The Activist’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for a Modern Revolution by William Martin

Change and anger are in the air. Looking for answers to today’s wrenching challenges, William Martin turns to the Tao Te Ching and finds that while Taoism is known for its quiet, enigmatic wisdom, the Tao can also have the cleansing force of a rushing river.

Through his interpretation of this ancient Chinese text, Martin elucidates revolutionary messages condemning power-seeking and greed. He emphasizes that humans have a “natural virtue” that can help them heal the planet; shows how Taoism’s simplicity can be subversive and its flexibility a potent force; and reassures that “when injustice is the rule, justice always lies in wait.”

Provocative and stirring, Martin’s Tao flows within and through those who ride the waves of anger and frustration and gently guides them to true freedom.

“We have learned the secret of transformation: Injustice feeds our determination. Hate increases our love. Wounds bring forth our healing, and fear uncovers our courage and serenity.”
— from The Activist’s Tao Te Ching

Biography
I have taken a winding road that has led me straight to the present moment. I have, over the years, worn the labels of, “Christian, Buddhist, and Taoist.” I have followed careers called, “Scientist, Minister, Therapist, Writer, and Painter.”

I have two children by my first marriage. Lara and John are delightful people and bring me much joy. I have three grandchildren, Jillian, Andrew, and newly arrived Emma – all of whom likewise delight me. I have been married to Nancy for 27 years now and she is the mate of my heart and I cherish my life with her. Nancy and I now live in the mountains of Northern California, near the sacred Mount Shasta. We are deeply grateful to that dear Mountain for allowing us to live at her feet.

I write these words at the age of 72 years and I sense that I am in the most creative, generative, and in many ways, powerful time of my life. I write, publish, paint, drum, dance, walk in the forests, and celebrate my life.

All of my books, both print and electronic editions, are available at Amazon and other booksellers. I hope you enjoy them. My personal website is http://www.williamcecilmartin.org and my blog site is http://www.taoistliving.com

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Interpreting the Tao Te Ching with William Martin

The Activist’s Tao Te Ching

William Martin is an award-winning author whose work expresses the practical wisdom and inspiration of Taoist thought for contemporary readers. A native of California, Bill graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Electronic Engineering. After four years working for the Navy as a research scientist, he returned to graduate school. He earned a Masters degree from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. He did not find himself fitting within the Christian Church clergy structure so, guided by his love of the Tao Te Ching, he began to seek his own way. He spent two decades in private practice as a Marriage and Family Counselor in Phoenix, Arizona, and taught counseling for many years at Rio Salado College in Phoenix. He has been a student of the Tao for four decades. In 1998 he and his wife Nancy, decided to simplify their lives so they sold most of their possessions, left their careers, gathered their remaining belongings into a 5X8 foot U-Hall trailer and moved to the Oregon coast. Nancy worked at a small Inn and Bill wrote a book. In 1999, after a year of strolling along the beaches, walking through the forests, and feeling the intense joy of the natural world, they moved to the mountains of Northern California. They live a somewhat private existence, connecting with their close friends and with their individual work. They walk, read, enjoy qigong and cherish their life together. Nancy is a traditional bookbinder, restoring old books and creating hand-bound editions of new ones (www.nwbookbinding.com). Bill continues to write and paint in the Taoist tradition. http://www.taoistliving.com/

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The Four Rules Of Living According To Lao Tzu

Published on Aug 23, 2017 

The Four Rules Of Living According To Lao Tzu

Author Matt Caron for Sivanaspirit.com
The original article can be found here: http://blog.sivanaspirit.com/sp-gn-ru…

Music by Incompetech.com
Photos from Upsplash and Pixabay.

An Eastern Approach to Letting Go By Christopher Chase

How Taoist and Buddhist philosophies can help us connect to life

You are not IN the universe, you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.
– Eckhart Tolle

If I had to summarize what I’ve learned from Taoist and Buddhist philosophy it’s been a deeper understanding of how to both let go and connect with life. It’s a kind of yin and yang approach to everything.

How to both let go and connect with life

Reducing Stress, Finding Peace

In the Tao Te Ching the advice is to yield with difficulties, reduce clutter, create space, let go. So over the years I’ve tried to apply this to my thoughts, emotions, goals, expectations and opinions, especially when these are creating fear, anxiety or unhappiness.

This approach has helped me to let go of stress, flow with problems, accept situations that were difficult, and to find deeper peace.

Letting go of stress

Falling Back into Communion

On the flip side the great masters of the East offer wonderful advice on how to connect more closely with the world around us, with nature, with creative activities and people, with the great flow of all existence. They emphasize how we are each a part of Nature, unique sentient expressions of our Universe.

As we let go of our limited human thoughts and obsessions, we fall back gracefully into communion with the Source of all things, connecting directly with the Universal field of life and energy that has brought us into being.

Back to the Source of all things

Our Primal Virtue

This is who we really are, the sages and masters tell us. We are this great dance of creative awareness, relationships and activity. Breathing in deeply and mindfully we pull the outer world into us, breathing out slowly we let it go.

Carrying body and soul
and embracing the one,
Can you avoid separation?

Attending fully and becoming supple,
Can you be as a newborn babe?

Washing and cleansing the primal vision,
Can you be without stain?
Loving all men and ruling the country,
Can you be without cleverness?

Opening and closing the gates of heaven,
Can you play the role of woman?
Understanding and being open to all things,
Are you able to do nothing?

Giving birth and nourishing,
Bearing yet not possessing,
Working yet not taking credit,
Leading yet not dominating,
This is the Primal Virtue.

– Lao Tsu, Tao te Ching

The Tao of Happiness: Stories from Chuang Tzu for Your Spiritual Journey by Derek Lin (Author)

If you have not encountered Chuang Tzu before, prepare yourself for a treat. He was the sage who stood apart from all others in Chinese history. He was a unique presence, a great mind like no one before or since. Chuang Tzu quickly distinguished himself and became well known for his deep understanding and sense of humor. His mastery was such that he could explain the Tao with simple stories, and his humor was such that he could see the joy in ordinary things. He taught his students about “carefree wandering”—the path of moving through life with a free and happy heart, regardless of how turbulent the journey might be.

It is time for modern readers to join in on the fun. Chuang Tzu’s wisdom is not just for Eastern culture, but for all of humanity. We may not have the instability or the clash of massive armies indicative of Chuang Tzu’s time, but we have a lot of stress and tension in our modern world. Many of us find ourselves fighting little battles on the personal front just to get through the day. We can benefit greatly from Chuang Tzu’s teachings. These parables are presented throughout this book and juxtaposed with the charming and intelligent prose of modern-day Taoist teacher and author Derek Lin. Together, Chuang Tzu and Lin will present you with simple lessons that will have a lasting impact on your life.


Derek Lin is the award-winning author of The Tao of Daily Life, The Tao of Success, The Tao of Joy Every Day, and The Tao of Happiness. He was born in Taiwan and grew up with native fluency in both Chinese and English. This background lets him convey Eastern teachings to Western readers in a way that is clear, simple and authentic.

Lin has utilized his linguistic skills to create a Tao Te Ching translation that has been lauded by critics as setting a new standard for accuracy and faithfully capturing the lyrical beauty of the original. He is an active speaker and educator on the Tao Te Ching and the Tao in general. More information about his work is available at http://www.DerekLin.com.

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2015-11-15 – Derek Lin – The Tao Perspective on Terrorist Attacks

Published on Nov 15, 2015

Per request of meeting attendees, Derek talks about the Tao perspective on terrorist attacks

You Are God : An In-Depth Conversation with Dr. Wayne Dyer

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer has been teaching people to live better lives for nearly 40 years. First coming from the perspective of a psychologist and then as a spiritual teacher, his books, recordings, and talks have influenced millions. After four decades, his core message has become incredibly simple and equally profound: You are the same as your Source. You are God. Because you come from God, you cannot be anything but God. All of Dr. Dyer’s current work boils down to helping people realize this fundamental truth and overcome obstacles to living lives that fully recognize it.

Dr. Dyer is the most popular teacher in the mind/body/spirit genre. He has written more than 30 books, and his National Public Television specials have raised more than $120 million for public television. The most recent vehicles of his teaching include the 2007 book Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, in which Dr. Dyer reflects upon the verses of the Tao Te Ching and their wisdom in living a life of balance and alignment with nature; his new bookExcuses Begone!, in which he examines how to overcome memes—the viral, self-defeating thinking habits that prevent you from living your life’s purpose; and the new feature film The Shift, which stars Dr. Dyer, Portia de Rossi, and Michael DeLuise in a spiritual movie about discovering that life purpose.

We sat down with Dr. Dyer in Tampa, Florida, and talked about current topics both metaphysical and mainstream, from the law of attraction to laws about gay marriage; from the impact of Lao-tzu to the impact of Barack Obama; and from how we are failing future generations to how we can best serve them.

Hemachandra: Starting with The Secret, which has reached such a wide audience, the emphasis in today’s popular understanding of the law of attraction is predominantly about material wealth. What are the consequences of that kind of skew to this teaching?

Dyer: First of all, I think the law of attraction has been misstated. You do not attract what you want. You attract what you are. That’s how the law of attraction works.

Twenty-five centuries ago in ancient China, Lao-tzu said there were four virtues. If you live them—if you live in a place of God-consciousness—the universe will give you God-consciousness. If you live in a place of ego-consciousness, though, the universe will give you more of that.

One virtue is reverence for all of life. You revere all life. You never kill, you never harm, you never wish harm, and you never have thoughts of harm directed toward yourself or others. Another virtue is natural sincerity, which is manifested as honesty. Just be honest with who you are. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Don’t be a phony. Walk your talk. That’s how God works, so doing it is emulating how Source works. The third virtue is gentleness, which manifests as kindness toward all others.

The fourth virtue, which is relevant here, is supportiveness. If you say to the universe, “Gimme, gimme, gimme,” which is what a lot of the work around the law of attraction says because of a misinterpretation, then the universe gives you back what you offered out. You get more “gimme, gimme, gimme.” “Gimme” means you don’t have enough. You have a shortage. The universe just keeps giving you more shortage because of what you’re thinking and saying.

If, on the other hand, you say to the universe again and again, “How may I serve? How may I serve? How may I serve?” and you live a life of constancy reflecting that principle, the universe will respond back, “How may I serve you?”

Hemachandra: With an approach centered on lack and need, even if you are getting things, the feeling of shortage keeps coming back to you. So no matter what you get, you still always feel the need, don’t you?

Dyer: Exactly, and that’s why I say you don’t get what you want, you get what you are. When you live the virtues—when you live in that place of God-consciousness—all these rules we have about cause and effect, beginnings and ends, don’t have any impact or relevance. As Joel Goldsmith said, in the presence of the God realized, the laws of the material world do not apply.

That’s why people who live steadfastly at a place of God-consciousness can perform miracles. They can create. They can make virtually anything happen. From the space in-between, that last inch is the critical inch you have to take to reach that place. Every once in a while, I get to that place of God-consciousness, and miracles do happen.

Hemachandra: I’ve heard you say that it’s not you, Wayne Dyer, creating when you write in the early hours of the morning. It’s Source. What does it feel like to have Source expressing itself through you?

Dyer: How can I put words on it? It’s magical. It’s blissful. It’s awe. Rumi said sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment.

It’s just being bewildered—being in that state of pure awe. When I’m on purpose—when I’m allowing Source to come through—it’s always there. At those times, I’m not focused on any ego sense about how much I’m going to make, how well a book is going to do, whether people are going to buy it, or any of that. I just go to a state of awe and gratitude—I’m deeply, profoundly grateful—and it just works. The first words out of my mouth every morning are “I thank you.” Rumi said if there’s only one prayer you say every day, make it “thank you.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you—I start out every day that way. It puts you into this place where you know you’re connected to something big. Lao-tzu speaks about not living the Tao but letting yourself be lived by it. You surrender to it. You just say, “Whatever you want to do with me, I’m cool with it.” You know that you’re being used for wonderful, divine, great, and beautiful pleasure and purpose.

Hemachandra
: Your first book came out in 1971, nearly forty years ago. How has the way you teach, even more than the content of what you teach, changed?

Dyer: I used to teach psychology, and I don’t do that anymore. I teach spirituality. And the way that I teach now is just by listening. I listen a lot.

For years I taught in universities and high schools for classes of 30 or 35 students. Now I teach in very large venues with thousands of people in the audience. I used to have notes. Now I just let go and let God. I just allow it to come, and I didn’t do that before. I never even used the word “God” for twenty or twenty-five years. Now it just rolls out of my mouth all the time.

Hemachandra: Your new feature film is called The Shift. Do you hope to reach a new audience with the film, and do you think the film will then serve as an entryway to other parts of your work?

Dyer: The answer to both questions is yes. It’s an enormous opportunity to get a message out to people who may be less likely to read and listen to CDs—to people who would otherwise not be exposed to the most important teachings on the planet. These teachings are about how can we get along and survive as a people—how we can love each other, be kind and decent, serve each other, and be compassionate. Unfortunately, there aren’t many messages like that in the popular culture.

A Course in Miracles
says there are two emotions: love and fear. Everything that’s love can’t be fear, and everything that’s fear can’t be love. You’re either in one or the other. Almost every time you turn on the television set, you’re in fear. You get aligned with fear. When you’re aligned with fear, instead of with God-consciousness, you just keep attracting more fear-more stuff to be afraid of, more shortages, revenge, anger, wars, killing, and disease.

I think that the film is a great opportunity to reach a large audience of people who learn visually and who want to be entertained. In the film, three couples whose lives are in ambition, who are focused on accomplishment and achievements, transform their lives into meaning—into living lives of purpose and service. When I agreed to make the film, I insisted that it be produced in a high-quality way. I’ve seen films made around this subject matter in which the message was good, but the quality wasn’t.

I think it will be an entryway to my work, but I’m not really attached to that outcome. I don’t really care. I’m sixty-eight years old. What I do now will be read by unborn generations for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. For me, it’s not about my work—that is, it’s not about Wayne Dyer’s work, how much money I make, how well I do, or how well my products do. It’s more like what the Native Americans say: When we walk upon the earth, we always place our feet very carefully upon the ground, because we know the faces of our future generations are looking up at us from below, and we never forget them.

I think as a culture today we’ve forgotten them. This work is a way to help us remember them. It’s a way for us not only to find meaning in our individual lives, but to extend that approach all across the planet. Because if we don’t, we won’t have a planet.

Hemachandra: What did the process of doing a film look like for you? What was it like taking direction as an actor? And if the film is successful, is acting something you would consider doing again to help spread the message?

Dyer: I would certainly be open to it, but I wouldn’t have said that during the first week or two of the shoot. It’s very grueling work.

When I was asked to make the film, I decided that it was like taking on a new career at the age of sixty-eight. I’ve never acted before. And taking direction is not something I’m very good at. I’ve always known who I am and what I was going to do, and I’ve always just done it.

But here I totally surrendered. I said to myself, “I know nothing about this.” I went with a completely open mind and also with a knowing that anything in my life that I’ve ever put my mind to, I’ve been able to accomplish. Attitude is everything, so I’ve always picked a good one. I went in believing that I could do this, and I was not going to be part of a film in which it looked like I was reading my lines.

The filmmakers created this brilliant concept of a film within a film, so I’m really just being myself. In the first two or three scenes, I was trying to remember my lines from the script. I kept going over them, and I didn’t like the way it was coming across. Then I surrendered. I said to myself, “You know all of this stuff. You’ve been teaching it forever.” So, in the process of just relaxing and letting go, I forgot about the script. Instead, I tried to get a picture of what we were doing in a scene, and I said whatever words came to me. They were similar to the script, but I never followed the script. I just allowed myself to go.

I did two new things in August that I’d never done before. One was this film—being an actor and taking direction. The other was becoming a minister and marrying Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, who is in The Shift. It was just wonderful to open myself up and learn new things.

I’m sixty-eight, but I wasn’t going to make excuses. I just finished writing a book called Excuses Begone! this past week. Excuses—the idea that you’re too old to do something, that you’re too scared or too busy, or that it’s going to be difficult—are not aligned with Source, with what I often call God-realization. When I put my attention on something, when I’m aligned with Source and doing something for the right reasons, then I’m given the guidance. So, throughout that entire film, it doesn’t really look as if I’m acting at all. Part of it was my surrendering, and as big a part of it was the very talented director, Michael Goorjian, who allowed me to do that and filmed all of the scenes with that perspective.

Hemachandra: Given that you’ll likely reach people who have never encountered your work before in books, online, or even in your public-television specials, did you conceive of a specific message you wanted to impart to this unique audience, beyond a broader introduction to metaphysical principles and teachings?

Dyer: Yes, I did. The message is don’t die with your music still in you.

You came here with something to do. You are part of a universal consciousness, and there are no accidents in it. In your true essence—not the false self, not the ego part of you, but in the true essence of who you are—you are infinite and you have something very profound to accomplish while you’re here. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here.

Find it. Pay attention to it. Listen to the callings. See the clues, the cues. See the alignments, whatever they might be, no matter how absurd or bizarre they might seem to everyone around you. Ignore their concerns. In the movie, the music inside for one character, for example, is art—a woman had always wanted to draw but was so obsessed with just fulfilling her duties, as a mother and so on, that she never had time for it.

Fulfilling your duties as a mother is one thing, but if you have a calling inside that says there’s also something else, don’t ignore that. Don’t die with your music still in you. Don’t die with your purpose unfulfilled. Don’t die feeling as if your life has been wrong. Don’t let that happen to you. That’s the bigger message.

Hemachandra: And I think that’s a nice transition to talking about Excuses Begone! and the idea of people overcoming the excuses they tell themselves that prevent them from fulfilling their dharma, their true purpose. It seems as if the two projects really dovetail, as does so much of your work these days.

Dyer: Oh my goodness, it sure does. I just finished the manuscript this past week, and it’s the most remarkable thing I’ve ever done. I wrote Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao about what to think about and how to align with the Tao. Excuses Begone! is really a channeled work on how to go about changing long-established thinking and behavior habits and beliefs—what are called memes—that stop you from realizing your divine magnificence.

No longer what your belief about yourself is—if you’ve always been poor, if you’ve always been overweight, if you’ve always had rotten relationships, if your luck hasn’t been good, if you don’t attract into your life the things you want, if you’ve always been shy or always been aggressive—whatever it is and however long you’ve held it, the belief that you can’t change it is not aligned with Source.

Source says you can be anything. You can do anything. You’re infinite. Ego, with all its different excuses, says, “I can’t do that.” So this work means really realigning yourself with Source.

Excuses Begone! is a very spiritual book. I didn’t think it was going to be when I started writing, but I couldn’t escape it. The book wrote itself. I wrote it without any outline, and it turned out to be 510 handwritten pages. From February 1 until the end of September 2008, I wrote every single day.

Hemachandra:
If you’re raised with pessimistic, negative beliefs—those very excuses you’re talking about—that’s your world. That’s your understanding of reality. So, in a fundamental way, abandoning those unhealthy beliefs means abandoning your life. That requires a real leap of faith, doesn’t it?

Dyer: You’ve already abandoned everything you’ve ever known. All you have is now. That’s all there is. The whole idea that you’re tied to what you’ve been is nonsense.

I use the metaphor of a boat going down the river. When you’re standing at the back of the boat, looking at the water as you’re going along at forty knots, what you see there is the wake. The wake is the trail that’s left behind. You can ask the question, “What’s making the boat go forward?” It can’t be the wake. The wake can’t drive the boat. It’s just the trail left behind. It can’t make the boat go forward, any more than the trail that you’ve left behind in your life is responsible for where you’re going now in your life. The belief that whatever you’ve been is what you have to be is a meme—a mind virus.

There is no past. That’s another illusion. Everything that’s ever happened to you, to me, to anyone in this world, happened in the present moment. That’s all there ever is. So your relationship to life isn’t your relationship to your past, it’s your relationship to the present moment.

How good are you at being in the now? Most people tell themselves these excuses—I’ve always been this way, how can I possibly change, this is my nature, I can’t help it—that are just memes. They’re belief systems that keep you from being able to become all that you are intended to become. They’re impediments to your reaching God—realization, or Tao-centeredness. People lose track of their purpose, because they are so back there—living in their past.

Byron Katie speaks about this: Who would you be without your story? Carlos Castaneda used to say if you don’t have a story, you don’t have to live up to it. So get rid of your story.

Hemachandra:
What’s the first step toward abandoning habituated ways of thinking?

Dyer: I don’t think in terms of steps very often. When you write articles it’s nice to have them like that, but life doesn’t happen linearly. But I think it’s just recognizing that who you are is not any of the stuff that you have. It’s not any of the things of the ego.

Coming to that awareness is a very hard thing for most people to do—but that’s an excuse. If you tell yourself it’s too hard, then you won’t take it on. But right now, for most people, it’s almost an impossibility to do so, because they’re so attached to “I am what I have”; “I am what I do”; “I am what my reputation is”; or “I am all of this material stuff.”

Getting past that just means having the recognition, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, that you’re not here as a human being having a spiritual experience. It’s the other way around: You’re here as a spiritual being having a temporary human experience. You come to know your essence—that you came from an energy, a vibrational frequency. Everything in the universe is frequencies. Even things that look solid are all frequencies, all movement. Einstein said nothing happens until something moves. This chair I’m sitting in is moving. It may be hard to imagine, but if you took a microscope and really got in there, you’d see the spaces and a lot of particles all in movement.

Most of us are totally, completely misaligned. God-consciousness is up there, while most of us live down here at ego-consciousness. But what’s up there can’t recognize what’s down here. If you were a frog, and you were trying to see what this room is like, what would you see? Just try and picture it. A frog’s eyes are out on the sides, and they see from different frequencies altogether. What we see would just come across as a blur to a frog. A frog can’t recognize what it isn’t. Neither can you. And neither can God.

So, if you’re not aligned with God, it’s hard to recognize yourself as being of God. The way that you get aligned with God is by being like God, being like Source, being like energy. That means understanding how the Tao works—how God works.

It’s about giving. It’s about serving. It’s about allowing. It’s about kindness. It’s about gentleness. It’s about sincerity. It’s about reverence for all of life. It’s about those virtues that Lao-tzu wrote about. When you’re living in those virtues, then you get into the law of attraction. It starts working for you because you’re not working for it. You’re doing it for its own sake. But most of us are almost always in ego-consciousness down here, not God-consciousness up there.

Hemachandra: What’s the most common meme? And are they any different for men than for women?

Dyer:
I think the most common meme is that it’s too difficult to change. It’s too risky to change. My nature doesn’t allow me to change.

When you’re thinking that, you’re not understanding what your nature is. All of us come from this place of well-being, love, and kindness. But we’ve taken on these other things, and we think that they’re our nature. Our nature really is to be like God. That’s what we were like when we were babies.

A minister in Maui told me about a boy who was five years old, and his mom came home with a brand new baby. He was a rambunctious five year old, and his parents were afraid that he might do some damage to the baby. They kept a close eye on him so he didn’t get too rough—kick the baby or think it was a doll to play with or something.

They were watching the boy talk to his little baby brother, who was just a few days old. And he said, “Would you please tell me what God is like? I think I’m forgetting.” This little five year old knew that the baby was a piece of God who hadn’t yet had a chance to forget.

If there’s a distinction between men and women, I don’t pay attention to it. Honestly, I don’t see it. I think all of us are part feminine and part masculine. The Tao is considered feminine, like the mother and the mother’s breast. It’s the feeding without asking anything in return. It’s the offering, the giving. I’m sure sociologists can come up with distinctions about what’s different between men and women, but for every example you can give about what a woman does, you can come up with an opposite example of other women who don’t do that. Those are more artificial distinctions, I think.

Hemachandra: So, just to be really clear, what’s the biggest thing people need to learn in order to help them get beyond the excuses?

Dyer: They need to know that they are God. We mostly do not recognize that. We’ve lost the sense of our own divinity.

We think that we’re separate from God, but we can’t be. We must be like what we came from, and we came from an infinite, loving, kind, beautiful Source. We’ve forgotten that.

So, you have to recognize that God isn’t something outside of you—a cosmic bellboy to whom you pray in order to get this or that if you do the right things. Those kinds of understandings are all ego talk. Everybody—you, me, Osama bin Laden, Adolf Hitler—we all came from the same Source. Then we took on these egos and began to practice all kinds of things based in not having reverence for life, whereas that which is God has reverence for all life.

All excuses are nothing more than misalignments with God. Just imagine the great creative Source needing an excuse. It doesn’t have any concept of, “I’m too busy. I’m too old. I’m too afraid. Things are going to take too long.” Source doesn’t work like that. The Tao does nothing, Lao-tzu writes, but it leaves nothing undone.

Hemachandra: People make excuses, and it gets in the way of the achievement of their dharma. What’s your dharma?

Dyer: The purpose of life is to be happy. I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that. It’s also important not to interfere with anybody else’s right to do the same.

We just need to practice that. It’s the Golden Rule. But most people have a different golden rule—that they, as the gold, make the rule. That’s what they think the Golden Rule is, and so they revere money and power and all of that.

But just the ability to be content—to be in a state of bliss, to enjoy life—is all any of us want, really. You can’t accumulate anything, because anything you get you have to give away. We all know this. We watch our bodies go through the aging process. We know we came in here with nothing, and we know we’re going to leave with nothing. There’s nothing to own. There’s nothing to get.

The only thing you can do with your life is give it away. The best, happiest moments in your life are always when you’re giving something away.

Hemachandra: If the dharma for all human beings is doing good and being good, it still manifests itself differently for different people. Are the differences in our dharmas based on choices we make—on free will—or is our specific dharma something with which we’re born?

Dyer: We’re all individualized expressions of God, of oneness. We do have personality differences. Everyone who has had more than one child knows that they come in with personalities. The moment they come in—some come in screaming, some sleep through that first night and stay peaceful the rest of their lives—you see the differences. It gives me pause to think about past lives and those kinds of things.

Free will is something that people struggle with so much, but it’s very simple to me. Carl Jung said at the same moment you’re a protagonist in your own life making choices, you also are the spear carrier, or the extra, in a much larger drama. You’ve got to live with these two opposite ideas at the same time.

Basically we’re living with opposite ideas all the time. We’re sitting here in this room, and we see each other’s bodies. We know that we are physical manifestations—physical beings. We also know that each of us in this room is a nonphysical being. We have minds. We have thoughts that are happening right now. You can’t see them. You can’t touch them. There’s no substance to them. They have no boundaries. You can’t get a hold of them.

So there’s a part of you that you can get a hold of, and there’s a part of you that you can never get a hold of, and those are opposite things. Who are you? Which one are you? You are combinations of opposites.

The Bhagavad Gita speaks about combining the opposites—about fusing, or melting if you will, into the oneness. I think we have a free will, and at the same moment we don’t. We have to live with that. It doesn’t make sense intellectually, but that’s because our intellect is always trying to come up with a logical, rational explanation for things. To do that, it puts labels on things. But once you label something, you’ve got twoness. You’ve got the label, and you’ve got what you’re labeling. And there is only oneness in the universe, even though we artificially believe in twoness.

Hemachandra: Let’s talk about the memes a little bit more. How do political and cultural shifts happen when there are collective memes, or seem to be—

Dyer: —oh, yes, there are millions of them—

Hemachandra:
—and is there a tipping point at which you have enough people changing their thinking that a societal meme actually shifts?

Dyer: Oh, yes, and there are lots of examples. It wasn’t very long ago that when you called to make an airline reservation, you had to decide whether you wanted to sit in a smoking or nonsmoking section. It seems like ancient times, doesn’t it? But it was only two decades ago. That’s a cultural meme that shifted in a positive direction. No one on an airplane ought to have to breathe in noxious fumes because other people decide that they have an addictive habit. But that wasn’t the case for many decades. There was a tipping point: Enough people began to think that smoking on planes was unacceptable that it finally became unacceptable.

In fact, when I was growing up, everybody smoked, including me. When I was 14, I started. We all did it. That was just the way it was. And now there’s a stigma attached to it. It’s a big shift.

When I was in high school in the 1950s, the percentage of women in medical school was 1 percent. Now it’s 50 percent—one out of every two. The same is true with law school. Those are major meme shifts that have taken place. When I was in high school—I’m really aware of this because I’m going to my fiftieth high—school reunion next Saturday—if you were black and lived in Detroit, and you wanted to drive down to Florida to go on vacation, you had to plan to drive all the way through, because you couldn’t stop in a hotel all the way through South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. We can’t even fathom such a thing now, can we?

Irving Wallace wrote a bestselling novel, The Man, in the 1960s about a black man becoming president of the United States. We thought that such a possibility was thousands of years in the future. Next month Barack Obama, a black man, may well be elected president of the United States. Some people may still have some difficulty with the idea, but that’s a major cultural meme shift.

In physics we call these things phase transitions. When enough electrons within an atom get aligned and a critical mass is reached—as soon as you hit that hundredth monkey, as soon as you hit the one—you have phase transition, and all the rest of the electrons automatically make the change.

So, my mission—what I teach and what I believe in-is that you just get yourself aligned with God—consciousness. If we teach enough people to do it—if enough of us ultimately get there-then we’ll start electing leaders with this kind of consciousness. We’ll start seeing these kinds of shifts taking place. I think it works both collectively and individually.

It works in reverse, too. When I was a kid at 16, sneaking into a burlesque theater in downtown Detroit was a big thrill. Today, in every hotel room in America, you can turn on the television and see hardcore pornography. So the shifts can go both ways, and it’s incumbent on us as leaders of the spiritual community to get as many people as possible to really begin to think in God-realized ways.

Hemachandra: Speaking of meme shifts, you mentioned that you recently married Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. What did performing the ceremony mean to you, and what kind of minister did you become to marry them?

Dyer: I don’t even know what kind of minister I am. I went on the Internet. I think it cost twenty dollars, and I had to fill something out. And then my publisher helped set it up.

It’s just another hoop you have to jump through. What difference does it make who marries you, and why does it have to be a person with a religious affiliation? I’m now licensed in 47 states!

Hemachandra: Another career path for you?

Dyer: It could be! Seriously, I’ve had a lot of people already write and ask me if I’ll do it for them. I’m not interested in doing that, but the marriage was very momentous—talk about a meme shift! We’re talking about a legal marriage between women in the state of California.

I wrote a beautiful letter as my gift to them when I performed the ceremony. I said this is not just a ceremony to celebrate two people falling in love, loving each other, and being married, but it’s a galvanizing moment. It’s something for everybody who ever lived with those kinds of thoughts and feelings inside of them. Even as young girls, they probably couldn’t even have imagined that they would one day have the same rights as everybody else, which had been limited not on the basis of what choices they made but just on how they were created. That was a ceremony for all of the people who lived in shame, who lived lives of quiet desperation, who lived in the closet, and who now have role models of people who have done this.

They’re voting on the legality of this kind of marriage in many states, and I don’t know what in the world they think they’re voting on. Victor Hugo said you can stop an invasion of armies, but you can never stop an invasion of ideas. There’s nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. It wasn’t until 1920, four years after my mother was born—and she’s still alive and healthy—that women were given the right to vote. Now it’s hard even to imagine that for the greater part of the history of our country fifty percent of the population was not allowed to vote.

The same thing is true for same-sex marriages. It was always a stigma to be homosexual. In every school you knew who the gay guys or girls were. People ridiculed them, and they lived in the shadows. They don’t have to live in the shadows anymore.

Hemachandra: Some of the major meme shifts you talked about were top down. Political leaders seized the day and provided brave, bold leadership. But in this area, it seems to me, that hasn’t happened. We haven’t had a single major-party presidential nominee, for example, be willing to come out in favor of gay marriage.

Dyer: I know. But they do support it. They’re just not honest. And honesty—sincerity—is one of the four virtues that Lao-tzu writes about. Again, the four virtues are reverence for all of life, gentleness, supportiveness, and natural sincerity. That’s God—consciousness. They’re afraid they’re going to offend people they want to have vote for them-and I don’t respect any of them for that.

Why wouldn’t somebody have the same legal rights as everybody else in our society? What is that about? I don’t even understand them putting that on the ballot. So if fifty-one percent of the people say it shouldn’t happen, it’s not going to happen? You can get fifty-one percent of the people to say just about anything—to say let’s bring back slavery, or all Mexicans should be slaves, or something absolutely crazy like that. Does that mean we do it?

None of that makes any sense to me, but negative beliefs about homosexuality are a meme. And that cultural meme is shifting.

Woodrow Wilson was the president of the United States in 1920, and he was made a fool of—his wife almost divorced him—because he wouldn’t support women’s suffrage. He was president during World War I, but I look back upon him as a coward. Because he knew the right thing to do—the right of women to vote was an idea whose time had come a long time before then, when a lot of women were put into prison or persecuted because they fought for it.

Thoreau is one of our great heroes. He said civil disobedience is something for which every enlightened citizen is responsible. Forget the laws. If the laws don’t make sense, if they run contrary to your conscience, you have to disobey them.

Hemachandra: Metaphysical teachings are reaching more people than ever before. How do you think your work, along with the work of other modern spiritual teachers, is reshaping society, given its impact on so many people today?

Dyer: It’s pretty strong ego stuff, isn’t it, to think that it’s me doing it. Honestly, I don’t think that at all.

I don’t really pay attention to society. I don’t even think such a thing exists. We have sociologists, and they study all of these kinds of things—the collective habits of our people and so on. But I don’t believe very much in it. I just go where I’m sent and I do what I’m told. I listen to the highest voices within me. I don’t feel the least bit courageous. I don’t feel like I deserve any medals. I don’t feel that I’m any more special than anybody else who’s out there.

Like a lot of us, sometimes I’m preaching to the choir, and sometimes my voice doesn’t even get heard at all. Sometimes I think that what I’m writing now might not even have an impact for the next three or four generations. Sometimes I sit there and write, and I think, “It’ll be two hundred years before they get what I’m writing about.”

If I sat down in any room, I’d have as much to learn from anybody in that room as they’d have to learn from me. If I sit down and just really listen and hear who you are and what you have to say, what you fears are, what your ambitions are, and what your vision is, I have just as much to learn from you as you have to learn from me.

I feel very blessed that I have an intellect, that my mind is strong and my body is strong, and that I’m being used in this way. I’m grateful for it. But I also know that it’s really not me.

Hemachandra: You spoke earlier about the native proverb concerning what we owe our children and their children. What do you think we owe future generations, and how are we doing?

Dyer: Oh, we’re doing terribly. We’re leaving these unborn children trillions of dollars of debt, which is just horrific. We’re leaving nuclear weapons—enough to end life as we know it—all over the planet. We’re leaving a legacy of violence and killing and guns.

Why do we even make guns? I’m not against gun control. I’m against guns, period. I’m against anything at all that is used as an instrument of death. Why would we manufacture such a thing? Why would we have a business that does it? Why don’t we figure out a way to disarm ourselves totally? Thousands of children are killed by handguns in the United States each year. What is that about? What are we doing? We accept that? And we accept the presence of these weapons that are in silos and on submarines and airplanes? If any madman gets hold of them—and certainly there are madmen out there who will figure out how to get hold of them, they always have—what are we even making such things for?

We make weapons now that, if we ever used them, would kill ourselves. How do you explode a weapon with so much radiation in it that it will wipe out an entire city and think that it’s not going to blow over your own cities? We all breathe the same air. It’s madness.

What we are doing is deeply unfair and a profound tragedy—what we’re doing in the way of global warming, what we’re doing to the oceans—and none of it makes any sense to me.

Hemachandra: What will help our memes around these things shift?

Dyer: Consciousness will. New understandings will. Beliefs that these are things that we can no longer tolerate will, and then having elected leaders come out of that consciousness.

It’s slow. It’s inch by inch. But nature always bats last. The planet isn’t going anywhere. I recommend everyone read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which is so troubling. It’s a novel about what this planet would be like after such total destruction. But the planet will come back. It may take millions of years, billions of years, but a seed will come up in the middle. If we put concrete over every inch of this planet, some little seed will come through, and it will start over. As Alan Watts used to say, the planet will be peopled all over again. Everything will start all over again.

Einstein had that wonderful line that Marianne Williamson often cites: I don’t know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. So, the planet isn’t so much in danger. We are.

But we can shift in consciousness. David Hawkins speaks about the amazing power of even one person living in Christ consciousness. All it takes is one being living at a radical level of consciousness to transform all of the negativity on the planet, and just one person living at a high level can overcome the low consciousness of thousands. So, it’s not going to take a lot of us—just a handful.

Hemachandra: What are you most excited about today? What gives you hope?

Dyer: What I’m most excited about is that there’s an openness to this shift, and I do think that there’s a shift happening. We can sit here and talk about all the negativity, which we’ve done a little bit, but for every act of evil in the world, there are a million acts of kindness. Basically, our nature is to love each other and care about each other, and most of us do that. Most of us have no quarrel with anybody who’s living on another side of the planet and who might have a different religious persuasion. It’s just these small minorities to the far right and the far left who get all of the news time and print space.

But we’re starting to look at a new way of being, and I know ultimately that it will triumph. I think it’s coming soon, too.

Hemachandra: Specifically in the light of what we’ve been talking about, would you select a verse from the Tao Te Ching that you think is especially appropriate, or that carries special meaning for you?

Dyer:
Yes, Ray. The fortieth verse of the Tao is the shortest verse. Lao-tzu says, “Returning is the motion of the Tao. Yielding is the way of the Tao. The 10,000 things are born of being. Being is born of nonbeing.” We’re all returning.

Number seventy-six is a verse I love a lot, too. It starts, “A man is born gentle and weak; at his death he is hard and stiff. All things, including the grass and the trees, are soft and pliable in life; dry and brittle in death. Stiffness is thus a companion of death; flexibility a companion of life.”

I think that’s a beautiful verse. Stay flexible. Stay soft. More than thirty verses in the Tao refer to water in one way or another. Water is such a powerful teacher. We’re all water. We’re all comprised of it, born in it, conceived in it. We live in it.

Study water. Try to grab a hold of water, and it will always elude you. You just have to let yourself be in it. It’s soft, and it overcomes anything that’s hard. Put the hardest substance—say, titanium—out there, and let water flow over it. Eventually, patiently, peacefully, the water will just wear it away. Also, water will enter anywhere—through any opening at all.

So, let yourself be like that. God is in nature, everywhere and always. And we have so much to learn.

In the past decade, Ray Hemachandra has interviewed many of the world’s great spiritual teachers, including Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, and Sakyong Mipham. Loree Hemachandra is the author (as Loree Boyd) of Spirit Moves: The Story of Six Generations of Native American Women and a documentary filmmaker whose work includes the award-winning The Eagle and the Raven: A Purification by Banishment, which she wrote and coproduced. Read more about Ray and Loree Hemachandra’s work or contact them at http://www.hemachandra.com.

Reprinted with permission

Wayne Dyer: Living The Wisdom Of Tao [updated Nov 11, 2014]

Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, a God-realized being named Lao-tzu in ancient China dictated 81 verses, which are regarded by many as the ultimate commentary on the nature of our existence. The classic text of these 81 verses, called the Tao Te Ching or the Great Way, offers advice and guidance that is balanced, moral, spiritual, and always concerned with working for the good.

In this book, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer has reviewed hundreds of translations of the Tao Te Ching and has written 81 distinct essays on how to apply the ancient wisdom of Lao-tzu to today’s modern world. This work contains the entire 81 verses of the Tao, compiled from Wayne’s researching of 10 of the most well-respected translations of text that have survived for more than 25 centuries. Each chapter is designed for actually living the Tao or the Great Way today. Some of the chapter titles are “Living with Flexibility,” “Living Without Enemies,” and “Living by Letting Go.” Each of the 81 brief chapters focuses on living the Tao and concludes with a section called “Doing the Tao Now.”

Wayne spent one entire year reading, researching, and meditating on Lao-tzu’s messages, practicing them each day and ultimately writing down these essays as he felt Lao-tzu wanted you to know them.

This is a work to be read slowly, one essay a day. As Wayne says, “This is a book that will forever change the way you look at your life, and the result will be that you’ll live in a new world aligned with nature. Writing this book changed me forever, too. I now live in accord with the natural world and feel the greatest sense of peace I’ve ever experienced. I’m so proud to present this interpretation of the Tao Te Ching, and offer the same opportunity for change that it has brought me.”

BROWSE HERE

Wayne Dyer and Oprah Winfrey – The Wisdom of the Tao (Full)

Wayne Dyer talks about his best selling book “Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao” (2009)

Tao Te Ching


This is an introduction to the Tao te Ching. Throughout the journey of my own introspection no one piece of wisdom has been at my side more than the Tao te Ching, and it is an honor to present the Way in this light. The Tao te Ching speaks to everybody on many different levels of understanding. The Tao is a book that is felt rather than intellectualized, and it can be read in its entirity in one afternoon yet contemplated for a lifetime.

Tao Te Ching Introduction – Read By Jacob Needleman

Video created by the heart and genius at Hunab Ku Productions

The Perennial Way: New English Versions of Yoga Sutras, Dhammapada, Heart Sutra, Ashtavakra Gita, Faith Mind Sutra, and Tao Te Ching by Bart Marshall

VIEW THE UPDATED VERSION HERE

Eckhart Tolle on Tao Te Ching [ updated – Oct 30, 2013]

Translation by Gia-Fu Feng, Jane English No one has done better in conveying Lao Tsu’s simple and laconic style of writing, so as to produce an English version almost as suggestive of the many meanings intended. This is a most useful, as well as beautiful, volume-and what it has to say is exactly what the world, in its present state, needs to hear.” – Alan Watts RELIGION/ EASTERN STUDIES

The Tao Te Ching, the esoteric but infinitely practical book written most probably in the sixth century B.C. by Lao Tsu, has been translated more frequently than any work except the Bible. This translation of the Chinese classic, which was first published twenty-five years ago, has sold more copies than any of the others. It offers the essence of each word makes Lao Tsu’s teaching immediate and alive. The philosophy of Lao Tsu is simple: Accept what is in front of you without wanting the situation to be other than it is. Study the natural order of things and work with it rather than against it, for to try to change what is only sets up resistance. Nature provides for all without discrimination-therefore let us present the same face to everyone and treat all men as equals, however they may be have. If we watch carefully, we will see that work proceeds more quickly and easily if we stop looking for results. In the clarity of a still and open mind, truth will be reflected. We will come to appreciate the original meaning of the word “understand,” which means “to stand under.” We serve whatever or whoever stands before us, without any thought for ourselves. Te-which may be translated as “virtue” or “strength”-lies always in Tao, or “natural law.” In other words: Simply be.

Tao Te Ching: Part 1 to 6- Eckhart Tolle

“Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

Tao Te Ching – Part 7 – Eckhart Tolle

Allow Your Light to Fill the Darkness: A Primer to Living the Light within Us According to the Tao by Daniel Frank

How do we recognize error in our thinking? How can we enjoy the spiritual benefits of practicing our religion while not condemning the religion of others? These questions, and so much more, are addressed in the eighty-one commentaries included in this book. These commentaries refer to, but are independent of, the illuminating and compelling essay collection about Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching, as voiced in Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

Living “right,” according to the Tao, anticipates that we have both the understanding needed to make right choices and the knowledge to recognize the types of behavior that are important for us to change. However, of equal or greater significance to these skills are the feelings that drive our internal motivation at our center. Many of us need to learn the life lessons that keep popping up as issues in our lives. They keep resurfacing again and again until we finally recognize the lessons and actually learn them. We know we have really been learning our lessons when we notice that our intentions are genuinely beginning to change. Not learning them holds us hostage and keeps us repeating the same dumb behavior.

Each commentary has at least one labeled graphic that represents one or more aspect of the main idea of each section. The purpose of these graphics is to provide visualization for what otherwise might remain more abstract . We have absolutely no concept of how the connections we feel and know to be real actually come about, between ourselves and others, between us and the happenings of life, or between us and God. We often describe these feelings or experiences as resulting from some type of energy, but what might that really mean? Reflecting this unexplainable, invisible, but vital connection on the written page through symbolism provides our minds with a crutch to assist understanding and recall.

Although the illustrations as drawn may have little or no basis in the facts, as they are accepted today, or even as new discoveries may reveal, the understanding of the concepts that develop through their use helps us apply the “gems” that Lao-tzu speaks of in the Tao, to our lives.

With a modest upbringing and supportive parents, Daniel Frank completed his teacher training at the age of eighteen and started his nonstop forty-two-year teaching career the following year. He acquired his BA and BEd while working full time. In January of 1978, his interests led him to a course offered at the local secondary school based on the book How Should We Then Live? by Francis A. Schaeffer, a “theologian and philosopher . . . [with] forty years of intensive study of humanism and Christian truths” It stirred something within him to search for more answers to the question asked by the title of Schaeffer’s book. Although many of the authors he has read to date have contributed to the view of God he holds today, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer tops the list.

Click here to browse inside.

Aside

Learning to Respond, Not React ~ Tara Brach

Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself? Tao Te Ching

When life doesn’t go our way, we often launch into a chain reaction of obsessive thinking, blaming and unpleasant emotions. This talk explores how we can use meditative practices to step out of reactive patterns and respond to life’s challenges from our naturally wise heart.

The Lunar Tao : Meditations in Harmony with the Seasons By Ming-Dao Deng

From Taosim expert Ming-Dao Deng comes The Lunar Tao: Meditations in Harmony with the Seasons, bringing to life the Chinese Lunar Calendar via the prism of Taoism.

In The Lunar Tao, each day of the Lunar year is represented with a reading meditation, beautiful Chinese illustrations, and interesting facts about the festivals and traditions, providing readers with the context that gives Taoism such depth and resonance.

Ming-Dao Deng

Ming-Dao Deng, the bestselling author of 365 Tao: Daily Meditations, shows how to bring the tenets of Taoism into everyday life.

Book Description

We all live our lives by the Sun and the Moon

The lunar calendar is a main pillar of Chinese tradition and culture, encompassing many festivals and stories. Though most explorations of Taoism take place within the realm of scripture, exercises, and formal lectures, Deng Ming-Dao looks to the lunar calendar and highlights where these festivals and stories coincide with Taoism, giving readers a renewed and original way into this ancient philosophy. Each day of the lunar year is represented with a reading meditation, original translations, illustrations, and illuminating facts about festivals and traditions, providing readers with the context that gives Taoism such depth and resonance.

The book is a wealth of information:

Chinese festivals
Observations of the lunar calendar, including the birthdays and memorial days to the major Taoist gods and Buddhist figures.
Original translations of some of China’s most famous poems, and discussions showing how they relate to a spiritual path.
Passages showing how Taoism is intertwined with Confucianism and Buddhism.
A Taoist meditation for each day of the year.
Incorporation of the Twenty-Four Solar Terms, the traditional division of the lunar calendar, and the qigong (breath training) exercises created for each term.

Unlike any other book, and beautifully illustrated with more than 400 photo-graphs and drawings, The Lunar Tao offers a new way to explore Taoism and shows readers how to include the tenets of Taoism in daily life.

Tao Te Ching by Deng Ming-Dao

Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life,
Living the Wisdom of the Tao
by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

The Tao of Now: Daily Wisdom from Mystics, Sages, Poets, and Saints by Josh Baran

Nirvana is immediate. Not hidden. Not distant. Not in the future but right in front of your face. Right now.

“The Tao of Now” helps readers experience the power of enlightenment moment by moment. In this book of daily meditations, Josh Baran shows readers that nirvana is staring them in the face–regardless of whether things get better, or whether true love happens, or whether the stock market goes back up, or whether they lose ten pounds. Nirvana happens when ordinary, everyday experience is freed from perpetual seeking or wishing for conditions to improve.

“The Tao of Now”
contains some of the greatest ancient and modern teachings on the immediate experience of enlightenment from such notables as:

* Eckhart Tolle
* Rumi
* Stephen Batchelor
* Ram Dass
* the Buddha
* Jack Kornfield
* Byron Katie
* Pema Ch dr n

Baran adds his own inspirational commentary on experiencing immediate nirvana to that of these teachers.

“The Tao of Now” is a wonderful companion for any tired seeker who wants only to know the power and peace of true, immediate enlightenment.

Josh Baran is a former Zen priest and a well-known strategic communications consultant. Over the last 25 years, he has worked with many organizations and companies including Amnesty International, Rock the Vote, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Universal Pictures, Warner Records, Oracle and Microsoft.

In the last few years, he has focused on environmental communications. He worked closely with Paramount Pictures and Al Gore in support of the release of “An Inconvenient Truth.” In addition, he provides public relations for new green technologies and industries. For many years, he has managed media relations for some of the major visits of the Dalai Lama to the Eastern United States including the two huge events in Central Park. He lives in New York City.

Josh Baran

From “365 Nirvana Here and Now” by Josh Baran. Copyright c 2003 by Josh Baran. Used with permission from Thorsons/Element.

My friend spent years in an Indian ashram and seemed to get a lot out of it. I keep thinking that I should go there.

Josh: Our minds frequently think about other people, places, and times. It can be very useful to take note of this. At this moment, what does your friend’s life have to do with your’s? When you picture him in India, what images arise in your mind?

[laughing] Well, I visualize him meditating in an exotic garden, surrounded by peacocks, and receiving secret teachings from an enlightened guru who glows in the dark.

Josh: That’s a great image. Would you agree that these images are taking place entirely in your mind? You are the writer-director and you’ve cast your friend as the star of this fictional movie you’ve created. And it’s not a documentary. When you watch this movie, what are your thoughts?

I think that if I don’t go to India, I will miss out.

Notice the underlying feeling of “missing out.” Most people can relate to this theme: it is an old story. Are there other times in your life when you feel you are missing something, yearning to be elsewhere, or doing something different or better?

Yes. I probably have these thoughts many times per day.

Josh: I think of these recurring stories — “I’m missing out,” “I’m not good enough,” and “This shouldn’t be happening” — as the natural Zen koans of daily life. These koans pop up many times a day in a variety of costumes. You don’t need to find a Zen Master to give them to you.

Looking at my stories doesn’t seem very spiritual. Shouldn’t I be having some kind of mystical experience?

Josh: Actually, this is as spiritual as it gets. Reality as it is — in this moment, all right here. We don’t need to seek something else, something more, some other experience, world, or reality. This is the great, open secret. It can be revolutionary to welcome life with open arms in each instant.

Are you suggesting that there’s a “sudden” or “shortcut” approach to enlightenment, as opposed to a slow gradual process?

Josh: Sudden or gradual — these concepts are based on the illusion of achievement. Wakefulness is beyond these notions. When we rest openly, we are in eternity — mysterious, timeless, beyond all thoughts and concepts. This truth is closer than our eyes. We don’t need to be an advanced meditator to actualize this.

So, it doesn’t take years of practice to be able to realize this?

Josh: Seeking takes time but seeing doesn’t. Yes, you can seek for decades or you can see in this instant. Why wait?

So all I need to do is lead my regular life, content and happy just being myself, without meditating or practicing anything?

Josh: We don’t need some holy or special life other than the one we are living. Our everyday life is perfect and sufficient. This moment now is sufficient. You mentioned simply being yourself. Here are some interesting questions to chew on: “Who are you?” “What is this ‘self’ that you are?”

Are you against spiritual practice?

Josh: No. The distinction I’m making is in the way in which spiritual practices are carried out. If a certain method assists you in seeing clearly, this is wonderful! However, certain underlying or unquestioned assumptions you might have while engaging in spiritual practices can make it virtually impossible to be simply present. My own experience is that truth is not found in any particular practice or tradition as if it were some thing. Great teachings and teachers only point to our own essence, independent of any practice you might decide to take up.

I can’t imagine not planning for the future.

We can only ever live in this moment. On a practical level, of course, we all make plans for days, months, and years ahead. That is reasonable, but what happens is that our minds can get locked into a constant state of future focus. The reality is that we can’t know or control the future. When we are attentive to the present moment, our life becomes rich and full and we do not worry about tomorrow, any more than do the lilies in the field. What I am addressing here is the way mind operates, so you can see for yourself how to be free and at home in your life.

I want to improve the world for my children and change my life for the better. If I live fully in the present, won’t I become passive?

Josh: Not at all. Let’s imagine that suddenly there was a fire in this building. Instantly, you spontaneously leap up, move quickly, help people get away from the flames, maybe even do something courageous. Your body-mind reacts in thousands of way that don’t require thinking. In fact, it has an intelligence that is beyond what you can consciously know. Becoming consumed with thoughts like “This shouldn’t be happening” or “Why me?” can significantly impair your response.

When you are present to life as it is showing up now, you are intimately engaged with the people and world around you. There is no gap. This is the opposite of passivity. You are available and actively contributing in ways you may not even realize yet.

So, I’d like to ask again: Is there anything I can do to practice this?

Josh: There’s nothing to practice or achieve and nowhere you need to go. This is all about awareness in this moment. It’s really that simple. No philosophy, religion, or conceptualization required. Direct recognition is the key. Then each and every moment becomes meditation: unadorned wakefulness. Nirvana here and now.

Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Buddhism/2004/01/No-Philosophy-Required.aspx?p=2#ixzz24C9E9IYe

OPRAH RADIO
The Tao of Now

Oprah talks with author Josh Baran about his book The Tao of Now and his passion for sharing the wisdom of the world’s greatest thinkers.

Click Here To Listen

Shifting into Tao In 8 Months, 81 Verses, 81 Simple Lessons By Losita Bhattacharya

What are you seeking – love, happiness, peace, abundance? We are all seeking a better life for ourselves. However, all outward seeking is a reflection of something far more important – the inner seeking of our soul.

Our soul has an inner purpose that is common to every human being on the planet. This purpose has been given several names – the shift, spiritual change, awakening, enlightenment, unity consciousness and ascension. Knowingly or unknowingly, our inner spirit is on an expedition towards reconnecting with the universal consciousness or God-consciousness through awakening to the truth of its inner nature. When we consciously participate in this shift, we expedite this re-connection.

The shift is a simple process, if we allow change to flow through us and if we are able to trust our heart. In Shifting to Tao in 8 Months, 81 Verses, 81 Simple Lessons, Losita Bhattacharya recounts her own spiritual journey that created a shift in her thoughts, her consciousness and her view of life.

Losita is a writer and spiritual coach. Over the last few years, she experienced an inner transformation that catapulted her on a spiritual path, taking her away from her previous job in the corporate world to becoming a full time spiritual coach, helping others find their way through their shift in consciousness. Based on her own shift and coaching clients through their spiritual journeys, Losita created the ‘Journey to Spirit’ and ‘Oneness’ workshops that she conducts around the world. She writes regularly on her blog, http://www.ionearth.org and she can be reached through her website, http://www.lositabhattacharya.com.

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A Path and a Practice: Using Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching as a Guide to an Awakened Spiritual Life by William Martin

The Tao Te Ching—one of the most loved and widely translated books in human history—has appeared in countless English-language versions. But no modern translation has yet captured the essential thrust of Lao Tzu’s work as a practical guide to living an awakened life.

Now William Martin, whose acclaimed previous reinterpretations of the Tao (for parents, couples, and elders) have introduced or reacquainted this classic text to thousands of readers, strikingly translates the Tao’s eighty-one chapters to uniquely address someone on a Tao—or path—with a practice.

Martin frames his new translation with two illuminating, groundbreaking sections: “A Path,” which introduces the Tao’s nonlinear construction and explains how it works its themes; and “A Practice,” which provides practical guidance for readers exploring each of the Tao’s themes in depth. Martin’s genius in this new translation uncovers how directly the Tao speaks to readers on or about to embark on a spiritual journey.

William Martin is a New York Times bestselling author of nine novels. He is best known for his historical fiction, which has chronicled the lives of the great and the anonymous in American history while bringing to life legendary American locations, from Cape Cod to Annapolis. He has also written an award-winning PBS documentary, one of the cheesiest horror movies ever made, magazine articles, and book reviews for The Boston Globe. He was the recipient of the 2005 New England Book Award. He has three grown children and lives near Boston with his wife.

Eckhart Tolle speaks on the Tao Te Ching

The I Ching: A Biography ~ Richard J. Smith

The I Ching originated in China as a divination manual more than three thousand years ago. In 136 BCE the emperor declared it a Confucian classic, and in the centuries that followed, this work had a profound influence on the philosophy, religion, art, literature, politics, science, technology, and medicine of various cultures throughout East Asia. Jesuit missionaries brought knowledge of the I Ching to Europe in the seventeenth century, and the American counterculture embraced it in the 1960s. Here Richard Smith tells the extraordinary story of how this cryptic and once obscure book became one of the most widely read and extensively analyzed texts in all of world literature.

In this concise history, Smith traces the evolution of the I Ching in China and throughout the world, explaining its complex structure, its manifold uses in different cultures, and its enduring appeal. He shows how the indigenous beliefs and customs of Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Tibet “domesticated” the text, and he reflects on whether this Chinese classic can be compared to religious books such as the Bible or the Qur’an. Smith also looks at how the I Ching came to be published in dozens of languages, providing insight and inspiration to millions worldwide–including ardent admirers in the West such as Leibniz, Carl Jung, Philip K. Dick, Allen Ginsberg, Hermann Hesse, Bob Dylan, Jorge Luis Borges, and I. M. Pei. Smith offers an unparalleled biography of the most revered book in China’s entire cultural tradition, and he shows us how this enigmatic ancient classic has become a truly global phenomenon.

Richard J. Smith is the George and Nancy Rupp Professor of Humanities and professor of history at Rice University. His many books include Fathoming the Cosmos and Ordering the World: The Yijing (I-Ching, or Classic of Changes) and Its Evolution in China.

Terence McKenna Time and IChing Part 1

Terence McKenna Time and IChing Part 2

Terence McKenna Talks About Time And I Ching

Terence McKenna Time and I Ching Part 3

Terence McKenna : Time and the I-Ching

The Spiritual Way of Lao Tzu – On the Art of Living ~ by hhteam

“I have three treasures. Guard and keep them: The first is deep love, the second is frugality, and the third is not to dare to be ahead of the world. Because of deep love, one is courageous. Because of frugality, one is generous. Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes the leader of the world.”
~ Lao Tzu


Lao Tzu was the most famous philosopher, mystic and alchemist in China. He is the author of the Tao Te Ching, or the Way. He is regarded as one of the foundation stones of Taoism. Originally, the word Tao meant a specific line of action, probably a military one, because the ideograms that compose this word mean “feet” and “leader”. Lao Tzu interpreted the Tao as a way, the essence of the Universe. In a written poem Lao Tzu describe “the Way” as the emptiness that cannot be filled, but from where everything manifests from.

In his most famous image, Lao Tzu is portrayed as riding a buffalo, because the domestication of this animal is associated with the Path of Enlightenment in Zen Buddhist traditions.

“Don’t think you can attain total awareness and whole enlightenment without proper discipline and practice. This is egomania. Appropriate rituals channel your emotions and life energy toward the light. Without the discipline to practice them, you will tumble constantly backward into darkness.”
~ Lao Tzu

It is believed that he lived to be 160 years old. In his old age he received the visit of Confucius, who witnessed Lao Tzu reprimanding a young disciple for being too ambitious and prideful. Ancient tales said that Confucius was so impressed by the way of discipline of Lao Tzu that he compared him to a flying Dragon that can reach heavens and winds.

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”
~Lao Tzu

He is considered by some to be just a mythical figure in the unconventional universe of ancient legends. One of these tales declares that he was born already with an appearance of an aged man, from which he received the name Lao Tzu, which means literally, “old sage”. Others consider this legend to be just a metaphor to describe the antiquity of Taoism and its philosophical concepts which were antecedents of the Tao Te Ching itself.

“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.”
~Lao Tzu

Many consider Lao Tzu as a great philosopher and he is often venerated as a saint. He was an expert on the art of living a simple but fully spiritual life. From his teachings we can gather some important precepts that can serve as guides throughout our own life journeys.
On Being Humble

Lao-Tzu-Riding-an-Ox_Humanity-Healing“Great acts are made up of small deeds.”
~ Lao Tzu

The Master explains the concept of humbleness through the analogy with water. Comparing the Human being to the water, he says that the good individual is like water, nurturing and maintaining life but never trying to conquer the elevated positions.

“In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it”
~Lao Tzu

The water is content in keep its dominions at the lower levels because it knows that the oceans control the flow of all the currents and rivers because they are in a lower position than they are.

He also explains that there is nothing more flexible than water, but nothing can surpass it when it refers to weakening the hard rock. In other words, the weak can win over the strong and the soft can conquer the rigid, just by being malleable and humble.

“Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you”
~Lao Tzu

If you want to receive, you need to first give, which is the law of the seeds and the wise harvest. This precept conceives a humble attitude before the people in your life and life in general, remembering that we are all in the same path of learning and all deserve respect. In summary, there is no one that deserves hatred and everyone is in the pursuit of happiness.

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you”
~Lao Tzu

On Being Kind and Compassionate

Lao-Tzu_small-steps_kaizen_Humanity-Healing“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
~Lao Tzu

The master Lao Tzu related two big treasures of the soul; compassion and the humble desire of just being the self by disregarding the impulses of the Ego to be always the first in everything. In learning compassion, one develops the genuine interest for the well-being of others, meaning that they will not forget them in their path of development and self-enlightenment.

“Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.”
~Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu illustrates this concept of being Compassionate and Kind again through the malleable configuration of the water and its relationship as the essential element of life. He says that while a person is alive, their body is flexible and soft; but when they die, the body becomes hard and rigid. The same phenomenon happens to plants; while alive they are vibrant and bendable, but they become dry and breakable when they die.

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it”
~Lao Tzu

Consequently, to be inflexible and rigid is to be like one is actually dead. Maintaining yourself docile as the water, open and malleable, prepared to bend and render when it is necessary will lead the soul to the path of success.
On Limiting Desire

Lao-Tzu_Deity_Humanity-Healing“He who is contented is rich”
~ Lao Tzu

The ancient Master Lao Tzu affirms that people that take less will always have more. People with insatiable desires end up becoming obsessed with the object of their “affection” which tends to throw their energies, and their thought processes, out of control. To Lao Tzu, greed without limits constituted the worse of the vices. If you work towards being content with what you have, you would find that you already have enough to be happy. One can easily reach Peace of Spirit when you limit the amount of desires to manifest in your life.

“The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, the more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the Sage is to act but not to compete.”
~Lao Tzu

One Step at a Time

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
~ Lao Tzu

It is always better to deal with facts and situations while they are small, before they become bigger and more difficult. If one is planning to reach a big goal, one should establish a series of small steps that would guide one safely to the destination. This is essentially the principal of Kaizen: progress through small increments.
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Source: http://humanityhealing.net (http://s.tt/13RdV)

Tao-Te Ching: Expressions of Consciousness

The Tao-te Ching, a classic of the literature of enlightenment, expresses the same reality of life as the Vedic literature of India. Speaker: Dr. Bevan Morris, President of Maharishi University of Management.

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