Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

Verse 24

If you stand on tiptoe, you cannot stand firmly.

If you take long steps, you cannot walk far.

Showing off does not reveal enlightenment.

Boasting will not produce accomplishment.

He who is self-righteous is not respected

He who brags will not endure.

All these ways of acting are loathsome, distasteful.

They are unnecessary excesses.

They are like a pain in the stomach,

a tumor in the body

when walking the path of the Tao,

this is the very stuff that must be

uprooted, thrown out, and left behind.

Lao-tzu

The 24th verse is about living without excess, Lao-tzu advises us to pull and discard our excess weeds. These weeds are ego-driven desires of self-importance. Our desire to feel important and our desires to brag and be boastful of our accomplishments are allowing our ego to drive us instead of the all giving Tao. It is this desire which keeps us away from walking the path of the Tao. The Tao teaches us that inner approval is healthy, but it is these mind frames of thinking you are better than anyone else which is destructive. These desires for self-importance are like a cancer on our souls. Our ego is our greatest enemy on our journey to discover the Way.

The verse starts with an analogy of standing on our tip toes. I believe this represents us trying to be greater than we are. If we try to fill ourselves with self-importance we will not be able to stand firmly. Lao-tzu’s advice is to stop trying to be what we are not, and instead live as we are. We should be humble in our daily affairs, and be content with who we are at all times. Everyday we should show gratitude for everything we have, and everything we are. Showing daily gratitude centers us and keeps us on the path of the Way. Practice focusing on what you have, and not what you want, then show gratitude for everything the Tao has given you. In the part about taking long steps; I think this advises us to live in the moment and not try so hard to get were going. Instead of focusing on our end goal we should be humble and enjoy the process.

The next part of this verse is advising us to not brag or be boastful. Showing off does not show enlightenment. Bragging about our accomplishments only make us look like fools. In the second verse of the Tao Te Ching it says “when the work is done, it is forgotten. That is why it lasts forever,” or in the ninth verse it says “retire when the work is done; this is the way to heaven.” These are all examples of working without bragging or taking credit for your hard work. It is nice to be acknowledged, but this should not be our primary goal. I see my faults in this part of the verse. I have written posts on my frustration with my writing career progress. I want to have five thousand visitors a day, and in my mind this would be an accomplishment worthy of bragging. In my mind I need to be successful immediately, or I am disappointed. I am standing on my tip toes and taking long steps. I need to just sit back and allow my writing career to happen.

I am most interested in the line “He who is self-righteous is not respected.” The definition of self-righteous is “a feeling of smug moral superiority derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person.” This is an interesting line in that the Tao condemns being holier than thou in our religious affairs. Unlike Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism do not send its followers out on missionary trips to spread the word. They do not pretend to be superior to others who believe differently. This is why you have never seen an inquisition in these faiths. The Tao does not judge you based on if you believe in the Way or not. It will still provide you with everything you need. I think this lesson is far different from some other religions out there, which is why I have found a spiritual home in this religion.

Instead of letting our ego drive us with the desire to boast, or only work for the accolades of a good job, we should instead be grateful for everything the Tao has given us. The Tao does not seek acknowledgement for all it does for us. The Tao does not come to us saying “look what I have done for you, now what will you do for me.” This is a lesson the Tao tries to teach us by example. We should not see ourselves as important or special for the gifts the Tao has given us. We should appreciate her, and her unselfish giving. The Tao teaches us to be a giver rather than a taker, we should be providing for others and ask nothing in return. The Tao always exists in a state of unlimited giving, and teaches us to do the same. If we are able to mimic this sense of gratitude and giving we will be closer to walking the path of the Way.

“By returning to radical humility and seeing the greatness within everyone you’ve than cleared your life of excessive self-importance…and this is the way of the Tao.”

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

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 Verse 22

The flexible are preserved unbroken.

The bent become straight.

The empty are filled.

The exhausted become renewed.

The poor are enriched.

The rich are confounded.

Therefore wise men embrace the one

And set an example to all.

Not putting on a display,

They shine forth.

Not justifying themselves,

They are distinguished.

Not boasting,

They receive recognition.

Not bragging,

They never falter.

They do not quarrel,

So no one quarrels with them.

Therefore the ancients say, “Yield and overcome.”

Is that an empty saying?

Be really whole,

And all things will come to you.

Lao-tzu

When I read this verse I think about my very good friend who is going through a rather rough patch in his life. He is suffering some great trials and tribulations and I feel how he handles it will make or break him. If he stands rigid and wallows in his misfortunes he will most likely break amidst his personal storm. If he stays flexible and goes with the storm like a palm tree he will be preserved unbroken. If he yields he will overcome. Dr. Dyer uses the example of a palm tree in a hurricane to illustrate the lessons in this verse. Even with winds of up to 200 mph the palm tree survives even though other trees are being ripped from the ground. The secret of the palm tree is its flexibility. It moves with the winds sometimes all the way to the ground. When the storm has passed the palm tree remains straight.

The first few lines of the 22nd verse of the Tao Te Ching gives me the same feeling of hope as in the book of Matthew. I know it is not an exact match but the feeling I get from this verse is the same I get from reading Jesus’ speech on top of the mountain. I feel a great sense of hope when I read these words. In embracing the one you will become flexible able to withstand anything life throws your way. When you hit a point where you are empty and life is dragging you by the heels rejoice because you will be filled. There is something comforting in these words. To me it gives me strength to weather my own personal storms. I take solace in knowing when I am completely empty I will be filled. I find peace in realizing everything I need is already given to me. I hope one day I can completely embrace the one and be a teacher to others.

I know I have said this before but the Tao Te Ching like other religious scriptures covers many of the same concepts. This verse gives us lessons to confront our greatest enemy our very own ego. If we stop trying to become noticed all the time whether it be at our jobs, with our friends, or in a relationship we will shine brighter. If we stop justifying ourselves all the time we will be heard. This is hard for me because I feel I need to justify myself all the time. I feel a compelling urge to always be right, and I will fight my point to the bitter end. I am certain if I were to shut my mouth and remain open minded to the words I am hearing the outcomes would improve ten fold. Not only would I truly hear what is being said; my points will then be better received. If we choose to listen and not argue or fight with those around us then no one will quarrel with us. If we are living a Tao centered life, then how can anyone truly be offended by your actions?

We need to plant a palm tree seed within ourselves nurtured with the greatness of the Tao. Our roots should be grounded in a Tao centered life. If we can accomplish this we can weather any storm. Like the palm trees in nature everything they need to survive is provided to them by the Tao. The reason these things are provided because the tree is receptive to the Tao’s nourishment. We need to have this same kind of faith, we need to trust that everything we need is here right now, and everything we will ever need will be provided as long as we are receptive. The Tao isn’t trying to get somewhere other than where it is. It has no goals, desires, or judgments it flows everywhere because it is the energy of creation. We are taught to be empty. I think the only way we can be filled is by becoming completely empty. We need to rid ourselves of possessions, attachments, desires, and ego. If we become empty and receptive we will be filled with the loving energy of the Tao.

Okay so I am working on this poetry book inspired by the Tao Te Ching. I plan on adding my own translation of all 81 verses. I am not going to alter it to the point where the meaning is lost; I am going to just change a few words. I am not sure but I think you need to alter the translation so you do not do any copyright infringement. So I am going to include the verse then after the verse I am going to include 1-4 poems inspired by the corresponding verse. I plan on self publishing this title as I did for the last two since publishing a poetry book with a publishing house is damn near impossible. I am enjoying working on this project because it causes me to look deeper into the Tao Te Ching, and develop a deeper understanding of the great Tao. I would like to include the first verse along with my two rough drafts poems to go along with it. Please any feedback would be helpful.

Verse 1

The Tao that can be spoken, is not the eternal Tao

The Tao that can be named, is not the eternal name

The Tao is both named and nameless

As nameless it is the origin of all things

As named it is the Mother of the universe

Ever desiring one can only see her manisfistations

Ever desireless, one will see her mystery

These two spring from the same source, but differ in name

The mystery is the doorway to all understanding

This doorway is the gateway to heaven

Lao-tzu

I constructed this verse with four separate translations. I added two things first I said “the Mother of the universe.” The original verse uses the “Mother of 10,000 things.” I have never really liked this usage. I believe the Tao is the Mother of everything and I believe she gave birth to the universe when the big bang happened. I was always turned off by the ten thousand things reference. I also added at the end “this doorway is the gateway to heaven.” I hope this will not turn people away from this book, I just think a few things can be added to explain the meaning more. Okay so now I am going to include my two poems.

Verse 1 Poem

I am unknowable

Unseeable

Yet I am in your thoughts

I am right before your eyes

Everything comes from my center

Just as the center of your chi

everything that has or will be is my essence

Let go and allow me in

I will show you understanding

Stop trying to make your life work

Let it be

Allow me to show you the Way

Tim Lundmark

Verse 1 Poem

I cannot be named

Try and I will escape you

Strictly desiring me; all you will see are things

If you choose to desire your possessions

And I will flow through your fingers

Be desireless

And I will flow with you

Stop trying

Simply allow

Then I will show you the mystery of the Way

Tim Lundmark

The tough part I am finding is capturing the main message of the verse in poetry form. I am not too happy with my first drafts and definitely feel like there is room for improvement. For now I am going to continue studying these verse’s and find the true meaning. I do not expect to find understanding within the Tao within a short period of timed. This will probably take me a year or so to finish. I just wonder since I am self-publishing if this is even worth my time.

Verse 21

The greatest virtue is to follow the Tao and the Tao alone.

The Tao is elusive and intangible.

Although formless and intangible,

it gives rise to form.

Although vague and elusive,

it gives rise to shapes.

Although dark and obscure,

it is the spirit, the essence,

the life breath of all things.

Throughout the ages, its name has been preserved

in order to recall the beginning of all things.

How do I know the ways of all things at the beginning?

I look inside myself and see what is within me.

Lao-tzu

Here is where I get lost and almost turned off by the Tao Te Ching. I am not going to try and guess what Lao-tzu may or may not be saying in this verse; instead I am going to give my theory on what the Tao is. I do not like the first line where it says to “follow the Tao and the Tao alone.” I think this is greatly out of place for any conceptions of what the Tao is supposed to stand for. The Tao does not pass judgments based on whether we believe or not. The Tao will always provide for us whenever or whatever we need. I suppose I was hoping the Tao Te Ching would not take me down the path of an “exclusive” faith. With that being said I am still in the infancy stages of learning about the great Tao, just like the Bible I cannot expect to fully understand by just reading and meditating on the first twenty-one verses. I hope by the time I reach the 81st verse I will have a great understanding of the Tao’s teachings, and with guidance from such readers as “The Rambling Taoist” I may obtain better understanding. I am sure this will be a long process there are times I still find myself going back to the first verse.

I believe the Tao is the beginning of life itself. I think the big bang was the Tao giving birth to everything in the universe. The Tao continue to create and take away life. It is never-ending. In some verses of the Tao Te Ching the Tao is referred to as the “Mother of 10,000 things.” In my translation I have changed this to the Mother of the universe.” I think this fits better. In the fourth verse of the Tao Te Ching it states that the Tao is the father of God Himself. I believe this is the very God of the Bible, Quran, Torah, and insert any religious belief here_______. I find it interesting that the Tao says “Father.” This insinuates to me that God’s are created by the masculine which is destructive compared to the life giving essence of the feminine.

I was having a conversation with an old friend months ago, and he was telling me about his religious beliefs. I was amazed by his insight, and while I was listening to him a light bulb went off inside of me and it made so much of the Tao’s origin made sense to me. I am not going to get into great detail on his beliefs, but he describes the center of the universe is where all life goes and returns to. It sounded like this giant sphere of light and energy. He said this is heaven, the place where all life comes and returns to. I believe this to be the center of the Tao; the center of all creation. I believe Nebulas are the Tao’s womb, the birthplace of stars, and with stars comes solar systems, within solar systems are planets, and within planets are life or death. We as humans would not have evolved if things were just slightly different. We may have ended up like Venus or Mars, but we didn’t and through billions of years we are what we have become. A blessing mixed with happenstance.

I believe when you die your shen returns to the center only to return to another place when it is ready. I believe in reincarnation, but not in the sense the Buddhist believe. I do not think you need to reincarnate in stages until you reach Nirvana, I believe Nirvana is the center and you travel to it every time you pass. This is the place where everything becomes one. I believe your shen is aware and possess conscience. This is where you reunite with loved ones.

In the end I have no idea if this is true. I want so badly to believe this to curb my sense of fear over death. I want to know my loved ones are in a better place. When I first started re-reading the Tao Te Ching I tried to look at Taoism as a philosophical guiding stick on the proper way to live. It was a year ago I really tried to understand Taoism on a spiritual level, since then it has had a bigger impact on my development as a person. This desire to believe and have faith in the Tao on a spiritual level only came after my best friend passed and I was once again confronted with my own mortality. Like the first verse says no one can describe or define the Tao, when we try it is not the eternal name. I think this is something we all must try to describe to further us down our spiritual path.

Tell me what you think of these songs:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise thee, we bless thee.” From Gloria Canon

“We are marching in the light of God” From An African Celebration

“Let us sing altogether to the Son of God. He is born as our saviour and redeemer. Come see the Christ child in the manger. The sweet little babe, Christ the King.” From Psallite

“Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of hosts. Holy, Holy, Holy God of power and might. Heaven and earth are filled with all your glorious works. Blest are they who worship in your Holy Name. Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of hosts. Holy, Holy, Holy God of power and might. Holy, Holy, Holy evermore the same.” From Sanctus

So what do you think of when you read these lyrics? Would you say these are religious songs? Would you come to the conclusion that perhaps these songs would be sung in a church? I come here to you today as a pissed off parent to find out these very same songs were performed by my daughters PUBLIC school choir. I was never informed and there was never a permission slip given to me asking if I thought this material was okay. I never received anything from her school. I did not find out about this until I was sitting in the stands and the program was passed out.

I was immediately outraged by this! I could not contain my emotions. I expressed my frustrations to my wife which started a separation of church and state debate in the stands of the auditorium. I am sure the parents sitting around us were either offended or amused by our banter. In my opinion this shit does not belong in our public schools. This is a clear violation of separation between church and state. You can clearly see these songs are religious based. The lyrics do not try and hide there purpose. It is just BAM in your face. I wanted to get up; grab my daughter and pull her from this performance. I will be contacting her school today. But wait it doesn’t stop there!

I was chatting with my daughter one day afterschool and she was telling me about how in social studies they are learning about Judaism. She recanted the story of Moses and the Pharaoh and the plagues that came to the Egyptian people. She went on to say Moses parted the Red Sea in order to get away. She then explained how Moses reached Mount Sinai and spoke to the burning bush, and about how on the top of the mountain God gave Moses the Ten Commandments written by Gods finger on two stone tablets. They were teaching her this as if it is a fact not a religious belief. I am all up in arms over this. I was irritated when she was telling me about this, and I had to immediately correct her and explain that these events are not real facts they are a man made fairy tale. She has been my daughter long enough to already know this to be true. I think these songs really pushed me off the ledge.

I really want to call her school and confront the principle on this subject. I will try to refrain because I am not sure how articulate I will come across. Now back to the debate with my wife. She was telling me I am an extremist in my views and that I am a hypocrite because I am making such a big deal about this. I am not sure if she really gets my point. Here is my stance. I do not think kids should be exposed to religion until they hit the age of reason. At this point I am all for them seeking out faith if they so choose. If my daughter is fifteen and chooses to go to church I will support her. If she chooses to become a Muslim I will support her. If she so chooses the Tao or to believe in nothing I will support her. Of course I would love to expose her to my belief system, but that goes against what I believe is right for my children. I do not think exposing children to religion is the right thing because their minds are not fully developed and frankly they are gullible and will believe just about anything.

My youngest son (6) has been recently talking a lot about God, Jesus and Heaven. I am not sure where these ideas are coming from but I am not okay with this. He has been told this by someone and now looks at it as a fact. I mean c’mon this kid still believes in Santa Claus so that about says it all. I made a mistake with my daughter. She used to go to this Christian daycare center and was exposed to religion. Every time we talked I had to reprogram her to set her straight. I told her these things are fairy tales and are false teachings. I succeeded in swaying her away from Christianity. She really enjoyed the movie “Religulous” which makes me think she is probably an atheist. This point is where I can see I am hypocritical. I didn’t want to do the same thing to my son so I just tell him that this is something people believe, and is not rooted in any logical form of thinking. I really doubt he understands what that means, because he still believes in Jesus just as much as he does Santa Claus. I would love nothing more than to start schooling him in Taoism, but like I said this goes against my belief system.

All I know is I am pissed about her social studies class. Something should have been sent home informing the parents what they will be teaching when it comes to religion. I am also pissed because her choir teacher should have sent something home asking the parents if they are okay with this material. I am a firm believer in the separation between church and state. God has no place in our government and sure as shit has no place in our public schools.

When the greatness of the Tao is present,

action arises from one’s own heart.

When the greatness of the Tao is absent,

action comes from the rules

of “kindness and justice.”

If you need rules to be kind and just,

if you act virtuous,

this is a sure sign that virtue is absent.

Thus we see the great hypocrisy.

When kinship falls into discord,

piety and rites of devotion arise.

When the country falls into chaos,

official loyalists will appear;

patriotism is born.

Lao-tzu

To sum up the 18th verse of the “Tao Te Ching”, Lao-tzu is telling us we don’t need rules to be kind and just. We do not need society to dictate to us how to live from our hearts. If we are following the greatness of the Tao then we would be kind and love without doing it because society’s rules dictate us to. We would be kind and love because the Tao is part of us, so these behaviors come naturally.

I don’t think Lao-tzu is saying rules are necessarily bad, he is just saying it is unfortunate we even need them. If we were all one with the Tao life would be a utopia where there would be no war, murder, greed, stealing, or any other negative behavior. People would live peacefully and in harmony with the seasons of the Tao. There would be no need for money, possessions, insane working hours, and stress. We would get up, work when needed, laugh, play, relax, and enjoy the present moment everyday of our lives. I suppose the same thing could be said about the Bible or any other religious texts. If people were to follow the lessons of their faiths then life would be more peaceful. This does not include those who misread religious texts and turn it into a destructive force.

The most powerful and moving part about this verse is Lao-tzu asking us to not act virtuous but to be virtuous. Many of us act virtuous because it is how society or our faiths require us to be, not because it is one of our core values. I think the world we live in today has lost the true Way. In this process of societal deterioration there are fewer and fewer people who are virtuous not because they have to be; they do this because kindness and love are part of their core values. This is a tough verse for me to meditate on because it calls to the forefront my core values. I sit and try to look into my soul and identify exactly what they are. There are times I don’t like what I see, and there are times I try to fool myself. I do know since I have started studying the Tao Te Ching some of my core values have changed to more selfless ones.  

I think the society we live in today is a society of greed, self interest, and entitlement. We follow rules because of what is legal and illegal. We do not steal because it is illegal, but when society breaks down the human race shows its true values. When Katrina hit in New Orleans, society broke down and erupted into chaos. The people began looting and killing. They knew there was no one to stop them so they acted according to their values. Then there were the people who were in tune with the greatness of the Tao. They made every effort to do everything in their power to help their fellow man. I do not think New Orleans is an isolated incident or case study. I believe if society broke down nation wide, and our laws could no longer be enforced; you would see how your neighbor truly is. There would be those who put their ego above all else and there would be those who put the Tao above all else. Although this would be an interesting social experiment, I would not want to be around if this were to happen.

I am a bit lost in what Lao-tzu is saying in the last five lines of this verse. Is he saying when man fails to be kind to his fellow man then piety and rites of religion are created? Is he talking about other religions of his time being created to keep the people in line? When he talks about countries falling into chaos is he also speaking of what was happening in his time, like Revaluations in the Bible? Is he saying when the kindness and love of man breaks down first comes the need to control “religion” then comes government based on religious values? I am a bit lost here.

Become totally empty.

Let your heart be at peace.

Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings,

observe how endings become beginnings.

Things flourish, each by each,

only to return to the source…

To what is and what is to be.

To return to the root is to find peace.

To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny.

To fulfill one’s destiny is to be constant.

To know the constant is called insight.

Not knowing this cycle

leads to eternal disaster.

Knowing the constant gives perspective.

This perspective is impartial.

Impartiality is the highest nobility;

the highest nobility is Divine.

Being Divine, you will be at one with the Tao.

Being at one with the Tao is eternal.

This way is everlasting,

not endangered by physical death.

Lao-tzu

 The sixteenth verse describes the constant of change, while recounting the cycles of life. The one thing we can always count on in life is change. Nothing ever remains the same. The seasons change, relationships begin then end, and all life will someday become death. All things come then they go. The Tao does not play favorites in this process The Tao will bring winter whether we are ready for it or not. The Tao will return all things to the source whether we believe in it or not. The Tao does not answer prayers, but provides you with everything you will ever need. When a door closes the Tao opens a new one. These examples all show change. Observing endings becoming beginnings is a great way to deal with death, the loss of a job, or the ending of a relationship. Understanding when one door closes another one opens is a great coping method and a divine way to live ones life.

Lao-tzu advises us to become empty and allow our hearts to be at peace amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings. I think Lao-tzu is trying to teach us coping methods for how to deal with the numerous changes we encounter in life. His 2,500 year old description of the “rush of worldly comings and goings” fits perfectly well with where we are today. Life is hectic and crazy, and many of us have issues with the consistent changes we encounter.

Many of us are afraid of change. We avoid it as much as we can. I am a creature of habit. When things change around me whether it be changing of routines, or the changing of the seasons I am unable to cope. I become either manic or slip into a depression. I need to learn to embrace this constant and allow myself to be in harmony with the Tao. I need to become an observer of the life around me and appreciate the cyclical nature of all things.

I suffer from a mild case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, because of this I have a harder time with things outside my routines. For example I need to park in the exact same spot when I go to therapy. If I am not able to park in my spot I become agitated and then flip into the mode of needing to control every aspect of my surroundings. I try to recreate how everything looked the last time I was there. I will try and arrange the chairs in the waiting room in perfect order. I begin to have severe anxiety and panic attacks. I tried this lesson on Tuesday when I went to therapy. I grabbed my prayer beads and counted my twenty seven progressions. With each deep breath I imagined myself becoming empty, and my heart being at peace. To my surprise this tactic worked. I still had anxiety, but it was reduced to just a minor bother.

In the sixteenth line of the sixteenth verse it say “impartiality is the highest nobility.” The seventeenth line says the highest nobility is divine. For some reason I am drawn to these two lines. I had an idea, but I was not 100% sure the exact meaning of “impartiality.” The definition I received was the ability to weigh both views and opinions equally. I look into myself, and realized this is a trait I am lacking in. When it comes to things affecting me personally I am unable to see others views and feelings as equally as my own. I am not sure I can even say I am impartial when it comes to looking outside my circle and see issues equally. I will continue to meditate on this to try and find the answer.

Every religion has an explanation for what happens to you when you die; Taoism is no exception. Taoism says everything will return to the source to what is and what is to be. Now whether this is Heaven, Nirvana, or reincarnation no one will know until we pass. I interpret this as reincarnation. My theory is your shen (what is) leaves your body, and returns to the center of everything in the womb of our mother the great Tao. When you leave this womb you return back to any planet and enter into a new life (what is to be.) As a former atheist I know this sounds crazy, but somehow seems right. I have always been afraid of death and the great unknown; but the sixteenth verse brings me peace. I may not know what the outcome is, nor will I attempt to understand it, because the Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The constancy between life and death returns us to our root. I find peace in knowing I will return to the source of all things, this nameless placeless site of all of our origination.

I was outside yesterday and spotted a large bird soaring from above. I was debating over what kind of bird it was with one of my co-workers. He thought it was a hawk, but I disagreed at first. I thought it was an eagle, but I am only aware of two breeds of eagles living in Minnesota the bald and golden eagle. This bird seemed far too big to be a hawk or falcon, but we finally ended up agreeing on it as being a hawk. We just stood there staring in amazement. This bird was so majestic just gliding from above. There were times he seemed to hover in one place. As if we were not already lucky enough a bald eagle came into the picture and we were able to see both circling in the sky! The hawk was diving at the eagle trying to get it to stay out of its air space. I assumed by the way they were flying they were hunting.

I considered myself lucky to see something so beautiful. It is always fantastic to see an animal you do not normally see. I love birds so this sighting was extra special for me. My work is right by a lake so I have seen both bald eagles and golden eagles. The golden eagles I spotted about a month back, and was the first time I had ever seen that breed of eagle in my life. Birds bring me such a sense of serenity. I am not sure why; I just know I am mesmerized by them.

I am not so much into breeds you see everyday. I get extra excited spotting one which I consider rare. Not rare in extinction, but rare in my eyes. We put up a hummingbird feeder over the summer and I was skeptical over ever seeing one. I had only seen a hummingbird once in my life and I didn’t even get a good look at it. Sure enough hummingbirds started coming to this feeder everyday. The first time I saw one I was floored with joy. We were also lucky enough to have a colorful breed trying to get in our house everyday. They would fly into the window over and over again trying to get in. I figured they were canaries who got loose and were trying to find their way home. They didn’t quite look like canaries so I thought they may be a breed of finch. Between these two birds, hawks, falcons, and eagles I would say I had a fantastic summer.   

This beautiful site reminded me of the Tao. The hawk and eagle simply extended their wings took off and soared in the wind. They do not try to change the wind patterns; they just adapt, and accept this as it is. They are content with what the wind has to offer them. They never sit wishing for stronger gusts, they just use what is right in front of them. These birds are living essential lessons of the Tao. They are not even aware they are living in harmony with the Tao.

Perhaps this is the downfall of man. We have so many things in our lives which do nothing but complicate matters. We try so hard to fill our lives with things designed to bring us happiness, and we get lost in the hunt. We are raised to be guided by our ego always searching for more and living for what the future will bring rarely living in the moment. We have a hard time adapting to change. The eagle instinctually knows the only constant in life is change. We have a hard time adapting to the Tao’s changing breezes. These birds do not sit in fear over change they simply adapt.

I think the simple minds of animals keep them in constant harmony with the Tao and what is. We as humans are burdened with so much thought we lose touch with what is. The more I read and learn the lessons of the Tao; the more I realize if we were to all live her lessons on a daily basis we would have a perfect society. I can only hope one day I am able to live the lessons of the Tao everyday of my life. I can only hope I will be as knowledgeable of the Way like The Rambling Taoist. I have grown to admire him more than anyone I have ever known.

My father came down to the cities a few weekends ago for a visit. I always enjoy when he comes down because we have some great theological and political discussions. He is one of the most intensely religious people I know. Our belief systems and political opinions are complete polar opposites. We will get into some heated arguments involving these subject.

My father is not your typical Christian. He is 100% against Sunday Christians, because he believes they have been deceived by Satan. He is very knowledgeable of the Word, and can repeat scriptures at the drop of the hat. He is a heavy dope smoker and is losing his memory so he can sometimes quote the same scriptures over and over again; which gets very annoying. He watches hours of evangelists on television finding various different ways to find out how they are not preaching what the Word really says. He will write letter after letter trying to show these churches the errors in their ways. He believes the seven letters referred to in Revelations is describing the major denominations out there. When he is not watching television preachers he is watching Fox News, and has some extreme political views as well with various different conspiracy theories, this also causes some heated debates.

On Saturday night he started to go off on his theory for why society has crumbled from within. He believes our downfall has to do when we threw God out of the schools and out of the government. He called us a Godless nation who has turned our backs on the Lord. Warning if we continue to turn our back on God; God will turn his back on us. I listened to his points of view as I always do. I would try to politely interject and give my views. Most of the times I do not bother because he refuses to let me finish a single thought. He is also completely unable to step out side of his belief system and look at things objectively.

It wasn’t until he brought up one of our major downfalls was our acceptance of homosexuality. He went on to say God hates the act, and compared our society to Sodom and Gomorrah. I immediately got filled with agitation, and could no longer hold my opinions back. I asked him why God would create a segment of the population he was predisposed to hate. He told me God does not hate the people he hates the act of homosexuality. I refrained my question asking him why God would create a segment of people who are predisposed to commit acts which he hates. His answer to me was people are not born gay; it is a learned behavior.

I had to scoff at this notion for the silliness it is. I tried to point out the existence of blatantly feminine men and obvious butch females. There is no way these are learned character traits. This has to be something these individuals are born with. We started to really get into it. He gave me the typical Sodom and Gomorrah references and said the famous quote “God made Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve.”  

This is a great example of why I will never accept the existence of God into my life. The fact people can read a book which teaches them to love their fellow man, yet teaches intolerance over something as trivial as being gay is a complete joke. I do not understand why in this day and age we have had such an issue with gay people getting married. The fact we are still debating the don’t ask don’t tell policy in our military is a joke. I could understand his concern if homosexuals were running around ass raping straight men in the streets. This would cause huge issues and a concern to the public. The facts are these things do not happen in the real world. Gay people are not sexual deviants who are a risk to be free in our society. Our world will not be affected in any way if we allowed gay’s to get married. Gay people deserve the right to go die in unjust wars just as straight men do. These things are facts yet because a book has some references to this as being bad; it cause’s our society to tweak out over the subject. How can my fathers claim that God has been thrown out of the government be true when that very same government is making laws based on what the Bible says?

One final thought. The Bible says one of the reasons for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality was running rampant. God decided he hated this place so much he would rain down fire and brimstone. The question I have is why has he refrained himself from destroying us? The fire and brimstone episode was not the only reference to God destroying his children for naughty behavior. Why are we not being destroyed now? This is one of my arguments against the existence of God.