Monthly Archives: November 2009

Fulfillment (repost from 2005 with additions)

Gustav Klimt, Fulfillment

“There is the kiss of welcome and of parting, the long, lingering, loving, present one; the stolen, or the mutual one; the kiss of love, of joy, and of sorrow; the seal of promise and receipt of fulfillment.” –Thomas C. Haliburton

“Plant the seed of desire in your mind and it forms a nucleus with power to attract to itself everything needed for its fulfillment.” — Robert Collier

Accomplish your visions.
Persevere in your ambitions.
Only then can you negate
Visions and ambitions.

Some say that one should not have ambitions; they equate these with greed and lust. However, some ambitions are the result of curiosity and inner desire. They are individual interests, like wanting to know about a certain subject or wanting to achieve goals. As long as they do no harm to others, they should be exercised rather than suppressed.

Many young people are held back by their peers and their elders. Sometimes there are valid reasons, but usually the motivations of the others are colored by fear, ignorance, jealousy, or inadequacy. No one should hold you back from achieving your life’s goals.

Whatever you want to do, do it to the fullest. There are just a few provisions. First, you must realize that nothing is forever. You may achieve your goals only to find out that they are no longer important to you. This is all right. That means you have come to the end of your interest and are now free to go on to something else. Secondly, your ambitions should not determine your life. You are a human being first, and your goals are merely adjuncts to your basic quest as a person. Finally, you should realize that the fulfillment of your goals should include the eradication of all fears. Once you have accomplished these things, you will truly have nothing standing between you and spiritual realization.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.
— Sir John Lubbock

“Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.” — Mark Twain

“As long as anyone believes that his ideal and purpose is outside him, that it is above the clouds, in the past or in the future, he will go outside himself and seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. He will look for solutions and answers at every point except where they can be found–in himself.”
— Erich Fromm

I’m someone who always enjoys learning new things, and acquiring new knowledge. My ambitions are usually focused on learning some new skill or learning about something. One of the difficult parts of the Tao for me is realizing that I need to get out of my mind sometimes to be with the Tao. So I tend to give in a lot to my ambition for knowledge.

My visions are often centered on creating a new piece of art, or adding something new to my life. I’ve been wanting for some time now to get myself focused again on my art, but I make way too many excuses, and the art gets put off again and again, as does actually bringing new things into my life. I want to learn more Chinese brush painting and return to working with watercolor. I want to continue to grow and move along new pathways.

Ambitions and visions are important clues for us to understanding ourselves. I don’t know that we ever really get beyond them. Even the idea of not having them is sort of an ambition of its own. But can we feel fulfilled without accomplishing all our ambitions? Of course. I still feel fulfilled much of the time, even though I haven’t accomplished all the things I’ve set out to do in the day. It’s important to learn to get satisfaction from life itself, and not only from our achievements.

I think the real fulfillment for me is in knowing that wherever my path may take me, I can find satisfaction and contentment and enjoy whatever the day might bring for me.


Be still to know the absolute.
Be active to know the outer.
The two spring from the same source,
All of life is one whole.

In stillness, one seeks the absolute Tao. There is neither beauty nor ugliness in it. Because it has no opposites, it is called absolute. By contrast, nothing of this world is absolute, because all things that we experience are relative.

Seeking the absolute may be among the greatest goals, but you cannot remain on your meditation cushion forever. You must go out and explore life as well. This is the investigation of the outer Tao — that aspect of Tao that flows through all existence. You must not fail to explore anything that interests you. Any skill you want to master should be learned. Any subject that arouses curiosity should be examined. Every insecurity should be overcome. Every question should be answered. If you do not do this, then you cannot freely flow with the outer Tao : Every one of your uncertainties will be an obstacle.

Initially, it will seem as if there is no connection between your time meditating and the outer things in your life. After all, the masters themselves constantly stress the difference between the spiritual and the social. But eventually, you will reach a point where the quiescence of contemplation and the activeness of living are integrated. Then there is no anxiety about whether one is living a spiritual life or not. You realize that it is all part of the same seamless whole.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

Flow (repost from 2005)

If the boulders are moved,
Even a river will change its flow.

Except for occasional flooding, the mightiest river keeps to its bed. It flows where it finds openings between cliffs and rocks. If the river is dammed, if the cliff walls are moved, if the boulders are shifted, it will flow a different course. It could even be made to flow backwards if the earth moved far enough.

So it is with the flow of our lives. Once the fixed objects of our lives shift, our circumstances change. If we move to another city, life will change. If we marry one person over another, life will be different. If we situate our business in a good neighborhood, life will be prosperous. If we choose a house in a good setting, life will be healthy. If we arrange our furniture properly, life will be comfortable. If we eat correctly, life will be prolonged. In short, followers of Tao realize that the flow of life can be affected and to some degree consciously manipulated simply by altering its parameters.

Life is the flow of energy. It is the air that we breathe, the force that moves the weather, the force of all minds combined. It keeps the rivers flowing, our hearts beating, and the sky blue. This flow of energy moves constantly according to the fixed points that exist at any given moment. Therefore, by manipulating the cardinal points of our lives, we can change the flow. The freedom to choose and to change belongs to us.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao. — Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching


A sailboat moves with the wind,
But May still be steered.
You may flow with Tao,
Yet still make choices.

— Richard Seymour

32. Shapes

Flow has no true shape,
And therefore none can control it.
If a ruler could control flow
All things would follow
In harmony with his desire,
And sweet rain would fall,
Effortlessly slaking every thirst.

Flow is shaped by use,
But then the shape is lost.
Do not hold fast to shapes
But let sensation course into the world
As a river runs down to the sea.

— GNL Tao Te Ching

All things change, nothing is extinguished. There is nothing in the whole world which is permanent. Everything flows onward; all things are brought into being with a changing nature; the ages themselves glide by in constant movement. — Ovid

Back when I was studying engineering, the most dreaded course was fluid dynamics. The mathematics involved in studying fluids is complicated, and in some cases, turbulence in fluids simply becomes chaos, totally unpredictable.

We can determine some of the flow of our lives, but there will always be elements of it that are unpredictable, which, of course, is part of the fun. The true art of Tao is not in trying to control the flow, but in learning enough about how the flow of our life works that we can manage things when they descend into chaotic flow. Not that you can control events outside of yourself, but that you can control how you react and respond to those events. This is the real art of Tao.

Spectrum (repost from 2005)

Pure light is all colors.
Therefore, it has no hue.
Only when singleness is scattered
Does color appear.

When we see pure sunlight streaming down on us, it is a pure radiance so bright that we can discern neither details nor hues from its source. But when light strikes the gossamer wings of a dragonfly, or when it shines through misty rain, or even when it shines on the surface of our skin, it is polarized into millions of tiny rainbows. The world explodes with color because all the myriad surfaces and textures fracture the light into innumerable, overlapping dimensions.

The same is true of Tao. In its pure state, it embodies everything. Thus, it shows nothing. Just as pure light has all colors yet shows no color, so too is all existence initially latent and without differentiation in Tao. Only when Tao enters our world does it explode into myriad things. We say that everything owes its existence to Tao. But really, these things are only refractions of the great Tao.

Colored light, when mixed together, becomes pure, bright light again. That is why those who follow Tao constantly speak of returning. They unify all areas of their lives and unify all distinctions into a whole. There cannot be diversity within unity. When our consciousness rejoins the true Tao, there is only brightness, and all color disappears.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

Look at the dust particles floating in the sunlight, like little bits of glitter. See the gnats shine as they zig zag in the light. Look at the light shine off the leaves of the plants. Look at it glisten on the coat of the cat in the window. Watch light reflect off glass, refract off everything. Tao is the same, reflecting and refracting everywhere.

I often think how fortunate we all are, to have such a wide variety of things to see and do in the world. Yet people are so unhappy, feeling stuck in their jobs or their lives. Even I feel stuck sometimes, until I look up and realize how much great stuff there is going on all around me. Quit thinking things will be better if you were doing something else, and learn to appreciate where you are and what is around you. Even a prisoner can go inside and explore what is within themselves – what is within us reflects what is around us and refracts the Tao as much as anything.

There is so much in life to enjoy. And yet it is really all part of the same thing, the Tao. It all seems so different, but it is all made from the same stuff, electrons, protons, neutrons. And so with people as well – all of us seeming so different, but really all so much the same. Why can’t we just learn to enjoy the differences, celebrate our wonderful diversity of interests and ideas instead of believing we are right and they are wrong, or we are better and they are worse, or we are good and they are evil. We are one, yet many, together, yet always alone. And we fear being alone as much as we fear being together. Perhaps we need to get over the fear and accept that once we overcome the fear of diversity, we can overcome the fear of unity as well.

We all come from and return to the same source. Even the gnat. Isn’t it time we use the magnificent brains we’ve been given to at least enjoy life as much as the gnat? Live in the light. Zig zag around and see what you find. Whee, you can fly. Yeah! Like that.

Home again!

Just got back to San Diego. House is trashed and the spa was open and full of leaves. The twenty-something couldn’t understand why we were so annoyed with him, of course, and wanted things cleaned up “right now”. Hmm. Thought we had raised him better than that…

Oh well, we are home. Cleanup tomorrow.

Off to Phoenix



I’m off to Phoenix for a week to sort out family affairs. My disabled sister broke her leg and I need to make sure things are ok for her when she gets out of the rehab facility and back home. And my disabled nephew just moved into a new facility, so need to check on him too. Then of course might as well visit the boy in Tucson and my husband’s family…

Hopefully when I get back I’ll be inspired to post more often, once things are back in order….


The whole is in the seed.

A whole plant is contained in the seed.
An entire person is contained in an egg.
Every living thing in the world comes from seed.
And every living thing in the world dies and falls to the earth.
Bodies rot, only to feed the earth and release the seed.
That is true rebirth.

Tao is infinite.
It is a seed of unlimited circumference,
With its center any point in its boundless eternity.
Tao is a tiny seed,
Containing unlimited universes in its dimensionless center.

The seed is the whole of what we want to know.
The seed is the center.
The seed is the source.
And the source is the whole of Tao.

Deng Ming Dao, Everyday Tao


There’s not really any word to describe having children other than miraculous. If you think about them being your seeds, yet becoming so fully their own person, it is an amazing thing. Out of all the thousands of eggs, the millions of sperm, two little bits collided and joined and became this wonderful person.

That’s how I see my kids, how I wish other people would see theirs. If we looked at it the right way, they would all be too precious and wonderful to waste in wars or allow to live in poverty. We would care for them all as best we possibly could.

If Tao is the seed for everything, then all that comes from Tao is miraculous as well. How does something emerge from what seems to be nothing, and live and grow and reproduce itself? Life is an amazing thing, and all its creations are miraculous. We can study life scientifically and find out how some things work, but that fundamental life force eludes us, and that is Tao.

We get lost in our own little piece of the world, in the things that seem important to us from day to day. Yet in the long run, most of them are trivial. Does it matter if a report is done on time or not, really? Of course not. What matters is that moment spent watching a child, the moment spent admiring a flower, the moment spent gazing into the eyes of someone you love and seeing yourself reflected in their gaze. Those are the things of real value, the things that lead us to wonder and awe and understanding of Tao.

Look for the seed, and discover the entire beauty of what is around you, encompassing you, within you, is you yourself and everyone around you. Namaste.

Why Jesus tossed the moneychangers out of the temple

“The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest,” Goldman’s Griffiths said Oct. 20, his voice echoing around the gold-mosaic walls of St. Paul’s Cathedral, whose 365-feet-high dome towers over the City, London’s financial district. “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all.”

via Profit `Not Satanic,’ Barclays Says, After Goldman Invokes Jesus –


“Naked I came into the world, but brush strokes cover me, language raises me, music rhythms me. Art is my rod and staff, my resting place and shield, and not mine only, for art leaves nobody out. Even those from whom art has been stolen away by tyranny, by poverty, begin to make it again. If the arts did not exist, at every moment, someone would begin to create them, in song, out of dust and mud, and although the artifacts might be destroyed, the energy that creates them is not destroyed.”
– Jeanette Winterson

via Whiskey River

“Artifacts are the physical manifestation of dreams, ideas, and great deeds … some point to successes, some point to great mistakes.” — Bruce Wells

“Perhaps we will learn how small differences in the code of life enabled us — but not chimpanzees — to cook soufflés, create symphonies, translate our own voyages into maps, build ever more complicated artifacts, and write plays that reflect the social intricacies of our lives,” — Marc Hauser

“The muddy waters roiled by Katrina have no doubt flooded some legendary musical locales and wiped out irreplaceable artifacts of New Orleans music. Among the hardest hit areas were the poverty-stricken African-American neighborhoods, where the New Orleans musical traditions are all but woven into the tattered but colorful fabric of everyday life. But the music of Crescent City as well as the people who create it — and the spirit, soul, originality, independence and distinctive locality of that art and the musicians who create it — cannot be washed away, no matter what the category hurricane or depth of flood. It’s going to take some time, but it will come back … We’ve got to put it back because it’s so involved with the local economy and the United States.” — Art Neville

I think for most of us our art is stolen away by what we perceive as our lack of time, the importance of our daily lives or the habits of our routines. Our culture doesn’t place a high priority on making time for art. And yet, many of us persist, with a bit of music, a snatch of song, even just a thought of what we might paint or draw or photograph if we got a moment. Taking the time to create those artifacts in the real world might be beyond us, but perhaps we can start to sneak it back in again, a tiny bit at a time. I love that our new gadgets and phones and toys are beginning to contain cameras, so we can record those fleeting moments that grab our attention. Perhaps next will be those ultra portable touch pads to sketch on, or ways to record our songs on the fly, or create spontaneous poetry slams as we perform and record our poetry wherever we like. Will our culture begin to value more creative work from all of us, let us weave it into the fabric of our daily lives, or just keep honoring the few who can successfully make art their lives’ work?