To be a Taoist means many things to many people. To be a practitioner of Contemporary Taoism simply means to have realised that we are all minute parts of an indescribably large Whole (the Tao), and to choose therefore to 'Flow Like Water' and live in a spontaneous, natural manner. This blog is about: Personal Growth / Spiritual Development as guided by the principles of Eastern Philosophy, particularly modern philosophical Taoism; Developing constructive habits and achieving success with minimal effort; Meditation - Taoist, Zen or otherwise. See 'What In Lao Tzu's Name is a Contemporary Taoist?'

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Thought for thinkers - The Boston Globe

Scientists have some remarkable new advice for anyone who is struggling to make a difficult decision: Stop thinking about it.

Hmmm, 'remarkable' advice this may be, 'new' it is not. Taoists have known this for centuries; this kind of mental approach is core to the philosophy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

SIGCHI Bulletin Vol.30 No.1, January 1998: Visual Interaction Design: The Orchestration Age

The fact that this was written in 1998, and is still as exciting now (centuries later in Internet terms!), is impressive. I think we are only just begining to see what the author predicts, and it will most certainly continue to become reality. I am actually surprised that the term 'The Orchestration Age' hasn't caught on more, it's quite a catchphrase, and one that quite neatly describes a very powerful idea - an idea that excites me no end! I really like the idea of being able to pump out movies, soundtracks, music, books, etc. etc. all from my study here in Melbourne - and we can!

SIGCHI Bulletin Vol.30 No.1, January 1998: Visual Interaction Design: The Orchestration Age

Ok, so it ain't strictly Taoism, but it is way,way cool.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Tao of Warm and Fuzzy

Well, I'm sleepy now after three days of work on the back of a rotten week long cold, but I want to send out some thank you's before hittin' the ol' hay.

Thanks to those at my old workplace (not that any of them are likely to ever read this blog, i don't bring it up much with the 'real' people in my life) for being cool about me having to move on so soon, and making it easy for me to do so without leaving any burning bridges behind me. And also for being a right interesting bunch of characters who made me smile a heap.

Thanks to my girl, friends, adopted cousins, and to Melbourne in general for the lovely, cultural summer arvos and nights over the last week.

Thanks to Kayla, from snowbound Boulder, Colorado for the amazing email that put me in such a great place before heading off to start my new job this morning.

Thanks to the intense rush-hour traffic for bringing me back down to earth again before I got to the new office!

And thanks to the two grand trees that stand in the park near the new office for helping calm me down again.

And thanks for the new office, and the lovely crew inside it - for letting me swing the funky G-Tube!

And thanks to Blogmandu for the Blogisattva Award Nomination for 'Best Achievement in Skillful Writing'. Cool!

And most off all, thanks again to my girl, who also never reads this, and who I really am totally in love with still after five sweet years, for being so patient with me and my self-absorbed, writin', readin', housework-resenting, bill-payment-avoiding, turn-that-darn-stereo-down-I'm-trying-to-think-here ways.

Flow Like Water...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Information Ecology

The Node and the Flow.

A very cool article (although badly edited) that serves to further illuminate the nature of Tao.

Not that we will ever understand fully ... or will we?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tao of Rest

I am not particularly inclined towards the mystical, you know, the supernatural side of things. Well, I am in entertainment (novels, movies, etc.), but what I mean is I am a bit cynical about the trippier side of esotericism. I actually wonder why some people are so obsessed with seeking the 'miraculous', something more than what we see every day, when what we see every day is too amazing to even comprehend.

But despite this, there are times when I am reminded that to be purely cynical would be as foolish as to buy into every whimsy out there. Take for example my appreciation for the I Ching. How is it that this oracle can be so spot on so many times? I don't know, but it is uncanny.

This morning I have woken up on the first of three days off, having just completed a number of major projects, and the world is my oyster: no deadlines, no pressing business, no urgency. A truely wonderful state of affairs for a creative dude like me - I can write what I want, sing what I want! BUT, I have gone and caught myself a flu. Great.

Unable to focus on anything much, I asked the ol' I Chinger what I should do today. The answer?


How can it be that a numerical system gets it right time after time?

I don't know, but thank heavens for small miracles. I'm off to read a book in bed.

Flow Like Water...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Everything Is Appropriate

Just as above you is the Macrocosm, a massive spiralling universe, far too huge to even idly comprehend, so too within you is a microcosm. This microcosm reaches and descends within you to the most finite level, and then beyond measurement. On top of this, every other 'cosm' of whatever size or description (a hair, another person, a distant star) has it's own microcosm descending within, and it's own perspective on the macrocosm in which it is suspended.

So it is obvious from this that the concerns of a single human individual do not count for much at all. Yes, that's right. The often harrowing emotional pain and terrible physical misfortunes that eventually befall all humans to some degree, mean not a blip to the massive massive universe as a whole. And then, to really push the point, if these issues are so insignificant in comparison to the universe that we know, consider then their significance in the larger macrocosms that our universe must surely be a minute part of...And so on......

If I were to put a skewer in your eye right now, you would not be very impressed at all. You would, from your perspective, consider my actions to be both 'wrong' and 'bad'. Wrong in that it seems right to you that I should leave your eye in peace rather than in pain; and Bad in that having both eyes in working order is a situation that you see as being 'Good'(i.e. useful and not painful). But, in reality, all of these events are only true to the universe in terms of energy exchange. All things are comprised of the single component - Energy. All matter is understood to be comprised of pure energy moving around perpetually in an infinite dance. Maintaining a balance; Yin attracted to Yang; and all in abhorrence of a vacuum. So, in terms of the Universe, or more accurately the Tao(the Unknowable Hugeness of All Things), when some unfortunate human being's eye gets poked out by some skewer wielding freak, all that happens is that an amount of configurated energy gets moved around. Arm energy moves skewer energy towards and into eyeball energy, eyeball energy falls out. Eye socket energy bleeds a lot and the vacuum left by the removed eyeball gets quickly filled up with air energy. TO THE TAO THIS IS NOT A MORAL ISSUE. This is why 'God lets bad things happen to good people'.

On the positive side, this is why you have the opportunity to free yourself from the mental traps of your social conditioning. Not that this is always an easy thing to do. Obviously most people never do. When your car breaks down and your back hurts and its hot and your' going to be late for work and your boyfriend just left you all in the same day, it can sure make you feel like the whole universe is against you. But it's not...The Universe is impartial. To the Tao, things simply are what they are, no more. No morality, no expectations, no judgment. So if, when under duress, you remind yourself of this (perhaps after a nice healthy tantrum), you can automatically relax. You are able to relax because you realize that none of it really matters, and that no preconceived idea you have about life is verifiable, and that the way your society taught you to respond to situations is completely arbitrary. Therefore you can, theoretically(!), choose to be happy at any given moment.

No matter what your current personal circumstances, it is important to remember that in an impartial universe, all things are exactly as they are meant to be at any given moment. If you doubt this, then observe nature; is the Tiger remorseful for killing the gentle Deer? Never.

The art of blending opposites.

Looking at Alchemical I was reminded of an issue I have been pondering ... and then not pondering, which is more effective ... but anyway ...

The issue is my taste (or lack of) for both Eastern philosophy, meditation etc., and ... wait for it ... horror stories (movies, novels etc.).

Not just horror actually, but also crime (or 'mystery' depending on where you live) and the like.

Opposites. The morbid/macarbe and the feel-good.

I am going to repost an old essay I wrote for you to ponder, and then after I have actually done my uni assignment (procrastination 101) I may write some more on the topic.

Or I may not. Thinking is over-rated.


Flow Like Water.

Musin' and Ramblin'

I have nothing to say, so I'll hand it over to some other blogging Taoists out there.

A Musing Taoist

The Rambling Taoist

Today I am the must-finish-assignment Taoist.

Flow Like Water...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Free I Ching reading online

My new favourite online I Ching.

Although I like to consult my favourite book for the reading itself.

Notes From Along The Way

Here's a nice Taoist inspired blog.

Good one!

Tao of Now - Part Two!

Make that a double-wow!

After the post below, I went off to see a mate's band and say 'see-you-soon' to a good friend who's moving away for a while*.

Heading out, I felt like it was my day right? Well, apparently it wasn't just me. I caught up with a few different cats, and realised that this year (and yesterday in particular) seems to be bursting with fresh, new, positive energy indeed.

There were people announcing that they were getting married; people announcing they were pregnant; people excited about starting new businesses; fresh starts of all kinds; good luck stories left, right and centre.

All in all, everyone seemed to agree that 2006 is already shaping up to be a real firecracker!

So get up, get out and give it a go, Dudes o' the Dao. Do less, achieve more. Concern yourself with service to others, and watch, smiling, as the pieces of your life fall into place, perfectly aligned.

Flow Like Water.

*Good luck Ula, meet you at the pirate ship!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tao of Now!

Wow, dudes, wow.

I have been having an amazing time of it lately. I have been busy, wanting to get a chance to blog, but too much going on.

Sometimes, life is all about putting out, everything seems to be sucking the energy away from you, and you seem to have no choice but to give. Then, things turn, just like that. I am glad to say (who wouldn't be?) that for the last while - in fact the whole summer really - things have been incoming, so to speak.

Let me take a moment to list some great stuff that has been going down in the Contemporary Taoist's world lately.

1) Okay, so first off, Living Now magazine published this blog's title article 'The Contemporary Taoist'. That in itself rocked my world.

2) Then a lovely lady from a pretty darn bona fide publishing house contacted me (via the editor of Living Now - which didn't exactly make me look bad!), saying she'd read the article and could she please read my novel.

How is that for out of this freakin' planet?

Let me tell you, from the viewpoint of a writer floatin' around in how-do-I-get-published-land, it is very very very exciting, no matter what the end result.

3) Then I get an email from a Canadian writer's co-op saying they liked my short story and may well be publishing it in a book they are putting together.

4) I got a High Distinction for my first university assignment.

5) My beautiful partner's father just up and buys us a piano! I have always wanted one!

6) I think briefly about asking Living Now if they need some help around the office and then get a group-mail email putting out the call for just that. So I rock up today, say g'day - and am absolutely stoked with the vibe. Just wonderful. I must have really wanted the job (for once) because I was actually nervous, which is not usually an issue for me.

They take time out for a staff meditation/chanting session - now that is my kinda work place!

7) Today I posted my work off to the publisher. That took a lot of work, and was a reward in itself, whatever the outcome (which I intend to be fabulous - of course!).

Doggone it; I could go on, but things to do.

I hope this all doesn't come across as a big, fat-headed gloat - I just needed to thank the Universe for all of the good things - and this is my way of doing it.

So Thank You, Beautiful Universe!

And may some joy and excitement come your way too my friend.

Flow Like Water

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tao of Internet Possibilities 2

See this is what I was talking about below - I just (compulsively) checked my web traffic stats before going to bed to see that somebody from the Netherlands (hello there) just spent 13 minutes checking this site out.

The Netherlands! That's a long way from Melbourne, Australia right?

I love it. Back when I was fresh out of school, in the early nineties when nobody we knew used the internet, we considered it an achievement if we heard that a friend of a friend listened to our demo tape or something in another Australian city. Times sure do change Robert Zimmerman!

Who Links Here