Friday, June 28, 2013

Great at Being You
Call it Zen, mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises, cultivating awareness, just being, just sitting, self-actualization, or something else, the process has the power to change lives. But do any of these names capture its essential meaning?

Shunryu Suzuki said, "If you continue this simple practice every day you will obtain a wonderful power. Before you attain it, it is something wonderful, but after you obtain it, it is nothing special. It is just you yourself..."

Tao #6 : Taking Things In

"The ability to receive never dies.
Empty, therefore inexhaustible,
You can use it any way you want."

When we are conditioned to seek happiness by accomplishing particular experiences, we get tunnel-visioned and fail to notice other avenues to happiness that immediately present themselves. At its root, happiness has something to do with enjoying the feeling of being alive. What we overlook in our fervid attempts to do the things that are supposed to make us happy is the fact that we're already alive and capable of enjoying the feeling of it. An open, receptive mind is the key to appreciating the things that make us feel alive, even the ones that we don't expect.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tao #5 : Brevity

"More words count less."

Omit needless words. Let your actions speak for you.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tao #4 : Nature

"The nature of Nature is like an empty vessel; 
   it is used, but never filled."
"It is deeply hidden but ever present."

When you sit down to meditate, you're temporarily letting go of the day's activities, plans, and concerns so that you can spend a few minutes enjoying that feeling of being alive, of being connected to the whole universe. In that state of mind it's interesting to consider that the deepest mysteries of reality are observable right there, inside of your own perceptions.The nature that created stars and atoms also created your mind. Although the multitude of objects in this world seem so entirely different from one another, these things are all expressions of a common nature.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Few Things That Might Blow Your Mind

Light forms images when refracted through a drop of water. This picture is real!

And a few mind-blowing "facts":
  1. All of the chemical reactions that make you alive and the bonds that hold you together are guided by the electromagnetic force, which in turn is carried by photons--units of light. Every atom in your body is literally held together by light.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Tao #3 : Don't Hoard

"Not collecting treasures prevents stealing."

If you learn one thing from Tao Te Ching, it's the art of preemption. Rather than focusing on the back end, trying to rein in a problem after it's spiraled out of control, TTC emphasizes the ease with which control and power are exerted when a situation is just beginning. In this case, the idea is expressed in terms of treasure and stealing. Instead of investing in security and insurance and weapons to protect your treasures (and stressing out about the never-ending prospect that you're going to lose them), prevent the whole situation before it even becomes a situation and don't collect the treasures in the first place.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bubbles in the Fabric of Reality

We feel like isolated beings, suspended in terrifying nothingness:
 But actually, the empty space that seems like nothing is a field filled with energy:
 And if you look closely enough at what you're made of, you realize that the fields of space are everything. Our bodies are something like bubbles in the fabric of reality:
 The moral of the story: we're a little more connected to the whole universe than you might suspect.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Flow of Things

It seems pretty natural to think of things as related through cause and effect, rippling from past to future. We make decisions, then act on them, then experience the effects of those decisions. Then we dwell on those effects.

This mindset is based on a particular, linear view of reality. We take the idea of a timeline very literally, so it is easy to think of each moment as disconnected from everything that does not immediately cause or result from it.

Here's a crude drawing of another way to view reality: