Sunday, March 1, 2009

Beyond Philosophy

As anyone who has ever visited this blog can readily surmise, I like philosophy -- exploring the base assumptions of society and myself in relationship to core, foundational issues. What is life? Where did we life from? What is virtue and how do we live it?

Most of my regular readers are lovers of philosophy too! This can be easily surmised by reading the inspiring, thought-provoking comments you each leave here.

Yet, for our great love of philosophy, there are many practical considerations that need to be explored as well. I know from my tracking software that a significant portion of first time visitors to TRT land here because of a search for information about Taoism. While a great deal of the verbiage here -- by me and all of you -- deals with Taoistic philosophy, there seems to be a dearth of practical advice for the novice.

Of course, the prime reason for this is that each of us struggles with the fusion of philosophy to everyday living. It's one thing to state that the self and the surrounding reality is merely an illusion, but how does that help a single mother juggling a career and three kids or a college student trying to figure out which direction to go?

We can discuss endlessly the concept of emptying oneself -- and we probably will! -- to get in touch with the cosmic forces or the value of the practice of meditation, Tai Chi or yoga, but we have a responsibility also to suggest to new seekers how these activities can impact our routine lives in a modern technological society.

So, this is a direct invitation to many of you to make use of the comment section here to offer newbies practical advice and/or observations about what it means to lead a Tao-infused or contemplative life. In fact, this needed discussion doesn't necessarily even need to take place here. If you decide to tackle this topic in your own unique way, simply put the link to your discussion on your blog in the comments section.


  1. Actually, I'm a newbie wanting to learn more about Taoism. In trying to center myself, I started a couple of years ago reflecting each day with inspiration from the daily Catholic readings (Reflections). As I've slowly started discovering Taoism, I see a connection with my own reflections.

    So, any thoughts on "practical" Taoism and suggestions of resources to pursue would be greatly appreciated.



  2. I suggest coming back, every day, to this page. The web is full of self-professed Taoists, but very, very few have any real idea of what they are talking about.
    This is a page where the real thing lives.
    One can not learn Tao.
    One can only become it.
    One can allow oneself to be filled by it, one drop at a time, until finally the vast, calm joy is all one knows...
    There is nothing to learn.
    There is so much to remember.

  3. OK Jesse, you've thrown down the gauntlet, so since I broached this topic to begin with, I should offer some practical advice. Here are two tidbits.

    First, no one other than you can provide your answers. Hah! What do you think of them apples? (OK, that doesn't sound very helpful, does it?)

    Second, as we each move through life, if we are able to grasp the concept that all things are interconnected, this one observation should change the way we live.

    For me, this means I incorporate environmental principles into my decisions because what we each do affects everything else. As it has been said, no man [human] is an island.

    A corollary to this idea is that each action we undertake causes ripples that expand out from us in ways and directions we can barely fathom. So, it's often a good exercise to consider more thoroughly how our actions will affect other people and beings beyond our current frame of reference.

  4. I was drinking my tea and it was nice. I got the bottom and there was congealed milk. So I spat that bit out.

    If it is right it is right but you don't hold onto anything as right can become wrong. You adjust and flow, harmonize.


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