As a Taoist:
We are not our possessions, We are our life expressed in living.
Now compare this to the United States where possession is 9/10th of the law right? Follow this to where you can get sued, if someone else uses your property wrongly. As if in their misusing your property, it was your action which is the source of harm.
As a Materialist:
Property is not something unto itself but instead an extension of the owner…
The culture in the United States is in so many ways opposite to Taoist practice. I wonder how it will react as more people reject these silly laws to be simply themselves? Laws never define a person; instead, laws are defined by how we act and react to each other. Too bad many people seem to have lost sight of this fact.
Do you chase an America dream of material gain? If so do you accept the hidden price of being owned and then defined by the resulting laws of material gain over human needs?
Reminds me of the picture in the aftermath of the hurricane in New Orleans, where the national guard was protecting the consumer goods rather than helping those suffering in the streets in front of them. That is where the laws have taken people to within the US: Material goods are more important than human life.
The reason for this article is I was just talking to someone who almost got sued because someone else stole their car. The car thief crashed it and then could have been sued for leaving their car in position to be stolen and misused. It wasn’t the action of the thief to be punished for driving recklessly or for even stealing the car: Rather the officer and law were threatening the owner who let their car open to being stolen as being the transgression. In other words, the state will hold you responsible for your properties actions, not the person who committed the actual criminal actions. Kind of mind-blowing in the implications, in how people are merely legal extensions of their possessions.
We do not own anything, except by the laws which declare we are owned by the possessions we do covet.
How I am alone?
Every day I touch 233,623 other people.
People in ever increasing numbers
—- Inter-connecting out our stories—–
Witnessing feet: in a pair of Nike sneakers walking upon…
The spirit of 7 Indonesian children, unable to buy the shoes they sew.
Picking up and eating a peach, while holding…
Hands of 52 Migrant farmers harvesting the crop.
Typing poetry upon a computer as the hard drive spins…
235 souls turning as cogs assembling more computers.
Add up the numbers, discover a surprise
How quickly these connections trace around our planet
Everyone, each of whom likewise, reaching, reaching out
Caught in a vast web of economic dependencies
Till as a group we are all:
6 billion hungry people: eating a planet to bedrock
Showing that yes, each of us matters
That two feet are indeed the crest
of a wave 467,246 feet tall
In wave after wave after wave
Grinding Earth down
Wearing it down
To sand, within a pair of sneakers.
This was written in an exaggerated poetic flourish to illustrate that economically and realistically our footsteps do add up to much more than two feet. Action and lifestyle do matter; even seemingly small choices as buying a pair of shoes are reflected across an entire planet. The friction of these actions burn the very Earth: Earth is on fire. Look at the pictures from space, our little planet burns with the light of our own living fires!
To be alive is to be within this chain of life. Life pushes life about; life jostles; Life consumes, life devours life…
Is it wrong to kill? …
The ideas of right and wrong are moral choices, subject to the whims
of each individual life. Life consumes energy and life is energy, so its no surprise the chain of life reuses itself in consumption of expression.
… Or wrong to change the world?
Each and every life changes the world. Life is fire, to burn
by action means to consume and change the surrounding world.
The importance in Taoism is to understand when changing the world all actions of change echo back into ourselves.
The modern material culture is not in balance with nature. It might be economically cheap to use a slash and burn style of manufacturing (1), yet the hidden overhead price will be a burden of waste and disease. Adding to the problem is humanities habit of creating vast estates of toxic dumping grounds: simply by tossing trash (2) about. Unfortunately we are seeing the effects of this in our health today as it reflects back to create toxic human bodies. The roots of our cancer are directly tied to the lack of respect people show to the world and life around us.
Know nature always has a balance.
Nature’s accountants never use dollars in its balance sheet.
Nature’s currency is life itself.
For this reason all life is equal.
It’s possible to find a balance (even in a material culture), but without respect, humans live no differently than bacteria (3) trapped in a Petri dish: doomed to consume all resources and then perish within the waste by-products. So know the choice isn’t life itself, but our choice is one of lifestyle, expressing ourselves with or without respect.
To be alive means accepting involvement within the web of life. Removing ourselves from this web removes us from the basic interconnections which form our fundamental physical natures.
In the near future the most powerful will be those able to live simply.
1) Modern natural resource management: mines, strip mines, clear cutting, when you take something out of the land, the disturbance ripples out and affects all the life in the surrounding area. Each and every product a consumer buys will result in the death of some life somewhere on Earth, this is part of the price of getting that consumer product built and delivered for personal use. This statement is neither right nor wrong, it’s simply fact. We are all consumers, life touches life, life consumes to be alive and often times it’s harsh.
2) This habit is an expression of power, or marking territory. A person littering: throwing a bottle out over the river is saying
I have the power to throw my trash over you. Humans and trash are of a similar nature as a wolf piss marking a tree.
3) Humans are animals, and the second a person thinks humanity is higher than other life, becomes the defining point for a person to lose parts of their own human nature. Sadly bacteria tend to live in more natural harmony than the average human,
which is why bacteria tend to kick our butts around when we get sick.
Our Reflection Shapes Us
How we treat the world, reflects to show us who we are and what we will become.
Respect is a path that can save us from our waste. We live in disrespect by throwing away our waste without care.
The choice is ours in the small actions we make each day. To live in a disposable consumer society means to consume and waste life.
It’s Christmas day 2007 as I write this. I wish peace to all and for peace in these holidays.
In peace: I would like to point out a contradiction.
In this holiday being a consumer event. The very act of consumerism is driving 80% of the wars on the planet. So in buying something, also consider this brief spreadsheet of actions represented in some common purchases:
- When buying a new pair of shoes for your child, consider the child staving in Indonesian, who can’t afford to enjoy Christmas day as she sews new Nike shoes.
- When buying new electronics, know thousands are dying in war zones, created to ensure that the rare-earth used in electronic items remain cheap to the companies that produce them.
- When driving the car to the holiday event: 100,000’s of Iraqi’s that have died in a war started to maintain corporate control of the oil supply.
- Holiday food: where pesticides, destruction of forest habitat for new farmlands and poor mass management of the farm system pollute and destroy off entire ecosystems of life.
- Countless other examples you could think up on your own.
The truth about consumption is:
In consuming, there is always a price to pay on the flip side of life.
I am not talking politics, morals nor about how you should live. Also, this isn’t preaching. The point made here is based upon basic facts of the Western economic reality.
So a question for you now:
Did you get angry at me for writing this article, or in reading this article?
Did you just ignore what was said? Brushing it aside rather than to truly think about cause and effect of lifestyle?
Did you begin to make excuses in the form of belittling what I have written here?
Please keep in mind. I am not trying to say how a person should live. I have no problems with anyone buying a pair of shoes or a computer. I’m staying neutral in this. As a Taoist, it’s not my place to tell anyone how to live. I live in my balance and accept where I am in my own life.
In Taoism: It’s up to each person to find their own balance.
I am pointing out the contradictions within how people think versus act versus the chain of results from their actions within their lifestyles. Christmas, “wishing for peace” is a deep example to illustrate this against. While in words it is a holiday of peace, ironically in actions > it’s a holiday that fuels strife. It seems to me according to Christ’s teachings; he wouldn’t be very happy with the current state of his holiday.
All forms of consumption are a fire. You may not feel or see the fire in the item itself. However, somewhere along the line, another life does get burned/destroyed to fuel the consumption. Welcome to the hidden truth of how our current economic system works.
More respectful cultures will give thanks to that which gives towards serving us. To do so is to respect oneself and the circle of life. The current culture merely tosses pennies and then kicks to side anything used in the process. If we are what we eat, what we use: then this attitude reflects back as our very nature. We are being shown a dangerous path of where we are leading ourselves towards: of even throwing ourselves away in the end.
Facts are facts, But facts will not save the world.
What adds up, is how we each live life.
This all does sound like preaching since at this point it appears I am telling you how to live. Again, not the case, instead I am sharing my Taoist perspective of the modern lifestyle and what it reveals about us as a culture.
To a Taoist power is in the now, not afterwards when the facts get sorted out.
From a Taoist perspective
Peace and fulfillment can never be found in consumption.
Peace is found in the balance of the actions of how you live life
Peace can be found in finding acceptance of our actions as a reflection of who we are.
The actions of the modern Christmas holiday speak very loudly. If the citizens of the United States truly want peace, then don’t start by speaking out, nor by wishful thinking of “wishing peace for all”. Rather it will simply start in the home and how people spend their day to day life.
Peace – really means >
May you find balance and acceptance in your lifestyle.
While many people have acceptance of their lifestyle, the real problem is the modern lifestyle is lacking a true balance in the bigger picture of the world.
The Butterfly Effect as an Answer.
There is another butterfly effect
The butterfly effect is all about how to shift the world with simple actions. This is the realm of Taoist practice.
Let me explain
I help people get un-lost. Right now we are living in times that are pushing social edges. Extreme social conditions are pushing people, to get lost, to be forced into relearning how to be themselves outside the normal social bubble. When social unrest is the initial condition of a person’s process of inner change, it then sets the person to try to understand themselves relative to that social change. So the lost often unwittingly push social change as the method of trying to change/find themselves, in effect: this means working to change the world: to change oneself
In other words: people become the butterfly effect, trying to beat their wings in an attempt to cause hurricanes to shift world patterns. But this isn’t very efficient and often batters one’s wings to no avail.
More importantly: The problem is that a person isn’t a butterfly yet. They are still in a cocoon of change, trying to shift and alter their life to be better. Dreaming they have wings when they are yet to form and come out.
It takes too much energy to change a whole world. And if wrapped up in a self-imposed cocoon you are too isolated even to affect a change.
However, surprisingly little energy is required to transform oneself into a better life by just embracing one’s inner nature rather than trying to force the society to become what you desire it to become.
Ironically in becoming the butterfly, the true butterfly effect is that everyone else then wants to be a butterfly since you by your actions show how beautiful life can become.
Then society will chase you to become as you!
This is how with little effort we can help shape the world with the butterfly effect.
Time to Be Your Own Hero
Life is ephemeral.
If it isn’t, you are not living.
The hero’s journey is not defined by success, not defined by how far you leap or the number of monsters you slay, but rather simply in embracing each challenge as it arises and making it yours. Allow the moments to shine, take it all in.
Explore the moments you crash into the dirt. Be inspired to rise beyond the dust. I have outlined a major challenge to improve our lifestyle. The interesting truth is the crash is coming to us.
We can face this challenge, to be inspired and become the hero who is also the butterfly.
Being a hero can be as simple as becoming aware of how you live and being more proactive in connecting with others. Being a hero is improving how you live to see the bigger picture and better account for your actions in that bigger picture. Being a hero is acting, even with simple steps and actions to change how you live.
I wish you strength in the hero’s path.
Break Free from a Lifestyle of Crisis
One of the fundamental problems people face is something they don’t even realize is a problem. When you live in a crisis that crisis defines you. Our society is one based upon crisis now. This means our modern society pushes crisis down to its people. Then in dealing with a crisis, you are too preoccupied with survival to fight the bigger problems around you in life.
The modern economic system is based upon crisis!!!
To follow it means to base your own life upon crisis. Is living to crisis healthful or meaningful? Seriously think about this point for a moment!
The Trap of Constant Economic Crisis
We live upon the crux of crisis today and every day with a possible new crisis.
The current 2007-2008 financial crisis is an example of an economic war won and played out in manners never before seen. We, the people, have been conquered. I tip my jester cap to the new powers to be. Who since 1913 have slowly worked their way towards a new world power base. Since longer than that really.
As such, I am not writing about future portents. This merely is a statement as things are right now.
The truth of crisis is simple: if you live within and subscribe to a social system based upon crisis, your life will follow crisis also.
To experience change, to transform is become something new. Once the economics are locked down, we are locked in, or so it seems. Doors out still exist. Just be open to figuring out your truth in these times of engineered crisis.
My one request is don’t base life on a crisis. Base life on what is meaningful to you, rather than chasing the shifting numbers, rigged, and jiggered to keep people dancing.
Ponder how your choices to deal (or not deal) with crisis effect/affects your life. I am speaking from personal experience since I am already moving again elsewhere and this no longer concerns me. I have de-couple my life from crisis based lifestyle. I just wanted to share some perspective since I found it interesting in retrospect looking back and seeing that truth and realizing how successfully the new economics are tied into the business of crisis. How by default how each little crisis ripples into so many lives, which I have been helping pick up of late.
To be a Taoist is to live your life, not to chase somebody else’s engineered disasters.
I have been watching this since the ’70s, been learning and experimenting with how not to get trapped in such a system. Over the past five years, I have gotten a bit more vocal sharing truths to help people out of such a system. But strangely, very few are willing to find an escape. A lifeguard cannot rescue a person who doesn’t desire to be saved.
Are you strong enough to be kind and genuine to your own heart? This is the truth of how to resolve the crisis and turn it into a transformation of peace.
We are seeing a crisis based economy in full swing now. The higher powers will now increase the tempo of crisis after crisis to beat governments and people to support their own power. Today’s Stock Market crisis is a perfect example of how an elite few are using this current crisis to beat people and governments down. Once getting what they want, it will magically turn around, things will be good for a period: a year or two even, and then a hammer will come down again with the next crisis for profit or power.
I teach Taoism and help people resolve a crisis by helping a person to transform rather than break down to fear and crisis. It doesn’t make a difference what type of crisis you are having: How you resolve it is always the same. You stop living to fear; you start actions which are directly tied to your life and move forward. The truth on how to get around a crisis is so simple. The reason it’s hard to escape crisis is that people get paralyzed by fear, or they act too rashly and lose everything, or so they think. ( I teach otherwise, since if your heart is warm, then you have light to follow)
As a guide, I lend my hand to show others fear is an illusion and how to dispel it. It is always possible, ALWAYS, to turn the crisis around to transformation.
Letting go of fear is the hardest part of resolving a crisis.
So the question becomes how do you let go of our economic system which is based on crisis and then forces you to live to its beating. Within a society that continually injects fear into people, which always puts a person one step behind in letting go of fear!
You see the first mistake people make is: they think they have to solve the more significant problems outside of themselves to resolve their crisis. SO NOT THE CASE.
That is part of the trap of the current system; You are tricked into thinking you have to fix the system from the top down. Yet the power behind that top is the problem, and the system is designed to prevent you from shifting the top power base. You can change the system from the bottom up! Become locally politically active and shift the politics of your local community. By changing the small rules, you can then later shape the larger rules! This takes much work, and most people avoid this path due to it being long hard work.
Another option is to let go of the crisis based system and instead to live to your own heart and transformation. It’s to work with friends and family and improve your life locally. I have been helping so many people do this, and it does work. There isn’t a guidebook telling you how to do each step since it’s based on your life. I guide each person in their terms, so the answer fits perfectly into their life.
Each person needs to walk their path and care towards that within kindness. If you truly listen to your heart, then you need no outside guide. I just help people start the process, which is a case by case process, and then it naturally grows into your solution. Tune into your own life, make friends, work locally, and work towards yourself becoming kinder and more open to exploring your life now.
So take advantage of a crisis and use it to motivate to walk away from their crisis! Eventually, one of the future crises will knock out the abusive people in power. We need to be strong at that point to stand and make a difference. Otherwise, we risk letting opportunists and abusive people in the door later at the worse possible time.