12 Things about the Tao and I

Taoism is a philosophy crafted by the consciousness of the individual. As such, The Way does not need a guru or master to guide its wisdom for you. In addition, you cannot fall or rise to an imaginary pious status with The Tao.

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try.

The world is beyond the winning.

Lao Tzu–

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1. I do not study the Tao.PathOfLife

2. I do not force myself to meditate.

3. I cannot recall many of the 81 verses.

4. There are no rituals I must rehearse or practice.

5. I can walk past the Tao and not be reminded to thank or bless it.

6. I cannot kneel to it at an altar or my bedside.

7. I do not read the Tao every day, in fact, I go

days without listening to its pages.

8. I have no responsibility to recruit, convert, or sway others of different philosophical or religious ilks.

9. I am not (Saved) by Taoism. (There is nothing to be saved from).

10. I have no restrictions on foods, music, movies, or wearing

provocative clothing.

11. There exist no holidays or observations in its remembrance.

12. There are no mediators necessary for the Tao and I.

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The Invisible Dragon

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Depressive Rumination: Stopping Negative Thinking

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“You’re going to worry yourself sick”, was my mother’s ring tone. Those seemingly meaningless words crashed softly to the ground in my youth and young adulthood. Unfortunately, in 2005 with my life completely unmanageable did the phrase make its way home.  After suffering from major depression and depressive rumination for over twenty years, I learned “you’re going to worry yourself sick” was an understatement.

The Stuck Mind

Depressive rumination is repetitive thinking; the disruptive behavior is associated with affective disorders like depression. I was a slave to this horrible affliction. The ability to chew on negative thoughts for days was a common occurrence. These judgments originated from numerous mental queries, judgments, and suggestions (i.e., a perceived wrong from others, external forces, or future expectations).

Whatever the reason, thoughts or opinions would stew in my mind until mental exhaustion was achieved. Without question, I could not let go of repetitive negative thoughts; they were a normal element of my depressive life.

Major depression is a dark alley of hopelessness and its strangling mist slowly chokes rational thinking to death. The experience of depression is indefinable, and it becomes more horrifying; when we cannot articulate our mood, it’s scary as hell. But we can recover from both depression and depressive rumination.  We can find a way out.

Thus when the decision to face my darkness was sprouted, rumination or obsessive thinking was also in my crosshairs. I wanted freedom from depression, substance abuse, and repetitive thinking in that order.

Byron Katie

Dismantling depressive rumination became possible after reading Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is. Her book helped me learn more about Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of psychotherapy where thoughts are challenges for validity. In other words, is it true what we’re thinking or is it a false perception? Unchallenged negative thoughts have a direct impact on our behaviors and our depressive disorders.

Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is”, coupled with psychotherapy, anti-depressive medicine, and Taoism provided the strength to challenge my depressive rumination. Taoism is my philosophy and my path. I practiced five years reading, studying, and receiving therapy to not only conquer depression, but to manage circular thinking. In addition, the art of mindfulness helped challenge old habits as well.

Depressive rumination increases depressive symptoms in patients. This maladaptive behavior is detrimental to the mind, body, and spirit.  We ponder relentlessly about memories we cannot affect and likewise wait with heightened anxiety for future expectation.

However, major depression and depressive rumination are curable.  Please consider seeking medical diagnosis for your depressive symptoms or rumination.   By the way, only when we are present in the here-and-now do depressive ruminations begin to dissolve.

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The Invisible Dragon

Book Review: Greatest Salesman in the World

Note:  I have more Christian friends than a mega church could shake a stick at.  My friends and I share and read books.  We share books not as an attempt of conversion to either faith or philosophy but spiritual growth. Hence some books receive a succinct written appraisal because of their indelible impression on the Dragon.  Such a book is below.

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Overview

Og Mandino, (1968) “The Greatest Salesman on Earth.” Overview: Jay Redmond dutifully sworn to inform me of Christian genres did so with best-selling author Og Mandino’s book “Greatest Salesman in the World”. Why, the forewarning? Because we do not trade books so heavily slanted that any message of worth is drowned out by ideology or mythology.  This is not to say religious books make me scurry but some attempt to covert by text. I’m not a big fan of these books and pleasingly Jay takes this heed.

In fact, before Jay dropped it on my desk, I could honestly say, never heard of it. Jay’s an avid reader as well as philological gent, a light-skinned African-American fellow drenched in thought. He informed me of the mission, “read this book, I think you’ll enjoy it”.  This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds, damn that Jay.  Spoiler Alert!!!   Greatest Salesman on Earth (1968) is not about last month’s quarterly reports.

Hafld:  Teach Me

The date did not bother me (1968) concerning contextual relevance. The Tao and Bible are much older; the Buddha, a tired elder, long should have retired. What the book has in common with these books and philosophical thinking patterns is the art of the parable. The story sets in Jerusalem in about the time before Christ’s birth, when the young man Hafld wishes and learns the secrets of success.

The educational tutelage came from one of the wealthiest men at that time. The well-off elder was repeating the gesture he himself requested and received long ago, “the secret of success”. The story reveals ten scrolls handed down to Hafld, these lessons of principles necessary to build one to self-actualization.  Without giving much if anything away, the scrolls provide lessons to change one’s circumstances through a change of consciousness.

The story inside the story is a powerful plug for Christians; as such reading the book in its entirety will be a great revelation. Greatest Salesman on Earth is a nice story of self-identity building and remaining faithful to one’s beliefs.

My Take:

Og Mandino’s “Greatest Salesman in the World” has sold over 14 million copies. There are some helpful, empowering tools in the classic. However, my reaction to the book was lukewarm mainly because the anecdotes were familiar to my schema. This book would be more advantageous to a person just beginning their journey, such as the main character Hifld.

In addition, the book offers great insights and then produces thoughts that baffled me, as such, “Experience is comparable to fashion; an action that provoked successful today will be unworkable and impractical tomorrow, only principles endure (pp42).”

Principles become experience when applied in real life situations. It is similar to hope, it only becomes hope when actions are secured, or “when the rubber hits the road”.
This book favors individuals who desire external guidance in the beginning of their journey.

Three Dragons… Recommended for purchase…
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Next Book Review
Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success

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The Invisible Dragon

Daily Dragon’s Mantra. “Self-Mastery”

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We predict with certainty an expert resided over hours of practice and training. Hence a virtuoso of piano suffocated in seclusion training her discipline.  In another instance, the skill surgeon stockpiled hours of due diligence to the smallest procedure. Without regards, external mastery skills requires long hours of hard work.

Yet religious and spiritual apprenticeship last but seconds. How one does believe mastery of self involves a ‘verbal slogan’ or membership to a sect implausible.  Nevertheless one may be assured mass gatherings expressing conversion in minutes disguise the ultimate reality.

Self-Cultivation

There exist no ‘quick fixes’ to deconstructing the illusionary mind.  Heighten awareness occurs from isolation wedded to inflexible vocation alike the sharpshooter or ballerina. Please let us not be mystified, skilled inner awareness may require years of practice. Therefore, as a stern warning, those who profess quickness to a ‘new spirit’ should receive a cool reception.

The world is populated with quacks announcing their possessing “The Way”.   As a rule gimmicks, tricks, and aged-old witty dialogue are not avenues to deliverance. The secret is not hidden from view; self-cultivation requires hard work and resiliency.  To blossom, stay inside (You) and study.

The Invisible Dragon

Miles Davis

365 Tao, entry 11 ‘Healing’

 

Healing

“No matter how extreme a situation is, it will change. It cannot continue forever. Thus, a great forest fire is destined to burn itself out; a turbulent sea will become calmer…Natural events balance themselves out by seeking their opposites, and this process of balance is at the heart of all healing…Actually, without these slight imbalances, there could be no movement in life..It is being off-balance that keeps life changing…Total balance would only be stasis…All life is continual destruction and healing, over and over again…In the mist of extreme situation, the wise are patient..They know healing will follow upheaval.”365 tao daily meditation by ming-dao deng

(Personal Development)

Despite our best devotion to deities, philosophies, and faiths: we are members of the fluctuation of nature. As such, change is a constant in the mechanism of our existence. Thus, our best day hides in the current despair, likewise, the lowest moment exist in present happiness.

I was fortunate to begin my process of healing while on earth. Both my parents were not afforded the opportunity of self-cultivation: both died at incredible young ages (35 & 46). If however there is something learned from their contribution, it is, “Never give up”. A chapter of life is not the book. Learn to accept change, regardless of its degree, be resilient, knowing…eventually change will occur, even to our consciousness.

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The Invisible Dragon

Miles Davis