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Tzu-Jan

A Blog for the Modern Taoist.

The Songbird

Turn off the radio.

There is a songbird outside.

Each morning he comes to share his melody.

His notes echo in the stillness of the morning

as the sun finds its way over the horizon.

Confident and proud he sings “I am here”

Then he flies away.

Now the silence is audible.

Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.

All can know good as good only because there is evil.

Therefore having and not having arise together.

Difficult and easy complement each other.

Long and short contrast each other:

High and low rest upon each other;

Voice and sound harmonize each other;

Front and back follow one another.

Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking.

The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease, Creating, yet not.

Working, yet not taking credit.

Work is done, then forgotten.

Therefore it lasts forever.

-Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2, Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English Translation

 

Equal, Not Separate

The forest is restless. Electricity fills the sky and its thunder rolls through the Earth.

The storm raged all night.

I open my eyes to a new day.

The forest before me is covered in mist. The birds sing. The sun emerges.

I revel in the beauty of nature’s way. Its way of giving itself what it needs. Its way of creating balance. Its way of just being.

We are not separate from this, we are not meant to look upon Nature as something separate from ourselves, we are part of nature’s cycle.

We are no different than the trees and the ground who are nourished by the rain.  What Nature gives to the Earth she gives to us as well.

Do not look unto Nature as something that has been placed there for you to admire from the outside.  We are made of the same, we are connected.

Surrender yourself to Nature’s cycles, there you will find what you need to create balance and you will understand that nothing is lacking in your life.

 

 

 

The Way

Tao (Dao) means the Way.

I hear these words the Way 

I think “To where?”

In modern life

the word Way might make us feel that we must be heading toward something

the word Way might indicate a path that leads to somewhere different than where we are

but the Way is not the path to a destination, the path itself is the destination

it is your life path

a destination of sustained continuity,

a balance between intention and easiness.

There is no one destination, just the natural direction in which your life moves.

 

Should we speak of our life span as the goal and the ending of our way? No, we are the Way, and the Way is us, and the Way continues unendingly.  We too go on forever — if we are not stunted by the smallness of our own thinking.

– From The Lunar Tao by Deng Ming Dao, Moon 2, Day 22, “The Way”

 

 

Just Let it Be

Sometimes we are so busy looking up that we do not look ahead

Sometimes we are so busy looking ahead that we do not look up

The fleeting years of our youth are filled with freedom from responsibility,

responsibility that is so constant in the rest of our adult lives.

So, how does one move through the challenges and stresses of adulthood?

Confucius would have said to look ahead, Lao Tzu would have said look up

Find the balance, the place in-between the two.

Taoism encourages Wu-Wei,  or non-action, non-being

It does not mean to be passive or lazy

It means that we are letting things unfold in their natural way

doubtlessly. spontaneously. naturally.

Today, try letting go of insignificant things, and just let everything else be.

“We can have two friends in our lives:  Confucius and Lao Tzu.  Following just one would leave us incomplete.  We can be practical and spiritual, awake and dreaming.  With a balance between direction and non direction, between action and inaction, we will follow a middle path.”  – Quiguang Zhao, Do Nothing & Do Everything

 

 

 

 

Let Dreams Happen

Let your dreams vanish

so that they can come true.

Find that moment of awakening to all that is real before you.

You have to let go of the dream.

Let go of the idea, let go of the illusion

Clear space, clear your vision, and succumb to life’s natural flow

where your reality becomes your dream.

 

 

A Mantra for Gratitude

To live unbound

unbound by objects, places, or people.

To live free of the necessity of material possessions.

To empty myself from the inside out,

so that I can see what is left.

To be empty

So that there is only room for gratitude of what remains.

“The five colors blind they eye.  The five tones deafen the ear. The five flavors dull the taste.  Racing and hunting madden the mind, Precious things lead us astray.  Therefore the wise are guided by what they feel and not by what they see, Letting go of that and choosing this.”

     -Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching “Twelve”

 

Be like the leaf.

The winds are changing.

They bring respite

to those who have endured the punishing heat of summer.

The leaf has nourished the tree

and soon it will fall away to nourish the ground beneath it.

The tree lets go of the leaf that no longer serves it,

trusting its strength, preparing for the arduous winter.

It will slow down

It will rest

Months will pass

a new leaf will be reborn.

We must be like the leaf,

unafraid to fall.

We must be like the tree,

hanging on to what we need in order to grow strong,

but letting it go when we need it no more.

 

Becoming You.

It’s amazing how your spirit can permeate a place

Streets

Where you have taken hundreds of thousands of steps

Smells

That fill the air

and take you back to a time when you were not who you are

and remind you of a moment that was shaping you.

People you saw

Places you felt

Steps you took

Towards becoming You.

Truth.

Those voices speak inside of you.

What are they saying?

They seek to fill

When all you seek is to empty.

They show you the possibilities

the ones that engulf you with

elation and fear.

The voices are truth.

How does one just listen?

Universe.

Something stirs inside of you.

something calm.

an intense sense of peace.

He’s always close.

 

In your heart.

You are here.

You are present.

Everything you see, feel, hear

is now.

But how can you ignore the past.

It’s always there

that little voice, unchanged,

engraved in your memory.

Some parts alive

others ignored, stored away

with time

the mind chooses more carefully what to retrieve.

And what it seeks

it finds

and it fills your heart with emotion.

Challenges.

Today challenges abound.

It is a strength of your persistence, patience, and resilience.

Breathe.

Elusive.

Everything is fleeting.

So, why is it that we do what we do?

Because everything is fleeting.

Time eludes us.

No matter how hard we try to hold on to it.

It passes, and memories that once felt so close feel a little further

but never out of reach

Always there.

Always waiting for that something to awaken them.

Paradox.

It’s a paradox.

You are not the same person you once were. . .  yet you are.

But yes, you grow.

Grow more conscious of who you are, aware of those things

– which are not things –

that bring you peace.

You Know.

Something powerful moves inside of you.

The wind is changing, your heart speaks

Maybe it always has.

Maybe now you know what it is saying.

The Magic of Morning

In order to really know a city

You have to watch a city wake up

You have to see her empty streets

Watch the people behind the scenes

Watch the pulse slowly start to get faster

Hear the birds singing their morning songs

And the church bells ringing

 

Watch them

They who deliver the food

They who manicure the gardens

They who sweep the streets

They are the ones that bring the city alive

Seeing a city in the early morning is like being in a different place

And that small window between when everything is still asleep

and suddenly everything is awake …

There is magic in that in-between.

Be Present.

Enter Zen.

Let the world fall away.

Let your thoughts disappear.

Focus on your body, your breath, and your moment.

Just be present. Nothing more.

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