how to rule his kingdom more effectively.

The Sage said that Butcher Ding’s spirit knew where to cut as he followed the Tao. His own tao knew the tao of that particular ox, so that there was no time spent in finding the right path to cut. This did not happen by some magic, but he had practiced his art for many years. His mind – whether seated behind his eyes, in his hands, or even in the cleaver which extended them – lived in the mastery of his craft. He was spontaneous. 

Spontaneous Living

We speak today of being spontaneous as if meant just doing what we feel like doing – following our heart, and that’s that. In truth, it’s pretty much the opposite. Butcher Ding couldn’t spontaneously prepare a feast when still an apprentice. Neither could a pianist perform a Liszt concerto without visible effort, but by the invisible effort in years of study and practice.

Mind, body, soul, and spirit – all that one is – learn to operate as one. One stroke at a time, one note at a time, one prayer, one breath at a time. This is what it takes to attain mastery, and to be mastered.

Learn From the Masters

The Tao of Prayer is a small book which highlights the teachings of sages throughout time to help us grasp what it means to master, and be mastered by the fullness of all life. Big claim for a small book? When you read it I think you’ll agree with the pre-readers that it stands up for it pretty well.

 

In the Zone! Ooo-Wee! Mastery, Mindfulness and Wu-Wei.

in the zone

In the Zone?

What do they mean, “In the Zone?” Have you been in the Zone, doing what you love, or whatever it is you’re best at? Maybe it’s running, playing music, or maybe making stock trades. We can be so far into what we’re doing that we lose ourselves in it, so that the task seems to be doing itself through us, and we’re in kind of a high, even intoxicated as we observe it all happening. People have been looking at just what this is for a longer time than most of us know – from the early-ancient philosophers to the latest neuro-science research teams. What have we learned? How can we use it? Continue reading “In the Zone! Ooo-Wee! Mastery, Mindfulness and Wu-Wei.”

Inner Space: The Final Frontier

inner space final frontier | the man behind the curtain is you

We live in a frenzied age. One of its marks is the clamor to define and control the environment around us. We seek to “change the world,” to control even the weather. Scientists ever outward to find out what exists on other planets. They even study the chemical make-up of the stars in distant galaxies. “We” focus our attention on all these things beyond our own selves, but what do we know of our selves?  Let’s explore inner space, the final frontier!

The Ego Trip: Mileage May Vary!

We try to look strong, wise, and independent, but in whose eyes? What is strength, when we can’t control our own passions? Our bellies, or, our eyes, command us to take the shortest route to the refrigerator, the nearest burger joint, or the most enticing sexual interest. Are we so enslaved to our physical appetites? We grasp for the easiest conquest over others.  Does our pride have that much power over us? We delve out the smallest sub-particle in an atom, or the latest gossip in the entertainment world. Are we more than data storage units? We say we want independence, but from what, really? Are we more than our outward pride? Do we exist only to enhance our profiles?

Who is the “Man Behind the Curtain?”

The most ancient sages of every culture understood that the human heart, the core of our being, more expansive than the universe itself. It is deeper than any ocean trench, more complex than the finest study of physics. It is broader than the very reaches of space-time, yet we have been taught to, “pay no attention to the Man behind the curtain.” The Tao of Prayer invites us to explore and discover this frontier, and what it really means, what it costs, and what i really means to become truly,  fully Human, and Divine.

Can We Learn More?

The Tao of Prayer, which I hope soon to see published, offers a traveler’s guide to the ancient ways, and how to use them in our own lives. Stay tuned!

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