The Tide of Tao

Midlife, Taoism

In Taoism, we practice living to potential. As the tide of Tao shifts: Potential increases. That increase in potential can be felt in your life. Everything starts shifting, in all sorts of ways from good and bad. While tides are predictable, the potential that follows the tides won’t always move logically in how it flows around you. For example, things will break when least expected, when pushing oneself too hard, since by pushing too you hard you also create the need for release.

The difference with the shifting of tides, the potential is shifting in ways that cannot be predicted by past lessons learned. The subtle shifts of potential create vast differences in how life can unfold. This is the time when a butterfly effect turns the breeze into a hurricane since potentials pile up in such a manner to amplify seemingly small effects.

Facing Negative Potential (Low Tides)

Negative potentials have been running high. People are sorting out from the series of social and financial tsunamis problems of the last few years. The reasons for the social/financial tsunamis are many, and it isn’t currently worth understanding all the reasons why they were set off. Honestly, think about it for a second: when you see a tidal wave, coming you don’t try to figure out why it is coming, you just get the fuck out of the way. Afterward, you have to take the time to heal and pick up the pieces. Otherwise, other problems can become worse by neglect.

For now, the problems have started from so long ago from actions deep in the past and the chain of events being released, are releasing more potential to still stir up problems.

The saying “It’s darkest before the dawn” comes to mind, but that saying is not right. Instead, it should read:

“We are most tired before the dawn”

The lesson to stress is this, is not to stress. Don’t let anxiety define life, Pull together to a higher spot, and get rest. Rest the spirit so later in a new morning light you are ready to act truly to the heart’s potential and to what you can see clearly in the light.

Knowing what is coming doesn’t make it “easier” for any person, knowing what is coming just means it’s possible to make a few smart moves to get to higher ground.

Worse still is: thinking you know! People mistake expectations to be knowledge. So let go of expectations, let go of thinking you know, when in reality we don’t and can’t know exactly what is coming our way yet. Good advice for facing low tides / bad times is to simplify and rest so you can work later with what higher tides bring your way in life.

This truly is a time of great potential, but to activate great potential, means getting into position to use that potential.

Sensing Changing Tides

We will notice shifts in life tides acutely in our relationships. First, we might have relationship turmoil, things breaking unexpectedly, connections out of the blue, whimsical coincidences that seem improbable, occur more frequently. It’s a time to listen to one’s life to better flow with your own life.

Dealing With Change

As the song goes “Times are a Changing”. So how is this any different than any time before today? Quite simply the answer is this:

We are living it 🙂 now.

To assist in your choices practice awareness. This will help you flow with life, rather than get caught in a riptide against your nature.

This isn’t a time to watch the larger world or news: instead, this is a time to pay closer attention to the home. Our home is always a reflection of the larger universe. Our inner life always contains all the connections needed to reach out. So now, here, pay close attention to look inward to home. Looking outwards means to miss what is transitioning now, inside your heart.

Julie and I are now taking time to simplify, not to push, but be strong in life. Slowing down into our hearts.  Change is always most subtle at the start of the process, but the most profound truths are to be had now, in the pause, as the tide of tides now starts to shift again.

The Tides of East vs. West

A Taoist’s Perspective:

Receding back into a sea
Towards the depths
To float into
a breath

… tao …

a breath
To float out
upon an eternal moment
Walking upon flowing waters of life.

The Western Materialistic Perspective

Fighting against a tide.
to stay on top
of the depths
while sinking

The desire is to have a perfect moment, to express a turn of phrase to un-twist a twisted life, to make everything OK. This is an eternally missing part of our own poem which is life, the missing emptiness where we all desire to write magic within. Instead, it feels as if everything breaking, life, family, hopes, desires, dreams. The initial reaction might be to embrace tighter these familiar flotation devices of family, poetry, science, religion, exercise… all to build upon the supposedly solid ground. All in a vain attempt to hold on to something, so as not to get lost in the seas of eternity. Perhaps to build something so high, so never to lose one’s bearings, no matter how far one wanders. This letting go, is not the tide; instead it’s a false tide. The first and last warning given before an incoming upcoming terrible tsunami of emotions. It will come, smashing back in upon freight trains of waves, destroying all structures, to wash back to the sea anything that dares to stand against it. To reveal everything just written: is the same as so much garbage, floating in the sea as a plastic coke can connectors strangling the sea turtles and seals down, down into the depths of the sea.

The point, as a point, must exist, right? All of this has nothing to do with me, but still, a desire exists to make this all about me. This is the empty space, the point of focus of life. So people assume it must be filled, have something. So we busily fill it up with words, actions or entertainment. All getting jammed into a hollow space, into that point, to expand it out and trying to make it feel worthwhile. This is the place where people whine and dine upon their very soul to fill “ourselves” up with “ourselves” to be more. To be so big, that a person can stand upon the floor of the sea and still be tall enough to break the surface to breathe safely. Then only to flounder as there never is a sea floor to stand upon,  since it wasn’t even an ocean to begin with, and then it all gets lost.

To rush out
of the unknown
into known qualities
Of being back in the fray
Working towards the expectation
just to make it one more day, to tomorrow.

My Perspective

I accept the Taoist point of view, but I also have lived in the West long enough to understand the Western viewpoint.

But this illustrates why people have so much trouble understanding the Tao:

Accept and you become whole,
Bend and you straighten,
Empty and you fill,
Decay and you renew,
Want and you acquire,
Fulfill and you become confused.

The West tries to fulfill with knowledge, and then it becomes a hard path trying to lose all those lines upon lines upon words upon words of description and experience when the larger answer is as simple as a breath. The West concentrates on the ten thousand things, while a Taoist simply accepts the Tao.


Tide of emotions
Joy to sadness to Joy
These tides sweep
body mind spirit
Where thoughts ache and relax
to pinpricks of pure joy
wrapping caresses of absolute sadness

Being alive ejaculates in being awashed
It’s unpredictable tumbling
of ever-receding waves
Feelings mixed to chaotic elements of
sand, air, water, fire of life,
tumult… and … strangely, calmness

A moment between the tides
Finding peace not within the calm
rather within the tumult to come

To be awashed in joy
is so simple
the answer being…

Have to go now
not to embrace, rather to go …
dancing sleepingly
dancing in thoughts
Chasing waves not to catch
in fingers to only feel
passing moments
Chasing in tumbling
swirling and moving in time

To feel the tumult
To be the tide

Nature of Tides

What is the tide? It isn’t an object in itself. Give it a name: Tide, and it becomes distinct due to the name. The tide is not a thing. The tide is an effect: felt but when grasped only the water touches us back. The true nature of tide isn’t the water; it’s a mixture of processes related within a dance. It’s the moon and earth swinging. It’s the sun adding tempo with storms and wind. The water merely flows with the pulling and pushing of gravity, piling up in the beat of what we call the “Tide”.

The Tao is a tide of tides.

Harmony with the Tao means flowing with all the various forces connecting everything seemingly invisible yet still measurable in relative effects.

Whenever describing the Tao, I have discovered the need to use different terms for each person. Everyone is awash in their own tumult. Even for myself, I developed a personal language which helps me come to terms with my nature. I spent years creating journals, poetry, and art, all to document my experiences. Once capturing snapshots of living within my writing, it became possible to step out and recognize my nature, to witness my stumbling, swirling and tumbling-about from event to event.

I have been a Taoist my entire life; however, the ironic twist was I didn’t understand the Tao until coming full circle to accept myself first. Over time, I learned to flow with the ups and downs of life, to embrace both the sad and happy moments. This became a lesson: that living itself was a tide of emotions sweeping thru my blood. Once accepting this ever-shifting beat of my nature, it became possible to understand more than myself.

Some points to consider:

  • The first step in touching the Tao is very simple: It’s accepting we are connected within a larger web of the world.
  • Understanding a single thing as an item, as a name is knowledge. Knowledge in this form, as a static definition, will be subjected to the erosion of time.
  • Understanding the nature of something is not a matter of knowledge, but a process of embracing and releasing in cycles. The embracing itself is a tidal process, ever the same, yet ever-shifting.
  • Our understanding is never perfect; it will flow in and out. This is very important; trying to hold on to one single understanding leaves only fossils. Understanding must evolve to change with the meanderings of a life.
  • Understanding the larger world begins with flowing with the natural patterns of your own life.

The process of living creates a world of change. Know the Tao, as the tide of tides, unexpectedly shuffles everyone around with change. Hence, a Personal Tao starts with the acceptance of a tidal balance between our inner and outer worlds.

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Live life kindly, gracefully, with modesty while embracing a colorful story to enjoy!

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Nice very nice

This time I will keep it simple.
I feel the connection through out your words.
La manera que Escribes es clara y precisa, facil de asimilar.! The way you write is clear and precise, easy to assimilate.
Thank-you for that.

Namaste. <3

Thank you for this…it's true, once you look one can find clarity in the swirl of seeming chaos right there at home, and to pay attention and read the signals, take time to breathe through it…we are just part of a larger pattern but have the ability to recognize that there IS a pattern.

It's now in the reflux of tide, we take pause and look inward, so to be ready to truly surf in harmony with the waves that will follow.

Pause and breathe we have time to do so still. To then position oneself strongly within your life rather than worry about what is outside and beyond the wave we are about to ride.

This is truly time to be in the moment of your life my friend.

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