Archives for the month of: December, 2014

th-6Based on the philosophical and practice principles of the Tao I laid out in my last post, I am offering here just some simple exercises of play I discovered over the years, born out of my own, daily, mundane activities.

The first I developed while still living and pursuing a highly successful professional life in Boston, where I studied with my SiFu in the Taoist meditative, martial and medicinal arts.  He was just one of many I knew there, but he stood prominently at the core of my studies for over 10 years.

The second was born out of my explorations in an environment in which I chose to live at a more humble, simple and naturally-oriented way long after I left the confining perks and financial contrivances of my “professional” life.  Trade-offs always occur in our choices and I gave away the prestige of position for a more authentically personal one.  Yes, I now live at an economic level far below the one I left, but I inhabit a place and time whose riches I have not even begun to mine fully.  The thrill of a larger reward of experience now is far and away worth the “sacrifice” I made to do so.

th-2Like the children depicted here, play is spontaneous and individually invented.  Here, a group of boys has decided to play a game of cricket in between abandoned railroad tracks.  Who knows why they chose this venue over any others – that’s just the serendipity of humanity and that serendipity should be honored and appreciated.  It is what makes us all human: whose core base I assume to be curiosity, inventiveness and enthusiasm for being in the world to our fullest extent.  These boys are obviously, completely, inside their game and should be applauded for all of the originality that led them to this moment, in this captured photo.

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children-playing-philippines_40412_600x450The art of practicing the Tao is to fully engage with the physical world and our potential activities within it as a form of play.  Playing with whatever comes our way at the intuitive, energetic level is the path to understanding the Way.

The Tao is understood through doing and living, not through thinking and intellectualizing.  It’s wisdom within us arises from authentic spontaneity in any context within which we might find ourselves and enacting them without pausing.  Practicing the Tao stimulates our kinesthetic “gut wisdom” of how to act according to the situation at hand – and it is action that reveals the truth.  The Tao’s principles are firm and abiding and, because of that, are universally applied to our individual lives.

Those who satisfy themselves simply with reading Taoist texts will remain ignorant of the Tao’s subtleties and nuances because they have failed to experience it in any tangible manner.  Yes, studying Taoist philosophy is important in integrating the mind and body into an experiential whole, but, unfortunately, Westerners have become lazily dependent on the notion that the left brain can solve our dilemmas of being.  They have traded in wisdom (Tao) for knowledge (brain functions) and will end out on the short end of a large lemon deal.  However, here, no blame as such people are simply functioning out of a larger cultural context that does the same.  They are nothing more and nothing less than the obedient children of a patronizing social structure that pats them on the head and feeds them candies for their obedience.

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