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?'

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Tao of Perspective

Had a rip roarin' time last night - and whoops! What was that? That was my 'three drinks rule' flying out the window!

Mind you it's the first time I've been tipsy in seven weeks and I was home and sobered up by one am. Not exactly hardcore behaviour.

This brings me to a point that I haven't yet made about goals setting: go lightly on yourself! When you drop the ball - and you will - keep it all in perspective. Don't beat yourself up, chances are you are doing much better than if you were not setting any goals at all. Plans are guides not law. The Tao will unfold as it sees fit, don't hold on too tightly to your preconceived notions. Flow with the moment. Take the path of least resistance.

Let's use the analogy of a high jumper. I have no idea how high those cats jump in reality but say you were an average high jumper, only able to leap two meters in the air, but you wanted to be able to jump ten meters high and really blow some minds in the high octane world of the international high jumping scene.

Hmmm ... I used the word 'high' six times in that last paragraph. Probably not the best writing technique ever - but this is a post-on-the-fly...

Anyway - so you set yourself some goals and you get to work. You decide that you will need to practice five days a week for five hours. You do this well for several weeks - but then you have a 'bad' week and only manage to get a measly three hours high jumping practice in on Monday, and none at all on Tuesday and Wednesday. You get it together and do all five hours practice on Thursday, but then something comes up and you do nothing on Friday.

Should you berate yourself, feel horrible and call yourself a useless, inconsistent, spineless wannabe?

Of course not. Check out your progress dude! You're now jumping six and a half meters on a good day! That's amazing! If you hadn't set yourself goals you would probably still be bouncing a mere two meters like you had been for two years prior.

I use an interpretation (actually a complete recontextualisation) of the 80/20 rule (see wikipedia's definition). If you set really high goals, then only get 80% of them achieved within the allotted timeframe - then you should consider yourself successful.

And while I am on the subject of perspective, consider this: There are roughly 100 billion stars in the galaxy, and there are millions of galaxies in the universe. Given that there probably are other universes besides our own - how small does that make you in the grand scheme? And how significant are your problems compared to all the events occurring in all the Universes in the Tao? We are infinitesimal minute specks in an unknowably huge expanse of (comparatively) massive stuff. Your personal high jumping record doesn't seem worth getting to uptight about when looked at from that angle does it? Neither does mine.

You may have considered this before - but I like to remind myself of this whenever I am getting too wrapped up in my own day-to-day nonsense :)

Flow Like Water...

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Blogger frog philosopher said...

yes, moose! you are so right about being gentle with ourselves. the 80/20 idea is wonderful.

9:33 am


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