Qin. Diligence, labor. On the bottom of the symbol is the character for “strength” (showing a muscle in its sheath).

One cannot go far in this life without diligence.

It is useless to argue: this life is one of suffering.

Nothing can be done except through our efforts.

Disasters hit all of us without meaning or explanation. Wars are constant around the globe. Family members abuse and exploit one another. Hard work is often rewarded with betrayal. The government is a haven for those who would oppress others. Despite the great wealth of information, ignorance is ever present. Money is used for selfish gains and not to help others. Spiritual leaders are often shown to be hypocrites. Homelessness is rampant. Most people do not have enough to eat. Those who have enough eat more than their share. We spend our lives looking for love, only to find bitterness. We pin our hopes to distant dreams that never materialize. We listen to teachers who tell us to work hard, only to find that the world has changed by the time we leave school. We hurt ourselves with self-doubt, low self-esteem, and slavery to desires.

Prophets disappoint us, priests befuddle us, teachers deceive us, bosses exploit us, parents reject us, spouses desert us, children are taken from us, and at the end, it is just us, staring at the grave.

This life is one of suffering. Those who don’t know how to suffer are the worst off. Those who follow Tao know that there are times when things will be very difficult. That is the time to be diligent. There are times when the only correct thing we can do is to bear our troubles until a better day.

Deng Ming Dao, Everyday Tao


Well, that was depressing. I haven’t read the news yet today; I hope this isn’t a sign of troubles there.

I’ve been through my share of troubles lately. Personal depression, the death of my mother, dealing with her estate and my disabled sister and nephew, my niece’s death last week, my cat has a tumor and probably won’t last much longer. There are many troubles in life we all have to deal with. Having the strength to get through them is important.

Having someone to rely on has helped me get through troubled times. I guess that’s why a lot of people are religious, to rely on their god, which is really their own inner strength in disguise. For me, there were times I doubted my inner stregth and couldn’t find it. I was lucky to have someone beside mew to hold me up when I wasn’t strong enough by myself. I hope now I can be like that for others. Sometimes just that simple “We’re going to get through this” is all you can do, but it’s enough.

I guess that’s how I feel about things in this country right now. We’ll get through it, and I think people will find the strength to last through the coming darkness of the next few years. Yes, as bad as we think things may be, they are about to get much worse. Sorry, folks. The good news is that in surviving and rebuilding things again, they will get much, much better. We’re going to find new hope and strength in this country again. But it will be a difficult battle for the soul of this country, probably the worst since the Civil War. Read The Fourth Turning if you want to understand better what’s going on. An awesome book, and a great help to getting through the next few years, I think.

Me, I’m turning to Tao. I plan to find my strength in the natural world, living smaller and smarter, and helping others to stay healthy and strong. I hope to reconnect people to the life cycle, to looking beyond their own lives and caring for those around them, restrengthening community bonds and personal bonds. We will find our strength in each other to pull us all through. And I hope to be one of those big, strong, anchors to help people avoid being tossed by the strong tides that are coming. That is my hope, anyway.

What will you do? Please share your thoughts…