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?'

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Meditation Workshop This Saturday

Wow! So busy with many exciting projects right now that I don't have the time to write some stuff up here that I would like. Never mind, I'll get to that next week, but meanwhile I would just like to draw your attention to the fact that:

I am running a meditation workshop this Saturday 29th July, 2 - 4pm.

I really hope that if you live in Melbourne (Australia) you will choose to come along.

Address: Kundalini House, Level 1, 391 St Georges ROAD, Fitzroy North
Victoria 3068

Cost: $30 or $50 with a meditation CD to take home. Give me a call or just rock up

Seamus - 0413 414 620

Click the green banner above and/or the link just below for more details :) See you there!

Flow Like Water...

Join me for a meditation workshop!

Download my free music here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Yay for dopamine!" Are we hot wired for addiction?

This article on addiction suggests that not only are we biologically inclined to seek pleasure (and thus sometimes get addicted, or at least suffer from craving) but that this fact is partly responsible for humanity's "success" as a species.

Further, the quote below also plays up to my growing theory that for "cravers" (as opposed to hard-core addicts), solutions to the issue of wanting too much of the "good stuff" may be controllable through self-awareness. I certainly know that the periods whereby I manage to keep my rabid appetites at bay are facilitated by certain positive mind games, meditation, and close self-scrutiny of feelings and desires, and the motivation that lies behind these urges:

"'It's been found that people are much more likely to crave the use of substances when they're tired, when they're hungry, when they're in a negative mood. That is partly because they believe the substance will alleviate their despondency but it's also sometimes because they're not clearly introspecting about what the nature of their discomfort is,' he says.

People can believe they're craving one substance or activity, but are really confused and need something else.

'It's a misunderstanding of what's going on internally with your motivation,' he (David Kavanagh) said.

So when you think you need a coffee, you might actually need some sleep or food. Kavanagh says that if you're craving something, the worst thing you can do is try not to think about it. It might sound a little strange, but he says the best way to beat a craving is to not focus on it too much, but just let your attention wander over it and eventually it will move to something else."

Just remember - don't be too hard on yourself. consciously try not to beat yourself up about the things you do!.

Flow Like Water...

Join me for a meditation workshop!

Download my free music here.
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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Update re: Force Refresh...

I recently posted about my need to give my life a "Force Refresh". At the time I actually thought that this was mostly going to relate to my 'career' and therefore be relevant to this blog, but actually as it turns out, the big changes I needed to make were more concerned with my private life so no real need to report on those things here.

So essentially, after all my worrying that I had too many projects on the go, I have still kept them all alive and dropped none. This is about the hundredth time this has happened! I just can't let my little babies go! I have totally re-realised that I need to get busy with my music (as per the sign from the Universe) and indeed have squeezed my skinny white arse onto the bill at this gig for the Wilderness Party (although I was late getting involved so I seem to be absent from the actual promo page - but you may sleep well tonight my friends, safe in the knowledge that I am on the email flyer!). I have also as of yesterday begun jamming with my old mate Tony: Yep! We are startin' one o' them new-fangled electricical bay-ands like!

I have a new article coming out in LivingNow magazine (the companion monthly print column to this blog) in August called 'The Way of Retreat'. It is about the Taoist concept of wu wei and how we can use it in the workplace.

And coming up really soon (Saturday 29th July) is the first ever Rebel Zen 'Embrace Meditation' workshop! Click the links for details and please come along. I have had quite a number of enquiries so I am hoping it will turn out to be a nice couple of hours at the beautiful Kundalini House in North Fitzroy.

Speaking of which, I have to spend some time today preparing for this so "bye for now!!!"

Flow Like Water...

Join me for a meditation workshop!

Download my free music here.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Tao of Sex

One Simple Trick to Supercharge Your Sex Life.

I just read this very frank, brave post here from Steve Pavlina about Sex.

Some really pertinent points, especially about the tendency of your sex life to mirror the state of the rest your life. I have found this be very true.

If Steve had the comments function turned on, I would advise him to shy clear of the swinging, but that's just me. Fidelity is a very powerful relationship glue. If it ain’t broke, why mess with it? But then what the heck do I know about his situation beyond the information he has given. Further, what do I really want to know?

Urggh... It is easy to see why I usually steer clear of posting about sex. Yeesh! The funny thing is, one of the search terms that brings the most traffic to this blog is for the "Tao of Sexology" some book that I once linked to but forget now. I can't even be bothered Googling it to make a link here - but I have had a lot of experience trying out Taoist lovemaking techniques and they are in fact very effective. The proponents of these techniques allow their instructions to get a bit complicated though, when really the only actual 'secret' is that there is one simple trick to it all.

Fellas, here is how to supercharge your love-life in one simple easy step:

Save Your Sperm.

Practice NOT ejaculating every time you have sex. That is not to say never blow your load again, but lay off the masturbation and try cutting back to cumming every second, then every third time you have sex. You will thus open the doors to a whole world of fun, and your lady (or man) friend will respect you as the rock solid super-stud you always knew you were! What's more, you will discover, not just hers, but YOUR potential to have multiple orgasms.

And if you are having trouble with, you know, rising to the occasion, then take it from someone whose been there and "come" out a winner ... lay off the booze and drugs for a while, de-stressify yourself somehow, and DON'T cum for several days at least before your next roll in the hay, and then when the big moment arrives, RELAX.

Chances are that'll sort you out mate ;)

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Countdown to Force Refresh

Not much posting from me this week as I am waiting for the dust to settle before I force-refresh my life.

Meanwhile, if you don't have my problem of having too many ideas then here is a helpful post about a post about a book that might help you come up with ideas.

If you read my comment you will see that my problem is a what to do with an overflowing head-full of copious inspiration without getting bored and bogged down by the other 99% perspiration factor. Bah! Ideas anyone?

Flow Like Water...

Join me for a meditation workshop!

Download my free music here.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tao of Fear-Based Ego-Identification

Self-Acceptance vs. Personal Growth

This article just rocked my world. Not because I have never heard or taken aboard this advice, but because I suddenly realised that I was doing exactly what I have learned before is unwise to do - overly identifying with the external fatcors in my life (relationships, career, etc) and thereby defending the status-quo from a fear-based desire to hold on to the things I 'have'.

Not smart! Sneaky ego - getting in my ear and leading me astray. Back! I command thee - back!

Never mind, back to the meditation cushion, re-connect with the true source of Joy...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Force Refresh Your Life - Is It Time for Big Change?

As much as Contemporary Taoism is about going with the flow, there also comes a time when you have to admit that things in your life have gotten a little stagnant and do something about that. I am in such a position now, but rather than clog up this blog with personal stuff (something I have been guilty of in the past) I would rather suggest strategies for deciding to do a "force refresh" on your life.

•Pay Attention to Gut Feelings:

If you are doing things because you think you should or because it would be the “clever” thing to do, but you have a strong tension in your guts, or a voice in your head (providing it is a reasonably sane one!) telling you otherwise, pay heed to this. Often it is your Higher-Self or your intuition telling you that you are on a less-than optimal track. Often we get these subtle hints but fail to listen or even to notice them, and then only realise that we are heading in the “wrong” (for want of a better word – nothing is really right or wrong) direction when really obvious repercussions arise.

•Ask for Advice:

Needless to say, from people you respect. For example I have been struggling a lot lately with having too many half-baked projects on the go but a strong desire to hold on to them all, to pursue them all. I decided to ask my girl’s father, a world-wise man indeed, and he gave me his opinion that it is best to choose a couple of things that are working already (as in the projects that seem to have taken on a life of their own and are most obviously leading the pack) and run with that. Very Taoist! He also said to write down the other ideas and put them aside for later.

•Listen to the People Around You:

As in – if the closest people in your life (your life-partner, work colleagues, best friend, etc.) are telling you that you might like to consider giving your life a shake-up, at least listen to them in a fair way. You don’t HAVE to take their advice, and heavens knows being able to deliberately tune out to nay-sayers is an important skill, but then again, sometimes these people know you better than you think. Again, if somebody you respect is offering advice give it consideration at least.

•Consult the Oracles:

As in the I Ching or the Tarot or whatever oracle style you prefer. I personally love both of the afore mentioned, especially the I Ching. For example, this morning I was deciding whether to go with my gut feelings and cancel a current project and I consulted the I Ching, asking if this was the way to go. It gave me a response of Hexagram 35: Jing (progress, advancement – rapid and easy change, reward, recognition, promotion) with an omen rating of “Good Omen”.

Voila! Decision made.

Now whether or not you recognise and thus respect the advice of such oracles is another discussion, but if you do (and I believe you would be wise to) then it is fantastic in such a situation. After all the I Ching is called the Book of Changes for a reason!

•Ask for a Sign:

Similar to consulting an Oracle, this is a technique that I only recently learned (from my boss, Elizabeth Stephens at LivingNow magazine). It simply involves asking for an obvious sign to come into your life, and defining what this sign will mean. You can be specific (“a red rubber ball will appear within the next two days which will mean X), or more general.

This worked spectacularly well the other day for me. I was considering this whole “too many projects” thing, and then sat down to meditate. I had recently decided to give my music a back-seat status as I thought it would be ‘cleverer’ to go with some other projects, but since then I have been more full of desire to play and sing than ever, and in fact have had a personal inspirational renaissance, realising that I have been unconsciously working up a new style over the last year or two which suits me greatly. So my gut feeling was telling me that it was a “mistake” to shelve the music and in fact it should take a more prominent role in my life again. I asked for a sign to either confirm this or to dissuade me, whichever the Universe saw as the wiser decision.

I then finished my meditation, and as it was late, I decided to go to bed. I was for some reason assuming that I would no doubt receive my sign the next day – my thoughts were quite focussed on the sign appearing “tomorrow”. Then I walked into the bedroom and turned on the light and WHOA! There next to my pillow was an old guitar – in a spot where there had never been a guitar before. It was so unexpected that as the light turned on I was really quite surprised to see it there – it stuck out like a sore-thumb. And further, I noticed the name on this old guitar (just a cheap one we found lying on the road once, not my proper guitar) for the first time – and it was ... Nashville – which totally summed up the Johnny Cash-esque direction my music has been moving in.

I doubt this ‘sign’ will sound as amazing to you as it did to me at the time – but it was an extremely profound moment, and I instantly had no doubt that the Universe had spoken.

So there you go – some very effective ways to decide that you need (or do not need) to do a “force refresh” on your life, as I have. Of course I could have mentioned boring but tried-and-tested methods like do a Pros and Cons list or whatever, but I prefer to use more cosmic methods myself. If you aren’t very in touch with your intuition or Higher Voice then I would encourage you to learn to meditate. It develops this skill, as does yoga and tai chi etc., which are just moving meditations anyway.

I have now made some pretty major decisions, and will be back to describe the changes I have made/will make in my life as soon as I have found a way to write about them without boring the world with a self-indulgent ramble about myself and the blue lint that collects in my belly-button if you know what I mean. Until then...

Flow Like Water...

Join me for a meditation workshop!

Download my free music here.
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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Top Ten Signs You Are A-OK

1) You aren't a puritanical health-nut, but sometimes you have a go at it (or at least fantasize about it).

2) You experience mood swings, sometimes wild ones, and have been known to completely lose it from time to time.

3) You sometimes, or consistently, do things that might be considered (by the puritanical) to be "unhealthy", but which undoubtedly bring you great pleasure.

4) You sometimes worry about the future.

5) You don't always worry about the future enough to "prepare" for it as much as some say you should.

6) You sometimes do things you later regret.

7) You are sometimes very lazy and un-motivated.

8) You have an intense desire to love a significant other.

9) You have an intense desire to loved by a significant other (and by everyone else too).

10) You have intense desires.

How did you score?

Whatever you score, you pass :)

Flow Like Water...

Join me for a meditation workshop!

Download my free music here.
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Sunday, July 02, 2006

How to do a Quick Meditation for Relaxation and Stress Relief

Sometimes I just want to do a quick ten minute meditation for the purposes of slowing down my mind, relieving stress, and briefly putting aside the details of my busy life. Here's a method I use that I find quite successful.

Counting Backwards Meditation

Sit on a chair or if you prefer lie on your back or sit cross-legged. Make sure you are comfortable and that your back is reasonably straight, shoulders square, chest open, head at a natural angle (looking straight ahead). Hands resting comfortably by your sides (if reclining) or in your lap or on your knees if sitting.

Now start counting your breaths backwards from twenty to zero, like this:

"In twenty...
Out twenty...
In nineteen...
Out nineteen..."

And so on...

The technique of counting each in breath and out breath backwards should be just hard enough that you need to concentrate (ie., it's not so automatic that you can do it while your mind wanders) but not so hard as to be a brain-strain! This balance between relaxing the mind and just letting it think randomly should facilitate a fairly speedy descent into a relaxed state of mind. Of course, thoughts will still pop into your mind, but just try to observe them without judgment - don't get upset with yourself. The object of meditation is not to stop thinking, that is a common misconception.

By the way, breath naturally, or if you know how, use your diaphragm to breath a little deeper than usual. Pay attention to the quality of your breathing as you do the exercise; does it slow down as you relax? Do your breaths get deeper? Or do you breath from a shallow place, from your chest? Do you associate breathing with stress or with relaxation?

By the time you have counted each inhalation and exhalation back to zero, you will hopefully have relaxed quite a bit. Then spend the rest of the ten minutes sitting and focusing on the breath, letting thoughts float through your mind without paying much attention to them or actively pursuing them.

If you find it difficult to relax - don't fret! Meditating can take a while to get a handle on but with practice it gets easier to relax more efficiently. Every meditation is a good meditation - even when you find it hard to calm the mind, the practice of just sitting down doing nothing for ten minutes helps your mental and physical health.

Flow Like Water...

Join me for a meditation workshop!

Download my free music here.
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Tao of Planning to Have Fun

I know I just linked to Steve Pavlina the other day, but I really got a lot out of his new article. His 'Planning for Enjoyment' model is a go-er I reckon, and it's posting very synchronistic for me as I am about to review my plans.

I need to simplify my goals and plans, they are too crowded and I am trying to do too many things at once. While I don't think I'll ever be the kind of person who could be happy just doing one minute thing for extended periods of time (i.e. just have one project) I DO need to cull some of the excess half-baked ideas/projects that are crowding up my headspace. It is always a little difficult, because I love all of my projects like children, but I am going to have to put some in the drawer for 'later on sometime'.

And if I must do this then I might as well take Steve's advice and plan to do stuff I really enjoy. There's something very Rebel Zen about the idea actually...

Flow Like Water...

Join me for a meditation workshop!

Download my free music here.

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