Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Life We Live

There is an age when you realize life is what you did and not what you will do, and every morning afterward is wondering if the life left is worth the life lived. We all reach an age where we have past the optimium of our existence, and as the old adage goes, it's all downhill after that. That's just a saying, but it's if we believe it and then live it that matters.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lessons of Age

Ask an older person and they'll tell you this, "Time and gravity wins all bets." Everything else are just the temporary winners of youth.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Poem

This is the explanation from Wikipedia about Mary Frye, the author of the poem Do not Stand by My Grave and Weep written in 1932.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

We are all Taoists in our own ways, the beauty of Taoism; the freedom to be, to see, to feel, to think, to know, to understand and to accept our life.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


My advice? Follow your heart, do what you love and let the rest take care of itself, because in the end that's all you have and that's all you can do. Everything else will happen anyway and little, if anything, you can do will change it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Sorry never says enough. But it's all we have to offer. Sorry never expresses the depth of our sorrow, our deepest feelings, our most heart-felt thoughts. But it's all we have to say. Sorry never understands who it is said to, because we can never know what they thought or felt. But it's all we know. One word. Never enough. But it's all we have.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Not far apart

Is an athetist that much different than a Taoist?

"An atheist loves his fellow man instead of god. An atheist believes that heaven is something for which we should work now – here on earth for all men together to enjoy. An atheist believes that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it, and enjoy it. An atheist believes that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment. He seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god. An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man. He wants an ethical way of life. He believes that we cannot rely on a god or channel action into prayer nor hope for an end of troubles in a hereafter. He believes that we are our brother’s keepers and are keepers of our own lives; that we are responsible persons and the job is here and the time is now."

Definition of atheism given to the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Murray v. Curlett, 374 U.S. 203, 83 S. Ct. 1560, 10 L.Ed.2d (MD, 1963)

If a Taoist knows God is in his heart and mind, and the road is to find peace through the God that he carrys with him, how is that different from an athetist except the latter doesn't know a God but believes in something he doesn't know but believes? Can an athetist believe in a greater God which doesn't define but challenge each man? Challenge to discover the whole and peace? Challenge to be a better man on earth?

Is an athetist's challenge any different than a Taoist's God, only the former doesn't know and the latter believes?

Monday, November 28, 2011


Simply because you think or say something is does not establish or ensure that it is, only it is in your mind, but not in reality or the world. It is means it is for everyone as known and exists. Whether you agree or not or whether you want it to be something else does not change the fact it is. Simply it is, and not what you want to think or believe it is, but that it by itself is. Just is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gotta love this

Sometimes I wonder if I'm missing something or not, but there are times I love some statements. Like?

When the weather person said, "There's a 100% chance of precipitation."

Ok, but 100% isn't a chance but a certainty. It's going to rain. Kinda' like, "There's a 100% chance you will die sometime in your life. Yeah, like at the end of it. But hey, just maybe there's a zero chance of something else?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


The richness of our life is not measured by our possesions but by our experience, through our graciousness and generosity in the world and toward other people. It is how we are judged, not by what's in our pocket but by what's in our heart.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Gift of Generations

The gift of generations only works when the wisdom and experience of age is shared with the wonder and joy of youth. Shared with each other, not given one to another but through their shared experience of learning together.


To ask question to seek answers is good. To keep asking question when you have an answer is better. To always ask questions when answers appear absolute is best. It's not about answers, it's about asking questions. Answers arise from questions. Questions should always arise from answers. It's not what we know, but what we seek to know. Always asking the questions.


Wonder is not a gift someone can give you. Wonder is what you give yourself, and someone can only show you what you already have and can do anywhere anytime. They can only show you the opportunity within yourself to see, to learn, to ask and to grow. The simple joy of wonder. What you do with it is what defines you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Everybody has to be somebody, someone unique from all the rest of us, all 7 billion on the planet as of October 31st. Seven billion unique identities, individuals, common in many ways of being human and still different in many small ways of being a person. No one like ever before or will be again.

A moment of existence in time and then a memory in history, forgotten in the billions of everybody else. The best we can do is just be and leave the rest to life as we have no idea what's ahead for us, only what has been. Our experience and memory of everybody else we met. It's all we have, like all the other 7 billion today.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Just One

One person's view, namely yours when the discussion is personal to you, is just that, one view. One person's experience is not everyone's experience. One person's view is not everyone's view. So no one should assume their view is better or right. It's just different.

Never criticize someone's different view solely on the basis of your view. They have the right to their view as much as you have to yours. We argue for the freedom to hold our own view and express that view. We can't argue that doesn't apply to everyone too. It does, and we should always be cognizant of that right and respectful of their view.

The point is that we should always be willing to stand and listen to the diversity of views while holding our own, and even expressing it, and maybe learn more about ourselves, others and the world. Our view isn't gospel and doesn't fit everyone, for they may think the same about their view and you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Does a Taoist

If a Taoist is asked to raise one hand and put the other hand on the Bible, and then say, "I do.", when they're asked to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, do they have actually tell the truth since they don't believe in or follow the teachings of the Bible? Yeah, a rhetorical question, is the answer really rhetorical?

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Truth

An interesting thing about the truth, if you forget it or lie about it, it will always come back to bite you. And it will always haunt you until you face it and admit it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


If you're in a group discussion, if you can't speak in a manner to engage everyone in the room, then don't speak to engage anyone in the room. Impressing people with your arrogance only impresses them not to listen.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Fool

Do not argue with a fool, for they know not that they are a fool and will, in the face of the obvious, always insist they are anything other than a fool.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Damage Done

If you're thinking of what to say to someone about something they said, remember this:

Words in thought can always be changed for be better.
Words spoken can not be changed.
The damage is done.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Love - A thought

Love does not know age, it only knows the human heart.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The ordinary man

In the mornng an ordinary man picked up his basket and left his home and family to go to the market in the nearby town. He always knew it was always a long day's walk to town and back each week but it was what he did for his family. And he always knew his basket was always heavy on the walk home.

But it never detered from the walk for as much as he loved his family, home and farm, he loved the walk on the road, he loved the time in town, and he loved the walk home to see his family. When he was done this week and his basket full of food and goods he started the walk home. Just outside of town he met a priest walking the road to the next town.

The priest had finished his work in town and was on his way to the next town, a long day's walk for him. He cherished the walk as he cherished the work in town, always people to meet and travel with, if only part of the way on his or their journey. So he asked the ordinary man if he could walk with him and share the time and a conversation.

The ordinary man agreed and the two walked the road over the miles. At one point the priest noticed the basket and asked the man if he could carry some of the goods in the basket to lighten his load. The man replied that he was fine as the words from the priest strengthened his heart and lightened his load.

When the two got to the place where the trail to the ordinary man's property left the road they stopped. The man set down his basket while the priest thanked him for sharing his time and words with him. The ordinary man reached into his basket to pickup a loaf of hard bread. He handed it to the priest saying he will need it on the long journey ahead.

The priest replied he was a simple priest and lived on modest means and such a loaf was far too much for him. The ordinary man said he knew but he also knew there will be many people on his journey who will need it. And with it he picked up his basket and walked the trail to his home and the priest, looked at the loaf, put it in his satchel and continued on his journey.

Another Thought

Be careful of the man who gives a judgement of something specific from general experience or knowledge, for he doesn't know if it's really true or just something he thinks is true. It's the old adage, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

A thought

I would rather learn from a man who says he knows nothing than from a man who says he knows everything. The man who says he knows nothing will always teach you something new, but the man who says he knows everything will only teach you what he knows. The man who says he knows nothing will always question what he learns, but the man who says he knows everything will never question and always believe what he knows is true, whether it is or not.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Life and Death

Just a thought. Life is what will kill you, death is only the last act.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

There will be a Moment

There will be a moment when you close your eyes and it will be the last thing you remember, never to be alive anymore and never to have another moment. The reality of our own existence. It happens thousands of times every day in the world, from the most peaceful to the most violent moment, when each of us aren't anymore. Aren't here. Aren't aware. Simply gone.

I was listening to an interview of someone who watched their loved one die from a terminal illness. He said, "I watched her breath. One breath after another. One breath and then no more." While we can be there when someone dies, we can and will never know what it is like being the one dying, and being the one who takes the last breath.

A recent issue of Scientific American has an interesting article on death, and why we don't know what it is or even have or ever will have, the slightest clue what it is. All because we're always alive until death and then we aren't. Anymore. Death, as they say, is just a heartbeat away. Meaning one beat after another until the last beat, of our heart.

We take our heart for granted. I don't anymore, not because of my heart, it's fine along with the arteries of the heart, but because of my pulmonary artery which has a 20% blockage, not enough for serious intervention, although I've been on a drug I stopped due to the severity of the side effects, but enough to realize it when I exert myself and run out of breath.

This, as it turned out, has been a nearly 20 year old problem, first noticed when in my early 40's when I had problems breathing while running or hiking. I put it off to the Rheumatic Fever I had as a child and the lasting effect on my heart. That wasn't and isn't true. I have a very slight heart murmur but nothing distinguishable anymore from the normal wear of time.

But either way, we notice life by our heart and our breathing. But we can't experience it by our death. We won't know beyond our last memory and then nothing. We can only experience it when we die and maybe see or know there people around us watching us die.

That's the best we can hope full, to die quietly and peacefully, and hopefully in a place we love. The last is all too often does not happen as we die in hospitals or hospices, die in accidents or from violence, die of our own hand doing what we love or just something, or die out of nowhere.

I think about this every time I lie down to take a nap. And during the nap I don't remember anything except that I wake up some time later. But I think what happens if I don't wake up. After some naps I have to take a few minutes to collect my thoughts and find myself. It's a little quiz I take, like what's today, what time did I lie down, and so on until I'm fully awake and conscious to the world.

But I know I too, like everyone before me, will have my moment and I won't exist anymore. It's the reality of each of our being and our living, to die. Simple as that. Breathing and then not. A moment here and a moment gone.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Occam's Razor

I was reading about Occam's Razor, the idea that the simpliest solution with the least number of assumptions is likely the best. Well, not quite what he actually said was, "Plurality must never be posited without necessity." The key is the conumdrum of where to draw the line between the simplicity, the least number of assumptions, and the complexity of any issue, problem or question.

Taosim teaches you to see not just the whole of the issue, but also the imagination beyond the whole of the issue. Not just the what is of it but the what if's of it. That, however, requires, expanded the assumptions beyond the obvious, beyond reality and into the imagination, to be creative, innovative, and imaginative to think over the horizon, deeper than the wells, and father than the limits of the sky.

And see where the line is between the least number of assumption which resolves the issue and the rest of the solutions, but not just for the moment, the present and the future. That's where simplicity runs afoul of reality. And we're faced with the choices where Occam's razor fails to separate the assumptions into the necessary and the rest, where the solutions uses the optimum number of assumptions but not the least number.

In statistics you can use regression analysis to weigh all the factors and determine the statistic importance and relevance of each to the whole, and then you can reduce the factors based on the probability of a good answer from the optimum and the least number. And then evaluate the assumptions associated with the factors.

In Taoism, however, we can't do that, and have to rely on the subjective information to find the best answer or solution among the messiness of reality. Everything becomes intertwined and interconnected and the separations become fuzzy, and more than likely include ourself and our own view of things. We are part of it.

And we have to also parse ourself from the whole, or reduce and narrow our own assumptions, often before we can look at the rest of it. And add the dynamics of life and the world, and everything changes while we're still trying to understand it. Not unlike trying to capture everything about a passing train, the blur and gone in the distance, over the horizon, and just a memory.

It's the conundrum we have to apply Occam's razor to ourself before we address what we're thinking about, determining what we know with what might be reality and what we think with what actually is. We have to simplify ourself and our own assumptions about it before we can do the same with what we working on.

To be continued.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Gumbo of our Being

What we choose to do and who we choose to be. That's always the question we face. What I choose to photograph, whether it's places, people, events, scenes, whatever, it's always my choice. What I choose to feel. Or maybe not so much choice or just thoughts, feelings and emotions, all in one, a jumble of each into the whole. The gumbo of my being.

Can we choose the gumbo of our being? Or are we driven by an innate sense of being, in part from our instincts and intuition in concert with our thoughts, feelings and emotions? Or are we being someone and doing something amisdt our experience? Some would say it's the old nature versus nuture or our nature versus our experience argument and debate. But is that really what it is?

Or are we just like gumbo soup, something we make from what we have (being) and what we can find (experience) and even then we don't control what happens or how it turns out, except we're the pot, the contents and in the end, the soup in the bowl of our life and being? What and how much of the gumbo are we really in control of beyond our experiences, thoughts, feelings, emotions and then our actions within the whole?

Is the gumbo of our being just the result of everything from our life, and is the reflection of our experiences with our senses thrown in for flavor? And what is our gumbo versus what it is to others? Do they see the same gumbo we think we are, or a gumbo seen through their senses? We all see the world through our senses, including everyone we meet and more so we know.

So what is the gumbo of our being to them? Clearly not the same, but is it something which matters beyond knowing? After all, we are already here, the gumbo of our being, as everyone else is the gumbo of their being. So does it matter beyond knowing and enjoying it? Being who we are, our gumbo. And who they are, their gumbo.

All that gumbo, and we're just one bowl from the pot among many pots over time.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Perspective About Life

I watched a movie about Dan Millman and his fight to get back into being an international gymnast help his college team win their first national championship. It's an interesting movie less in terms of his experience and fight back, but more for the role Nick Nolte plays as a mental mentor who taught him about life. And that's what was interesting.

We all like short, usually one sentence, saying about life, such as one that's interesting, "There are no ordinary moments." While we can examine and espouse this saying ad naseum without any better insight than when we started because that's the problem as well as the beauty of something so simple. The simple is complex and the complex simple. It's how you see life, your perspective on being and doing.

What also caught my notice was the three "rules" of life, which were more a perspective to keep in mind.

Paradox. It's about the whole complexity of life and the world we live in today. In short as said in the movie, "You surrender the very thing you never had and never will, control." That's the one thing we fight our whole life for only to discover we're fighting a something so dynamic the best we can really do is constantly react to it. We have to simply decide we can only do what we can in the place we're at and at the time we're there. The rest is what happens.

Humor. It's about maintaining a perspective of knowing that being serious only finds you more difficult to understand and accept the paradox of life and the world.

Change. It's the evitable reality of the world today, nothing stays the same. Change is the normal order of the world, and it's how we adapt and adjust to it that matters.

It's hard not to see the simple truth in those rules. It's what Taoism teaches with being open to the reality of the moment to see it in all it's comlexity and simplicity. As they say, not a bad approach.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Life We are Given

There are times I find myself just wondering. You know the wondering about the life we're given. I know this has been the mental plague of man ever since it dawned on him, always wondering the great questions of a life, the world and the purpose of anything and everything, and all related to the life we are and have.

Like duh, no one has yet found the answer, or at least one we all find useful and helpful, but it's always a good tavern conversation question. Or not.

Well, almost, because it seems when facing death, it's a common to ask the question of ourself and our live. Kinda' late maybe, but maybe it's been the perpetual question that never fully invaded our consciousness enough to warrant more than a passing thought while drinking beer somewhere there is good music, interesting and entertaining people, and lively, spirited conversation. And of course great beer and good food.

And sometimes it's one of those things you think about before and just after you retire. We see these stories of people who accomplished a lot after retiring from their first job or career to move into another and do great or important things. But these people are very rare, why they're noted, and 99.999% of retirees just live out the rest of their live at some level far less important or accomplished.

In short, just another life. Something my father did, putter his life away when he retired in his early 60's. He simply faded into nothingness where no one, not even Mom, paid much attention to him beyond the occasional conversation and important events. He lived after retirement for three things, their 50th wedding anniversary, paying off his 30-year mortage and living to see his 75th birthday.

Those accomplished, on the day of the last one he went to bed, never woke up and died two days later. It left a lot of confused people, but in the end, he was tired of life. He lost the will to live beyond those three goals years before when his health failed and he couldn't find something to do beyond existing. He faced his existence and decided his fate.

As with him, we face the reality of our existence. It's the accepted fact or realiy, take your pick, that after 50 or so, it's all downhill and the best we can do is slow the rate we age, both mentally and physically. Of course, within the framework of our genetic history and our environment.

At after 60, it picks up speed where you can't change anything except if you're lucky or gifted with good physical and mental health and being fit, and then hope fate doesn't change that with some event, a disease, accident, or something which makes just living a challenge, or worse. That I discovered this year and know it's my future.

It's my existence as given. Change is possible, as the specialist said, but not much realistically. It's what I face, as we all face ourself, in the morning when we wake up. The choices we face with the life we're given.