In Times Like These…

morning-after-sunriseOpportunity within Catastrophe

This picture was taken a few days ago on Wednesday morning, the day the presidential election results were revealed. I use it to represent that as Tao cultivators we remain present and holding constancy. The beauty of life on our planet should not be lost in the distraction of social politics. This sunrise is the Tao in its ever-changing state and  its beauty is not effected by our emotional reactions to life as it is.

Like many of you, my candidate did not win. As a Tao cultivator, I turn to my training to maintain constancy (unity with the Tao ).

In the words of Zhuang Zhou (Chung Tzu) “the perfect man employs his mind as a mirror; it grasps nothing, it refuses nothing; it receives but does not keep.”

There are myriad of opportunities to practice the Tao teachings and personal growth in this situation. We can choose how we react and formulate a way forward. Here are just a few that come to mind.

Acceptance

…Not knowing constancy, one recklessly cause trouble

Knowing constancy is acceptance

Acceptance is impartiality

Impartiality is Sovereign

Sovereign is Heaven

Heaven is Tao

Tao is eternal

The Self is no more, without danger”

Excerpt from Chapter 16

You may not accept the candidate but you must accept that it happened. In the words of Eckhart Tolle, “it is what it is”. Not accepting the reality of the election is just going to generate unnecessary stress. You can avoid distraction and focus your efforts on a solution.

Be Like Water

the great Tao is like a flood

it can flow to the left or the right”

Excerpt from Chapter 34

This non-acceptance can become an obstacle in your path. If you resist and deny it, you become lodged against it, much like a log against a large rock in a river. By accepting that it happened, you can be like water and flow around it, moving towards a solution. Don’t let your ego get hung up with resentment or denial of what has happened.

Be Flexible and Yielding

Yield and remain whole

Bend and remain straight”

Excerpt from Chapter 22

Resistance to the reality is to become rigid in your perspective. This attitude can influence how you are viewing life, and most importantly the quality of your life in this moment. By yielding to the truth, you will weather the storm. By being able to bend, like a willow in the wind, you will return to being straight. By accepting and allowing what is, you will endure. This sunrise picture is a reminder to not any external issue take away the beauty in your life. Don’t let any politician take away your power.

On the other side of the coin, your candidate may have won. A Tao cultivator will remember the three treasure and act accordingly. Humility, Conservation, and Compassion are victorious guides to employ when you realize someone on your path is suffering because your side won. Remember Karma, “the great executioner” does not play favorites.

These are just a few of the many opportunities to be found in this political season for spiritual growth. These are opportunities to learn and develop strength and wisdom. Like water, flow around the obstacle and don’t get hung up in a self-induced misery. This too will pass.

Life, A Sacred Journey

sunrise-labor-day-2014

…”I’ve heard of those who are good at cultivating life
Traveling on the road, they do not encounter rhinos or tigers
Entering into an army, they are not harmed by weapons
Rhinos have nowhere to thrust their horns
Tigers have nowhere to clasp their claws
Soldiers have nowhere to lodge their blades
Why? Because they have no place for death”

Excerpt from Chapter 50, Tao Te Ching

Life is Sacred.

Life is a sacred journey.

It is a journey of experience.

It is a spiritual journey.

Life is experiencing.

We humans believe ourselves to be the highest order of intelligent life on this planet. Yet we are arguably the most distracted species when it comes to being alive and experiencing life. Here in the United States, I have observed our society become seduced into mental addictions that set a deep conditioning for long-term distraction. To sit mesmerized for hours on end with the mind absorbed into non-reality diverts and captivates your attention. Your attention becomes so immersed in illusion, that you can lose touch with reality. In this exclusionary state, you become disconnected from the real world. This is a disconnection with life and experiencing. Distraction is a reduction in the life experience. Experiencing life is a continuous journey, step by step, day by day. Through experience and learning, we can transcend the distracted life and live our true life.

A Moment of Truth

Take a moment. Can you remember how precious life is? When someone we love is taken from us, we remember in a primal way just how precious life is. In those moments we reach for a spiritual connection to help us keep on living. In these moments of truth, we wake up and realize where we are and what is happening. Sometimes it is painful, other times it can be a moment of bliss. Awareness is the conscious connection to life and experiencing. Life is a precious journey.

Not only is life precious, it is not as ordinary as the ego would have you believe. Any time you sense yourself judging something as ordinary, realize that this is the ego’s influence on your state of mind.

Here is an example.

Stop what you are doing and close your eyes. In your mind, look for a memory where you had a moment of truth. It may have been some big news, a discovery of profound meaning. Possibly it is bad news about a health condition or the loss of a loved one or friend. If you have witnessed the birth of a child time seems to stop. Any big moment where time slowed way down and your life came to a halt. When you are in a moment and fully experiencing the flow of reality around you, Life is anything but ordinary. It is the ego and its insatiable desire that finds life mundane. You must rise above this distracted state.

It is time for a self-awareness check. How distracted from life are you?

  • How many hours a day do you spend on social media?
  • How many hours a day do you spend watching TV
  • When was the last time you sat still and did nothing but observe a sunrise or sunset?
  • When was the last time you sat across from someone you love and looked into their eyes?
  • When was the last time you were consciously aware of each bite, each taste, of a meal?
  • When was the last time you gazed up at the clouds and sky and noticed what a beautiful day it is?

And the really big question: “When was the last time you stopped and realized how good it is to be alive?”

Life is a sacred experience. It is why we are all here. So wake up and pay attention to just how extra-ordinary it is.

 

Sovereignty

Sovereignty

Chapter 59 Tao Te Ching

In governing people and serving Heaven
There is nothing like conservation
Only with conservation is it called submitting early
Submitting early is called emphasis on accumulating virtues
Accumulating virtue means there is nothing one cannot overcome
When there is nothing that one cannot overcome
One’s limits are unknown
The limitations being unknown, one can possess sovereignty
With this mother principle of power, one can be everlasting
This is called deep roots and firm foundation
The Tao of longevity and lasting vision

Volume Two of The Dixie Taoist Handbook is underway. The topic is Sovereignty.

At the heart of Tao cultivation is the high virtue of Sovereignty. It is described above as the mother principle of power. And with it you can be everlasting. Sovereignty is the foundation for well-being and a long life.

It is with Sovereignty that you are able to find and follow your true path. Volume Two will define Sovereignty and give you step by step instructions on how to develop the deep roots and firm foundation.

The Tao or “The Way” is the a path of discovering insights about who you are and cultivating virtues. Discovering the way, your true path, is cultivated through self-awareness and mindfulness. This awakened consciousness is the true self.

Following the path is a step by step or moment by moment choice. Awake and self-aware, you are careful in with the direction your steps take you. Awake and present you are able to manage the ego and its distractions and illusions. In those moments you are no longer controlled by the ego, you are ruler of your kingdom (your life). This ruler or sovereign is the true self. The true self uses experience, wisdom, and virtue to choose the next step along the true path.

This awakening process is the subject of Volume One of the The Dixie Taoist Handbook. It is a what it is and how to do it handbook. Volume Two gives instructions on how to folllow the path once you are self-realized and mindful of choices. Choices plant the seeds for the future.

Life and reality are always changing. You cannot control everything that happens to you however you can control how you respond to life as it happens. When you are sovereign, you, the awakened and wise you, becomes the ruler over your destiny.

As I did before, I will be sharing some of the raw manuscript through the blog. I hope you will find the information useful.

Sam Beasley
The Dixie Taoist

Open The Door For Possibility: Be Flexible And Yielding (Strategy 12a)

The Strategy: Open the door to possibility by yielding and being flexible. Realize that with possibility comes opportunity. Accept that resistance to life is futile.

The Application: When we are too rigid in our thoughts, opinions and beliefs we box ourselves in. and block possibility. Free your self from ego, be self-aware and see opportunity that is not available for those who are stuck in stubbornness, anger, vanity, greed, fear, pride and ignorance.

Chapter 76

When alive the body is soft and pliant

When dead it is hard and rigid

All living things, grass and trees,

while alive are soft and supple

When dead become dry and brittle

Thus that which is hard and stiff

is the follower of death

That which is soft and yielding

is the follower of life

Therefore an inflexible army will not win

A strong tree will be cut down

The big and forceful occupy a lower position

While the soft and pliant occupy a higher place

In Taiji Qigong, being tense, rigid, and inflexible is the biggest obstacle to raising and increasing the flow of Qi. For most people the origin is in the mind. In a type of Taiji practice called pushing hands, we cultivate sensitivity development.

There is a story about a Taiji Master by the name of Yang Lu Chan (1799-1873). It is said that his skills were so acute that he was able to catch a bird and play with it. Yet the most extraordinary part of this story is that when the bird tried to take off, Master Yang prevented it by not giving the bird a perch from which to push. The Master was so sensitive to the energy in the push of the bird’s legs, that as the bird pushed to launch, the Master would become soft and flexible so the bird’s feet pushed into emptiness.
pushing handsPushing Hands is a Taiji exercise where each Taiji player cultivate sensitivity, flexibility and softness so that the opponent has to perch to push or grab. Being rigid and inflexible will cause the player to become easy to manipulate and lose coordination. Stiffness and hardness is not a good attribute in Taiji, and so it is the same in life. This insight is applicable to both the tangible and intangible. It is a training that begins with the internal and is manifest in the external.

Yielding and being flexible allows acceptance. Acceptance frees one from the immobility of ego and allows negotiation. Negotiation is a process of problem solving and reaching a goal. The target might be tangible or intangible. The rigidity, hardness, stiffness, stubbornness may be internal conflict with the self or it may be external and with another person, object or situation.

Consider how flexible an octopus is. Because it is able to be soft and pliable it can escape into a very small place to live, hide and ambush prey.
octipus in a bottle

When one is too rigid in a set belief, the inflexibility prevents the ability to see truth. In problem solving, we must be open to possibility. By yielding to possibility we can see other perspectives and viewpoints. Pride, stubbornness, vanity, greed, revenge, attachment, unrealistic goals and religious intolerance lead to failure.

Collective ego can divide itself and assume opposing intractable positions and then gridlock ensues. We can look at the tension in the Middle East; we can see our own congress here in the United States as examples of rigidity and inflexibility. Without yielding, flexibility, and negotiation, these situations end up in stagnation and a loss for all parties.

Flexibility in understanding and foresight allows teachers and leaders to bring students and trainees forward. Because the wise leader or teacher is not too rigidly focused on immediate gratification, they can allow students to try and fail. New employees must be allowed to make a few mistakes as they become acclimated to a new task. Any student must learn through practice and be allowed to make mistakes so that they know what they are doing wrong. Rigidity and inflexibility of attitude will hinder growth, inspiration and opportunity.

Everyone of us will encounter problems or obstacles in life. It is part of the living and learning experience. We only become stuck when we are not able to flow around those obstacles. Like water, we can just move around the object, the problem, and continue onward without becoming stuck or trapped. Like water, life is a flow of moments; each moment a snapshot of experience. In each moment we have choice. We can choose yielding and flexibility and continue forward or we can be too solid and rigid and become stuck.

The strategy is to pay attention (mindful) of our reactions as they happen so that we can be soft, flexible, yielding, open-minded, inspired. When we face a problem, we can seek wisdom because we are not stuck in ignorance (ego). Free of ego, we do not become hardened and entrenched. As the true self we are able to realize all sorts of possibilities, ideas and solutions.
This is the true path. This is the Tao.

The Ego and The True Self

Hey Y’all,

I am sharing an article that has a most useful explanation of The True Self and The Ego. As Tao cultivators, we work continuously on a Tao concept of “Sovereignty Over Self”. To realize and be the True Self, you must conquer and manage the The Ego. These concepts are crucial ones in the awakening process. Its one of the first big insights into Self Awareness (realization of the true self). You must discover who you are, and what you are not. It is important to contemplate the concept of lower consciousnesses that is called the ego so you can begin to transcend it. A good first question is “What is the Ego”.

This article covers the topic very well. This writer has that hit the mark in describing such a complex concept.

http://wakeup-world.com/2015/02/09/shedding-the-ego-moving-towards-the-soul/?utm_campaign=Wake+Up+World+e-Newsletter&utm_content=Latest+Headlines+inc.+Top+5+Foods+for+the+Pineal+Gland&utm_medium=email&utm_source=getresponse

Adopt A Child’s Sense Of Wonder (Chapter 32)

Chapter 32 (The Dixie Taoist Handbook – How To Find Your True Path)
Adopt A Child’s Sense of Wonder

(Authors Note: This is one of my favorite chapters. This bit of Tao wisdom is very important. I hope you can receive it with an open heart and let your spirit align with it.

The Virtue: Innocence, non judgment and awe.
Its Application: Remember how to feel joy and excitement by adopting a child’s sense of wonder. Before you became conditioned by so much life experience, as a child everything was new, fresh and possible. Children live in a now universe, they reside in the present. In this now you can choose to allow to let go of pessimism and boredom. You can remember to be in touch with the child within you and return to the Tao.

Tao Te Ching Chapter 20 (excerpt)
“like an infant not yet smile”
Tao Te Ching Chapter 28 (excerpt)
“Know the masculine, hold to the feminine
Be the watercourse of the world
Being the watercourse of the world
The eternal virtue does not depart
Return to the state of the infant”

Can you remember your childhood before life’s many experiences created the “me” that you are now?
Try this exercise. Get a picture of you when you were a child. If possible find a picture where you looked happy and if you can remember that period of your life. See if you can remember what it ws like to be a spontaneously happy child. Notice the “me” of then and compare with the “me” in this now. Life experience has a way of tainting our view of the world in many ways. As ego develops, so does the dark side of coping to life’s problems. For many us, years of dealing life’s problems causes us to forget how joy and happiness can be simple and arise spontaneously. Sometimes you can even suppress a rising sense of joy and wonder with a darker view of pessimism and skepticism. The opportunity for wonder is constant in your world but you can become conditioned with feelings of; skepticism, doubt, distrust, mistrust, suspicion and disbelief. Mindfulness practice can help you become aware of these feelings as they arise. Insight meditation can help you get to the root of these feelings. When you can discern the memory or memories that effect your perspective of this moment, you transcend it and create the space for spontaneous joy to come forth.

There is so much you can learn so much from children. There is treasure buried in your own memory. The treasure is how to play and have fun. So many of adults are so busy seeking the sense of joy and wonder in all the wrong places that you may not be able to see how simple it can be.

Returning to a innocent child like view of creation (reality) is cultivating a sense of awareness that is pure. Children enter the physical domain still connected with spirit and aligned with nature. As they grow older, they learn to be distracted and separate from source. But it does not have to be this way. To attain the Tao, you must return to the connection with spirit.
As you grow older and begin to experience life’s challenges, you also begin to cope with the stress . As your ego assumes control, your connection to spirit erodes away. The more you resist life, the more stress you feel. You settle into adulthood coping with a life filled with problems. The coping is the ego way of trying to escape life and its problems.
Our culture has become a collective of individuals addicted to entertainment. We have become addicted to television programming. The worst aspect is that we how over 60 years of cultivating distraction. Today, millions of children will have their natural joy of play superseded by the practice of distraction. Rather than being outside in the world, doing what children do best, learning and interacting through play, they will be sitting in front of a television screen having all sorts of content downloaded. There some There are psychologists who feel that long term watching of television creates a neural network for a distracted state of consciousness. Now this is just my opinion, but I believe that children who play a lot away from television develop a different ability of awareness than those who spend so many hours watching TV. By the time they are grown, they are programmed to seek distraction and are literally addicted to this mind state. So now our culture has 3 or 4 generations of this type of consciousness construct. I cannot help but wonder how we, as a species is evolving.

I used to travel in Mexico where I visited some poor areas that had little or no Television to speak of . I noticed how the children and the people were so connected to nature and the land. They seemed happier than my home environment, and even though they seemed poor, their lives were rich with community and just being alive.
Back here in the United States, our culture is shaped by elements something called “reality TV”. Our definition of happiness is being defined by sitcoms and commercial ads. If your real life outside of TV land does not measure up to the paradigm you are programmed with on TV, then you begin striving to get there. This is a cultivated ego state that just leads to a life of problems.

Your ego can dominate your view so that sensation seeking or distraction become all that you can know. This striving can become your purpose in life. And in this, the beauty wonder and awe of the natural world can become lost to us. The wisdom of the Tao encourages us to remember and adopt a child like sense of wonder at what is present. Being present is what children do.

As a Tao cultivator you can realizes the majesty of life and appreciates your world and the universe where life can be and should be experienced. As a Tao cultivator you are aware of your place in nature. As a spiritual beings you can be self aware of this physical experience. You as a spiritual being must awaken to experience and be appreciative of your form in a universe of forms. You are gifted with senses to appreciate this existence of form. Yet how often are you so distracted that you have lost your connection and oneness with them in distraction. The reawakening is when you first remember the sense perceived universe, and then enlightenment occurs when you realize that you are an integral part of it. “It” is the Tao. When you realize this, your spontaneous childlike sense of wonder will return.

This is something so basic and simple that it begins with just taking a moment be aware that you are alive. You can just stop and be present. You can just …be. After all you are a human-being. Yet when you become obsessed with being distracted, you are no longer aware of being … and being alive.
You must return to a path of simplicity. Simplicity is a path of that is uncluttered with coping elements. When you can become empty of striving for egoic values, you can access the Tao of infinite possibility.
As in all things, the Tao cultivator establishes balance. This is especially important in the basic of life experience. All creatures are involved with doing. Non sentient creatures stay busy supporting their existence, and who knows how much awareness and sentience they may have. Yet as a human “being” you have the ability to be self aware and sentient. Yet you may be allowing this state of consciousness to be out of balance. Distraction is when the mind is lost to something where you are not aware of being and being alive. Sometimes this is necessary as you focus on something you need to do. Yet you must not become so distracted that you remain disconnected to the world and your life experience. This moment by moment experience is where children excel at being full of wonder and joy.
The self aware Tao cultivator brings balance to the world of being and doing. In self awareness you can return and become at one with the universe and appreciate it through an innocent sense of wonder. A child’s sense of wonder. Children who have not yet learned to be disconnected from life, whose ego has not yet learned to be cynical and pessimistic can see everything as new and wondrous. Even though you grow older and accumulate experience, you do not have to lose touch with the childlike sense of wonder. Wisdom is learning from experience. You can treat your past experience as important for wisdom and remember the feeling of wonder you once felt with life. I encourage you to keep this as part of your wisdom. In this way life does not become mundane and boring. Each moment is not ordinary, it is special. When you adopt a child’s sense of wonder, there are no ordinary moments. Once again joy can be found in the simple view of a universe that is always new, always changing, yet somehow in a mysterious way remains interesting.

New Years Resolution

Here we are again. It is New Years Eve. You may have already been planning on a resolution for the new year. Perhaps it is a goal of some sort. Maybe it is to make more money, or to lose weight, or exercise more. If you are like the majority of people, your goal will fail by springtime. There are many reasons for failure in our resolution and goals. The one I am focused on in this post, the big one, is a lack of self control and the loss of will power. There is a way to overcome this. Notice in the excerpt below, the words “one’s limits are unknown” and “one can be everlasting”

Accumulating virtues means there is nothing one cannot overcome

When there is nothing that one cannot overcome One’s limits are unknown

The limitations being unknown, one can possess sovereignty

With this mother principle of power, one can be everlasting

This is called deep roots and firm foundation

The Tao of longevity and lasting visionOne of my Tao mentors told me that I should work on my “self” first and the goal will be realized automatically in an almost anti-climatic way. What he was talking about was what the Tao Te Ching calls “The Sovereignty of Self”. This terms means to control your ego and its constant undermining through desire and distraction. If you are following this blog, then you perhaps you have an interest in the wisdom of the Tao and the Tao Te Ching. The Tao Te Ching may seem enigmatic or may seem to be paradoxical, yet the implementation is pretty pragmatic and straightforward in its application. Its wisdom can only be applied, and the results can only be experienced when you wake up become the sovereign over your life and destiny. Being a dependent of materialism as a life purpose creates a downward spiral of self destruction. Take a look at how every new year we make resolutions to fix some imbalance in our life. Somewhere during the Christmas holidays many of us have a moment of truth and admit that we need to address some issue and we promise ourselves to start afresh and do this new thing. Yet, we all know that most people fail at the promise and new resolution. By March you are back in your old ways. You are back spending too much, eating too much, neglecting some issue too much and soon resume the same old behavior hoping that somehow things will end up alright. This is a definition of ignorance. This is ego. Right here, right now, is your moment of truth. Take control of your life and your destiny. Wake up and be. Be the true self. Realize that you are a spiritual being, and that you control your choices and actions. Get serious with your meditation and mindfulness ability. Cultivate your ability to stay awake and become sovereign over ego and its insatiable appetite of desire. Throughout your day be mindful of your choices and reactions. This is what is meant by working on the self. By working on remaining the true self, you are able to manage the ego. This is the cultivating of sovereignty. By remaining sovereign, not giving in to ego, you make the choices that take you closer to your goal. When you are awake and in “self” control you can ask and determine…

“does this choice take me closer to or further from my true destiny, my goal”.

In the beginning, it is easier to understand than it is to do. The difficulty lies in how grounded in ego you are. Accepting and letting go is the action of the true self. Succumbing to ego and seeking distraction and sensation as means of coping is the path of failure. This cultivation takes lots of practice. It MUST become a way of life. The reward is huge. You successfully create the life of fulfillment, happiness, well being and health. My friends, the invitation to return to true living awaits you. If you are living in a prison cell with the door wide open, yet cannot escape, you are a captive of ego. Become the sovereign of your life. Find and practice meditation and mindfulness as if your life depends on it. A life of  blessing and prosperity awaits you on the true path. Seek it and find it. Happy New Year

tdt

Chapter Twelve – Emptiness As The Source (an excerpt)

My editor liked this chapter and put a smiley face by the following paragraph. I hope you find it useful.

TDT

… You can begin to understand and appreciate emptiness when you realize that it is a necessary component for benefiting from the physical aspect of nature. Whereas you use material objects in your world of form, its functionality can only be created in the space for which it operates. In this way you can realize that importance of the space (emptiness) provided in the wheel hub so that the axle can slide into and turn. Thus the vehicle becomes functional with the turning and connection of the wheel with the axle. When you enjoy your next cup of tea or coffee, consider how the container you drink from can only hold the liquid in the space created by the sides of the container. It is the emptiness in the cup that makes room for the tea or coffee. Functionality is one thing, realizing emptiness as a source is at a deeper level. You may as well start with the cosmos which began with the big bang or so it is theorized. Just before the big bang, there was nothing but emptiness, then “BANG” the universe is unfolding. From emptiness came everything that we know… To attain the Tao, you must become empty from the control of the ego and its incessant thinking and pursuit of sensation seeking and distraction. In this way, the emptiness gives function as spirit. In spirit one aligns with source.

From Section Two, Chapter Twelve, Emptiness As The Source.

Keep It Simple And Effective

I am one of those Taoist that likes to keep things simple and therefore effective. Even the founder of Tai Chi felt the same way. (See Taiji Quan Treatise).  Find ways and simple techniques that work and you will be more inclined to practice frequently. I find this article to be useful.
http://time.com/3605299/meditation-tips-focus/

Please feel free to comment, share or question.
TDT

A Dixie Taoist True Path Workshop (Meditation)

dixie taoist workshop with book cover
My fellow Tao cultivators, we are offering some workshops next year to assist in the study of Tao cultivation.

The first is on January 10th, 2015. This workshop is titled “A Meditation Workshop”. It could also be called Beginners meditation for Tao Cultivators. This 6 hour workshop will cover the first Section of the upcoming book including chapters 1 through 5. This is a step by step process for finding your true path as described in the book, The Dixie Taoist Handbook which is in editing and due early next year.

The training will be in meditation, mindfulness, sovereignty of self, and the power of choice. It will include guided meditations, and some short lectures on how to develop the higher consciousness that we know as the true self.

In the video titled “Tai Chi As A Spiritual Path”, I give my personal story of how Tai Chi transformed my life. What I am calling “Tai Chi” is more correctly known as Taiji (Tie-gee) or Tao cultivation. The book and the upcoming workshop is the training on how to do what I have been discussing. It is how I was able to transform my life.

The video which sheds a little more light on my story can be viewed here: Taiji as a spiritual path.

This workshop and the meditation instruction is intended to be simple and straightforward. If you come looking for lots of dogma, you may be disappointed. However, what I will share with you will truly transform your life if you can follow the path.

Next year, we will take the training even deeper, with the energy cultivation of Qigong. For those who really want to cultivate the vital life energy, Qi Gong (aka chi kung) parts a and b are a must.

We will be post the dates for the other two workshops and their locations in January. Here is the information for the first workshop:

Saturday Jan 10, 2015 from 9 am to 2:30 pm
Location: Doctors Hospital H2U Building
1305 Interstate Parkway
Augusta, Ga 20909
Fee: $65 if registered and pay before Jan 1st. January 1st up until the workshop day will be $75
This is per person.
Lunch included.
If no lunch is desired, subtract $10

Please contact us with questions

Black Friday looms near – Hold To The One

Excerpt from Chapter 22

Yield and remain whole
Bend and remain straight
Be low and become filled
Be worn out and become renewed
Have little and receive
Have much and be confused
Therefore the sages hold to the one as an example for the world
Without flaunting themselves – and so are seen clearly
Without presuming themselves – and so are distinguished
Without praising themselves – and so have merit
Without boasting about themselves – and so are lasting

In the Dixie Taoist Handbook, you are informed of the process for realizing the Tao begins with meditation and the practices of mindfulness. This is to realize self awareness and pay attention. In this way, you can become mindful of your life experience, what you are choosing and how these choices create your destiny. I call to you all to hold to the one.

As we approach the holiday season, you will be challenged in holding the one, to stay present and self aware. Thanksgiving day is one where we can embrace gratitude and share our blessing with each other. There will be a lot to observe and there will be lots to distract us.

This year, try to stay present and mindful of those things that can trigger the ego into choices that do not hold us on our true path. Be mindful of rising drama tensions and emotions and people gather and bring their distractions with them. Be mindful of desire as it overwhelms the senses with sensation seeking. Be mindful of desire as you are overwhelmed by TV ads.

Each year, I use an app on my smart phone to chime every 20 minutes to remind me to wake up and become present. The sound penetrates the distraction and helps me to hold to the one. When the sound of the chime rings (Tibetan singing bowl sound), stop, find your breath, and return to now. Realize where your mind has gone, what you are doing and why. Then take charge of your mind again, and take charge of the power of choice

And most importantly, have the experience. Experience, the sounds, the smells, the wonderful tastes, and best of all, experience each other. When things get crazy, stay present and choose virtue over ignorance. Choose patience, understanding, empathy, humility, compassion and conservation. Be mindful of your stress levels and deal with it effectively. Take walks, sit quietly and listen to music. Read to a child. Play with a pet. Listen to someone as they talk.

Even if you choose to stand in line of a big box store, in the dark, in the cold at 4 am in the morning, you can still be mindful. Perhaps you will even contemplate why you are doing such a thing. This could be a really good learning experience for gaining insight. Perhaps when the sun comes up, it will create a beautiful sunrise. As you stand in line, notice what is going on around you and practice the three treasures. Notice others and use softness to overcome hardness. Be like water and flow around obstacles.

Holidays can be heaven or hell. We have the ability to create either. You can do this if you hold to the one.

Happy Holidays
TDT

Editing In Process (The Dixie Taoist Handbook)

Hi everyone, just a note to inform you all that we are still editing the manuscript “The Dixie Taoist Handbook”. Not being a writer, the editing staff has been quite challenged with tyring to make sense of my scribbling. But all agree that the while it is quite challenged grammatically, the message is sound and will be a big success.

It is my intention to resume with excerpts from the various chapters and share weekly strategies for staying on the true path. Thank you all for your support.

TDT

May The Circle Be Unbroken

Signs of Love
– Taking and Giving

I have heard that there are people out in the world who have lost the ability to love anything other than their own ego. I have never met one. Most the people I know are somewhere between desperately seeking love or blissfully surrounded by love. There is a great discovery to be made by anyone seeking to love and be loved. People share love and communicate love in all sorts of ways. Today I realized a much deeper understanding about human behavior, love and how we demonstrate our love and affection.

The insight began as a small kernel of abstract thought triggered when I noticed an internet article on my wife’s computer that I was eaves-dropping on.

“That one”, I say, as she scrolls back up and I begin reading about an article that tells us how toddlers communicate love. “they demonstrate and communicate their love by sharing”. I considered this for a while, comparing it what I have experienced in life, and my experienced with my own children and now grand children. I even get up and go into the next room to observe my grand daughters at play”.

My toddler grand daughter looks up from her work with play dough and says with a great big smile,
“look Popa”. In that instant, 10,000 occurrences from my life experiences filled my mind and realized how many times people along my path had shared and showed me love.

Later, in meditation, exploring this arising and intuitive insight, I began to wonder, explore, remember how I responded to these acts of love. In all those years where the ego pulled my strings, there were not too many sincere loving responses. In the years since I began the work of sovereignty over ego, the joy of receiving was known, experienced.

I looked back over the years, and realized some of those times where I completely missed what was not being said. I was now aware of so many opportunities to receive love from someone but was to self absorbed to know it for what it was.

As the insight began to mature, I realized the other part of the sharing. The giving part. There are memories where I gave but the other ego did not care or appreciate the giving, and my ego reacted with resentment. But then, I also realized how much ‘not giving’ or giving to my ‘self’ that had taken place. Its a wonder that anyone ever loved me, but that is one of the miracles of life, I guess.

I also recall the times where I was expressing my own love or affection for someone and felt the warm feelings that arose because of their sincere gratitude for my offering. There is something so very special about sharing, giving to someone you love and they love you back for it. These are exquisite moments.

When love compliments with love, spirit is joined. With every fiber of my being, I believe this is one of the door, if not THE doorway to heaven, or your version of it.

Giving and receiving, with a loving heart is of the highest virtue. This is the bridge between the spirit of each and the bridge between our spirit and source. We are called by so many of the common spiritual paths to practice this as a way of life.

It can happen anywhere at anytime. Perhaps you are in line at the grocery store, or come across a homeless person, or it maybe the little old lady sitting in the waiting room who offers a smile and friendly comment. We should especially pay attention to those who share their lives with us. They are our wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends, sons, daughters, co-workers, club members, and those who consider themselves our friends. The inner circle people are who you serve and love first. Then try extending your taking and giving to those in the outer circle in your life.

Finally, when you can realize and truly understand how the ego causes so many people to do crazy things, your own spirit can recognize this and remain above it. When you know and understand why people strike out and hurt (ego), then it is possible to forgive them and still love them. Ego, self serving, and distracted striving lose touch with the taking and giving of love with others. The True self, the spirit, does not give into the sharing of the dark side of ego (anger, hate, revenge, manipulation etc). Spirit moves above ego and uses love as a means to transcend the dark side. In spirit, the true self, will practice and be willing to wait on the lost person to find themselves again. Then, in a moment of love, they will build the bridge with an offering. In a moment of love the other may also transcend love and join in with the taking, feeling appreciation and gratitude. And once again the circle of light is joint. The giving and receiving of love.

My friend, where ever you are, who ever you are … may that circle be unbroken.
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Lyrics to Song, sing along with youtube video at very bottom (Gregg Allman of course, im from Georgia)

I was standing by my window,
On one cold and cloudy day
When I saw that hearse come rolling
For to carry my mother away

Will the circle be unbroken
by and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
in the sky, Lord, in the sky

I said to that undertaker
undertaker please drive slow
for this lady you are carrying
Lord, I hate to see here go

Will the circle be unbroken
by and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
in the sky, Lord, in the sky

Oh, I followed close behind her
Tried to hold up and be brave
But I could not hide my sorrow
When they laid her in the grave

Will the circle be unbroken
by and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
in the sky, Lord, in the sky

I went back home, my home was lonesome
missed my mother, she was gone
all of my brothers, sisters crying
what a home so sad and lone

Will the circle be unbroken
by and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
in the sky, Lord, in the sky

We sang the songs of childhood
Hymns of faith that made us strong
Ones that Mother Maybelle taught us
Hear the angels sing along

Will the circle be unbroken
by and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
in the sky, Lord, in the sky

Will the circle be unbroken
by and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
in the sky, Lord, in the sky

src=”https://thedixietaoist.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/wuji.png?w=193″ alt=”wuji” width=”193″ height=”300″ class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-314″ />wu ji

Stillness; The Underrated Power

Stillness is a much ignored and underrated power. Stillness may even be perceived as a oxymoron when used in the same sentence as “power”. But those who have practiced meditation understand that stillness is the gateway to the higher consciousness.

To appreciate stillness, one can begin with its opposite. That might be stress, anxiety, or its physical opposite; movement. In human evolution we acquired the gift of the stress response. The ability to instantly raise our physical and mental abilities to a very high level so that we could survive through fight or flight. Most people have heard of this and know it is as the fight or flight response or stress response.

But what many people do not realize is that nature also gifted us with its antidote. The nature of the Tao contains the creative element of change. Circumstances are always changing. It can be observed in weather and climate patterns. On the daily scale the weather will change with the sun and night (yang changing to yin). On the weekly perspective, one can observe the daily patter layered upon a slower change as weather systems and fronts come and go. Each season brings a change from the last each with its variations hourly, daily, weekly and upward. Even climate change across eons can now be observed through the study of layers of ice crystals from the Arctic ice shelf.

In these changing patterns we notice the yang and yin patterns. In our more local universe, we should also become aware of the nature of change and use consciousness to maintain the natural balance.

When we live a life too much in motion, that is too much activity in both the internal and external, the natural rhythm of our mind body is interrupted. Typically in modern society, we spend too much of our life striving for more. We eat too much, we engage in way too much emotional drama, we experience too much anxiety and stress. We over stimulate our minds with too much cognitive function whether it is working too much, to much TV drama, too much video games, too much worry, or any obsession that is too much.

This out of balance state is often easily seen. Imbalance will manifest as weight problems, financial problems, emotional problems, stress problems, or sleep problems. These imbalances will many times overlap and feed each other. This path of imbalance is one of self destruction. We must begin to moderate our path with our moment by moment choices.

How do we do that?

The antidote to too much internal and external motion is stillness. In concept and function it is very simple. Yet in application it is very difficult for most. This is because for many people, the ego has assumed control of the path we walk and it chooses distraction and sensation seeking as the central purpose in life. The only way to control the ego is to transcend it grip. This is done through meditation. Meditation is the transition to a higher state of consciousness where the true self is realized. When we stop and allow stillness to merge with being, we begin to restore balance.

There is even a clincal term for this act of nature. Dr. Herbert Benson refers to it as
“The Relaxation Response”. His book clearly defines and shows what happens with the mind body relationship when we become still.

Stillness is restoration. What we restore is balance to both the internal and external. As we sit still and the mind becomes quiet, the body will follow. What happens across our mental landscape is reflected (extended and experienced) across our physical landscape. When we concentrate our attention (awareness) outside of thinking, and allow the mind to become still, the body will follow.

As we sit in stillness, the opposite of the stress response begins to process. In stillness (the relaxation response), the heart slows, the breathing becomes deeper and slower. Blood pressure drops, the immune system activates, more oxygen is available, and most importantly, the body will release a different set of hormones that will bring about a feeling of peace. Other research now shows that regular mediation (stillness) helps to restore chromosome damage by restoration to the tips of the telemeres. (Read what Sage Dr. Deepak Chopra says about this process)

Stillness (meditation/relaxation response) slows down the aging process through efficient cell repair. I know from personal experience how effective it can be for healing sickness.

Through the practice of stillness, we can restore our emotional state, solve problems, reduce debt, become healthy, experience well being and live longer. I submit that this is very powerful indeed.

Think about it for a moment. Nature has even built in the requirement for a return to stillness. With very few exceptions, everyone one of us must sleep at some point. This is nature’s way of making us restore ourselves even when we do not have the sense to do it by choice. We can fight, resist and prolong it, but sleep will eventually overtake us. And this is because we must spend time in restoration (stillness). So, quit fighting with stillness. This is just ego.

If you can practice self discipline (ego management), you can craft your life into its optimum experience. Please… don’t fight with nature, learn to flow with nature. Balance life’s action phases with stillness phases.

Just find time to be still. Find a park bench, a porch swing, a bean bag or lay on a picnic blanket and watch the clouds in their ever changing patterns. Allow the mind/body to become still so that you can restore the ability to experience life.

From stillness we come and to stillness we will return. It is the underlying reality of being-ness. Stress is created when we resist and go against the flow of life in either the spiritual or physical realms. Learn to merge with nature and experience harmony. This is the power of mystic virtue. This is the power of stillness.

Strategy #7: True Goal Achievment

The Dixie Taoist Handbook
Chapter 41
Strategy Number Seven:

True Goal Achievement

The Strategy: Work on your Self First; the Goal is secondary. Implement unattached action. Flow like water toward the destiny of your true path.
Its Application: Goals are destinations. To arrive there successfully one must focus on the journey in each step. Applying the wisdom and virtue of Wu Wei, which is unattached action we are congruent with the flow the underlying reality. Without striving we arrive at our goal which is just one of many destination along our path.

Goal setting is the crafting of the strategy for your destiny. This chapter is a big deal, so read carefully. If you want to truly effect your destiny, you must focus your mind and be present. This is the practical ability to connect with the Tao (the source of everything) and to hold unity with the wisdom (the knowledge gained from life experience). When you have connected with the Tao, you are beyond distraction (that chaotic voice in the head that you wish you could shut up). In this state of consciousness you see where you have been, be in this now, and be guided by the spirit of the true self. Inspiration is that aspect of mystic virtue where Tao insight connects with a source that has infinite potential. Inspired is a most powerful spiritual virtue. From despair, inspiration can launch the spirit and instantly one is surrounded the ability to choose from infinite possibilities. And then a clear vision of your path of what can be fills the surface of your mind. Every fiber of your being vibrates with virtuous intention.
Be mindful of intention, so craft a worthy goal. Be patient, in meditation view your goal from the perspective of wisdom.

Tao Te Ching Chapter 37
The Tao is constant in non action
Yet there is nothing it does not do
If the sovereign can hold to this
All things shall transform themselves
Transformed yet wishing to achieve
I shall restrain them with the simplicity of the nameless
The simplicity of the nameless
They shall be without desire
The world shall steady itself

In modern culture we are taught to strive for achievement. In the western society many view striving as a good thing. Strictly defined by a popular online dictionary, one can read that striving is:
“to make great efforts to obtain or achieve something”
“to struggle or fight vigorously”
Let us look below the surface level of striving. Interestingly, one can see that the two definitions above are not necessarily describing the same thing. It can be one thing to make a “great effort” or to “obtain” and it can be argued that struggling and” fighting vigorously” is something else. Either way, the deeper insight is realize that great effort, struggle, and to fight are not the way of the Tao.
There is a better way to achieve the goal. The Tao offers something so extraordinary that it boggles the mind. See if you can wrap your mind around the concept of
NOT“trying” to do anything, yet accomplishing everything. What is being described here is “effortless achievement”. See Tao Te Ching Annotated And Explained by Derek Lin, Chapter 37).
This highly realized way of being is the authentic path of the true self. As the true self, we are sovereign. In this context, to be sovereign means to master the self. This is self control, self discipline and keeping the ego tamed. When one can follow “the way” (the Tao), we bring our reality into alignment with the destination which is our goal. We are working on the self in order to reach our intended destiny (goal). We all know that to reach a goal, requires self discipline and self control. Otherwise, we become distracted and fall off of the path. But that is not all. Going even deeper, we must determine our destiny (goals) as the authentic self. Authentic or true goals are those that are inspired when we are self aware and aligned in that balanced state of spirit and physical. In strategy four we apply the strategy of following mystic virtue as our guide. In this strategy, we use mystic virtue to determine and follow the path of the true self.
Is the determined destiny, the goal, an authentic one or is it just another sensation seeking desire of ego. Does the goal align with the three treasures? Is the goal a naturally evolution of the true path?
Here is the game changer. The struggle, fight, great effort are experienced by the ego. For alignment the Tao is to flow effortlessly with harmony. Do what you are supposed to do and being who you are supposed to be. Wu Wei is unattached action. Unattached is to be free of ego clinging and domination through ignorance. Wu Wei is action through mystic virtue. So we work on being sovereign, that is say, we rule over the ego.
As the true self on the true path, determine the direction and destiny that you know to be true. Then flow effortlessly in that direction by working on the self first. How do you know if your path is true? The answer is that if you are striving and knocking yourself out, burning up energy and feeling stress, that is not it. Are you tired, stressed out, sick, and anxious ?
On the other hand, are things happening in an almost miraculous way that seems to good to be true? Are the right people showing up at just the right time with the perfect elegant solutions? Are coincidences popping up all of the time that seem weird in a good way? Is intuition singing to you in harmony with life?
Self aware, our moment by moment choices will naturally come into alignment with our goals. In a synchronistic manner, and paying attention in that special way of mindfulness, all aspects of life will fall naturally into place. The people we meet, the coincidences, intuition, and all manners of what seems to be “good luck” begin to guide us in an effortless way. We just to pay attention and remain aligned with this reality. We must hold to the one (the true self) and resist the absorbing ego thinking which is the path of striving or pushing.
To be able to “hold to the one” requires that we work on ourselves. That is to say, we work on ourselves first and we will arrive at the goal we have brought into alignment with the Tao. Working ourselves is to work on being sovereign. This means we learn to become aware of our ego self and control its influence on our choices. Choices are the steps we take in each moment. If those choices, those steps are misguided by ego, we fall off the true path.
Mindful of our actions, we can ask ourselves,
“does this take us closer to or further from my goal”.
Am I keeping with the Tao?
Am I practicing mystic virtue and remaining humble, compassionate and frugal (the three treasures)?
Here is where it gets interesting. The ego, which is never patient wants to hurry and get there. The ego which is attached to outcome is our aspect of self that strives. Ego actions pushes and struggles to “get there” at any cost. This is not the effortless achievement of the Tao cultivator. This is not Wu Wei (unattached action).

Tao Te Ching Chapter 48
Pursue knowledge, daily gain
Pursue Tao, daily loss
Loss and more loss
Until one reaches unattached action
With unattached action there is nothing we cannot do.
Take the world by constantly applying noninterference
The one who interferes is not qualified to take the world

When achievement and goals rise in the mind, often one might think that we require to gain more knowledge. Immediately striving begins to form in the pursuit of more knowledge. Striving for more knowledge is ego introducing complexity where it need not be. Complexity only creates potential for distraction and the probability for things to sway us from our goal. Simplicity is the the way of the true path. There is a saying “keep it simple stupid”. A little harsh, yet we can appreciate the wisdom of keeping things simple and allowing. We we pursue the wisdom of the way of simplicity we lose the distracting aspect of ego desire.
The more loss of desire from ego, the less we strive. Striving is unnecessary effort, flow is effortless achievement. We practice cultivating our self control until we reach the point where our action, what we do, is unattached to outcome and aligned with the Tao (the way, the true path). This 4,000 year old wisdom is telling us that when we reach and hold this virtue of unattached action, “there is nothing we cannot do”.
“Take the world”, that is achieve our goals, without allowing the ego to disrupt the connection to spirit and the effortless flow along the true path. The strategy is to cultivate becoming and holding to the true self. To practice the virtues of the way (the Tao), to practice patience rather than striving and pushing. To allow and accept rather than interfere with the flow. Keep the march forward simple and use moderation to keep balance. Because of cause and effect (karma), striving and forceful achievement will cause friction and failure. When we plant the seeds to effortless achievement we reap the fruit of smooth and timely goal achievement. When one plants the seeds of striving and action attached to outcome, the result will more of the same. Striving and not hitting the true goal.

Tao Te Ching Chapter 77
The Tao of Heaven
Is like drawing a bow
Lower that which high
Raise that which is low
Reduce that which as excess
Add to that which has deficiencies…

The last part of goal setting for the Tao cultivator is the use of moderation in moving towards goal destination. Consider the goal itself. Is the goal just a product of the ego. Is it vain? What desire is it fulfilling. How does it measure with the the three treasures? Who benefits from this goal. Will others suffer as a result of achieving this goal.
The goal itself should not be too high, or too low. Adjust the objective as you cultivate your wisdom of the true path. Adjust your steps with moderation, seeking balance and harmony in each now, each moment. As you work on your “self” you cultivate your ability to follow the Tao, the true path.
Remember, true power is only held by sovereignty of self. Everything else is just illusion of ego. Wu Wei is holding to the one and using unattached action to move toward authentic destiny. This is the true path, this the way (the Tao).

International Day of Peace

a single thought
Today is International Peace Day.

Today let go of contention, arguing, debating, meddling, gossiping and fighting.

Tao Te Ching Chapter 68

The great generals are not warlike
The great warriors do not get angry
Those who are good at defeating enemies do not engage them
Those who are good at managing people lower themselves
It is called the virtue of non-contention
It is called the power of managing people
It is called being harmonious with Heaven
The ultimate principle of the ancients

Today, hold to the one.
Tao Te Ching Chapter Ten

In holding the soul and embracing oneness
Can one be steadfast, without straying?

How to do this?

Tao Te Ching Chapter

I have three treasures
I hold on to them and protect them
The first is called compassion
The second is called conservation
The third is called not daring to be ahead in the world
Compassionate, thus able to have courage
Conserving, thus able to reach widely
Not daring to be ahead in the world
Thus able to assume leadership

Today, here in Athens I will be meditating for peace with others at an event. Where ever you are, who ever you are, for a moment, bring love into your heart and seek the peace. This is the true self, this is the true path. Will you join us?
TDT
108 sun saluations yoga

The Tao Principle o Self Management