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?'

Thursday, June 01, 2006

In Defence of the Fool.

Today my latest article to get published in LivingNow magazine, “Inner Master, Inner Fool”, hits the streets. To say that it is a privilege and an honour to be getting published on such a regular basis would be an understatement – it is one of those wonderful sweet things in life where all the years of ups and downs seem to have suddenly revealed a purpose, and I am very, very grateful for the gift.

The article itself is about a technique I came up with to help ‘resist’ temptation – a Taoist way – resisting without resisting. Apologies to those who cannot access the print article. I will reinstate it online once June has been and gone. Speaking of which, I will be uploading all of the old Living Now articles to the web soon, as well as a ‘best of’ The Contemporary Taoist (blog).

In Defence of the Fool.

Since writing “Inner Master, Inner Fool”, I have been doing a lot of reading into the Tarot and have been struck by the power of the archetype of the first card in the major trumps - the Fool. It occurred to me as I read up on his journey through life as it is illustrated through the cards, that the Fool is indeed a Taoist himself. He perfectly fits the mold. He is not clever. He is innocent. He appears to the world to be stupid – and yet this is where his inherent power lies.

After reading about the guy, I realised that in my article I gave the Fool a bit of a bad rap. I basically blamed him for the wanton desires that plague us humans and cast him as the ‘bad guy’.

This has turned out to be quite amusing, because as I have moved further along my path since writing the article, I have swung back from a period of focusing on ‘control’ (after a period of lack of self-discipline) to a more balanced recognition that there is no more joy in becoming a stiff than there is in being a total waste-oid.

We must keep the Fool in us alive for it is this part of us that tastes life – both the sweet and the sour. If we completely stifle the Fool, we stifle the child in ourselves, and this is a path to unhappiness and boredom.

My point is that while we must keep the Fool under control, and not let his sense of abandon overwhelm us or cloud our good judgment, we must also cut ourselves a little slack. The ingredients for happiness include a generous spoonful of spontaneity as well as a pinch of self-denial. As the Buddha taught – the middle path is the wisest road to follow.

So having said this – it is a new month! I have a running project happening each month where I come up with a new habit, working off the theory that it takes about 21 days to form a new habit. In April I decided to form the habit of not getting too drunk too often :) which has worked quite well (although admittedly I have had some ‘fun’ finding the balance ... with the result that I have decided to give beer a miss for a while, in favour of a red wine here or there, as beer tends to get me revved up and a little too woo-woo for the greater good ... crazy Celtic genes, you see).

In May I formed the habit of reciting my positive affirmations aloud each day. This was surprisingly easy to implement (once I hit on the idea of doing them in my car on the way to work) and has been proving at the very least a fantastic psychological booster.

So what new habit for June? I have decided to go with developing the habit of writing AT LEAST 500 words a day (no matter how busy I otherwise am) in order to get my novels happening. They took a bit of back seat the last couple of months, which was fine as I was getting the column happening, but now I want to refocus on my number one goal – which is to become a full-time published author. So be it.

Flow Like Water...

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