A lot shows up in the Oriental writings about Mindfulness. I’ve posted earlier from Lao Tse’s teachings on emptiness. Our Modern thinking draws a curtain between Mind and Spirit, as if we can “understand” the mind while the spirit is something other-worldly or just imaginary. Continue reading “The Mindfulness Trap”
The mantra of our time. “Follow your bliss” shows up in different forms almost non-stop, doesn’t it? Often this means choosing the right career, life partner, or brand of whiskey. Isn’t there more to living? What if it’s all about what feels good, or what’s convenient for us? Then how are we better than the old dog lying in the sunny spot? He’s found his bliss, hasn’t he? Why do they say, “follow your heart?” Who are “they?” How if following our heart different from the dog chasing its tail? Whose heart is wise enough to teach them? Whose heart has all the answers, or any answers? Are they the right ones?
“Follow your heart?” People stay in relationships that destroy them. Their hearts tell them to. Soldiers kill and die for their hearts tell them. Maybe love for whichever country, because they were born there. Maybe for the honor of their own corps. Maybe for a woman whose own honor is questionable, at best. If for their land, is one piece of land so much better than the other, to fight about it? Why can’t they all just go home, and work to make it even better? Is a casual insult worth anyone’s life? The reason is often just that those who control the land control their emotions. It becomes more noble to be a dog of war than a man of peace. Too often we follow our bliss to the mad house, and we follow our hearts to the graveyard. Is this what it means to be human?
Many have realised the picture was much bigger than that any of that. They found real bliss by leaving that “bliss” behind. By not chasing after the appearances they found the reality. We remember them as sages, saints, and ascetics. What were they seeking? Pleasure? Enlightenment? Nirvana? Or was it – is it – something bigger? These are questions we explore in the book, The Tao of Prayer.
A new book with an eternal perspective, The Tao of Prayer invites the reader to join into the deifying boogie that makes this life worthwhile. This timeless three-step, this dance of the Tao, is the ultimate ecstasy. Is this not the birthright of every human being? Yes. This ecstasy is our birthright. How do we find peace of mind? Can we live more effectively? What are we in this world for anyway? All these are important issues; they are only questions if we are standing back by the refreshment table. The dancers know these answers without asking.
What are these steps? They are two steps back, and one step forward. One away from our attachment to momentary distraction. One away from the demands of our passions. One step into mindfulness, as we let the Tao lead the way. As we master this dance we master life itself. Such questions as those above are no longer even issues. Peace of mind is the dancers’ way of being; their lives are effective; they are in the dance, and the Tao is the reason.
Those still at the refreshment table simply watch. They fill up on sherbet punch and pastries. They think we are just walking. That’s what they see. One foot in front of the other. No outward pizzazz, no skill required. That’s OK. Just keep dancing. The dance is within. That’s where things happen. That’s where the ecstasy lives. On the outside, we just keep walking.
Each of us is on the same Path, wherever we are. We may call ourselves Hindu, Buddhist, or Christian. We may pray to Tian, Vishnu, or Jehovah, or we may follow Navajo spirituality, or Sikh. We may just be working it all out as we go. The Path reaches all. I call that Path, “Tao,” and we all have our place on it. Yes, a Taoist will identify with much of what The Tao of Prayer says. So will a Hindu, a Methodist, or even an atheist. There is one Path, and we’re all on it, some place or another. This book offers a practical map for following it through. Un-attachment, dispassion, and mindfulness need not be abstract notions but everyday experience. Ecstasy is our birthright.