The Power Of One
For what its worth, as having been for a few years a serious practitioner/student of buddhism, I'd say that it is more an issue of right action than of optimism or pessimism. The ideal is to engage in actions as an expression of your life and values, to wholeheartedly endeavor to accomplish as much as you are able given your position/circumstances, yet also develop the capacity to not be overly attached or invested in (this is not at all the same as indifferent to!) the outcomes of your work or the issues you are working on.
A year after the Global Financial Crisis, huge swathes of my life fell apart. My business (sensitive to the state of the economy) saw its gross revs drop by about 50%. Not long after, I had to short-sell my house (losing my life savings) because of that. Not long after that, my marriage — already wobbly — came apart.
I found myself living — thanks to the generousity of some friends — in a small Airstream trailer w/no running water in the woods on 19 acres near Boiceville, NY. It's amazing how liberating loss can be.
I spent 7 weeks in that trailer over a June and July, mourning endings and celebrating new beginnings. I came down out of the hills and woods of the Hudson Valley before August began, and have not looked back since.
REALISTICALLY, in the not-too-distant we can all expect to lose much of what we have, most especially in the categories of material comfort, wealth, and the illusion of security that modernity has bestowed.
OPTIMISTICALLY, we will move towards that eventuality of our own accord, embracing the inevitable instead of going screaming and kicking, and by so doing we can dictate *some* of the terms under which we relinquish our current method of living the day-to-day.
OPTIMISTICALLY, we will understand that most of what we must relinquish does not hold any real promise of true soul satisfaction, authentic comfort, or legitimate security, and certainly has very dim long-term prospects.
OPTIMISTICALLY, we will allow ourselves to change, to grow, to become new sorts of people. We will simplify our living, we will withdraw ourselves from the awful soul-sucking charade of the rat race/fight cage, and we will find other like-minded individuals and in their company create not just a new path forward, but the new culture that understands the pleasures of that path.
But first, IME, you have to give up what you have and think you hold dear, and go sit in the dark in that Airstream for a good spell. Listen to the night. Come through your resistance, sadness and fear. Your better life awaits.
VIVA — Sager
I mention Buddhism hoping that my Taoist energy-work will eventually lead to a mental experiencing of the world like it or to the Taoist source of everything. Christian mystics like Meister Eckart experienced it as the real " ground " out of which everything arose. The Church didn't like that but he survived.
The irony of course that without the power of modern medications, anti-depressants and tranquillizers, one of which I've just taken to stop my adrenals being in over-drive ( if I push myself overly – not here) I wouldn't be able to function. So my sniping at modernity depends on the multinationals and I'm in awe of the good things modern meds can do despite their downsides.
However my energy flows can be powerful sometimes and I know they have the potential to transform my body and mind given time and practice. It also makes me seriously think about what the great masters and immortals like Lao Tsu may actually have achieved.
I'll just say Agent700 wer'e becoming more aware of dark and maybe evil forces especially via the internet. But I see them as parasitic, not being able to function without something more natural, more wholesome to live off and so ultimately weak.
Wow Cornelius999, I hope you’re coming to Rowe!
I have lived in China now for 7 years, am married into Chinese culture, but still am waiting to meet disciples of Lao Tzu. Having never been a religious man, but having always felt that nature holds the key, Taoism is super interesting.
But if parasites/viruses/bacteria are natural organisms, as are us – the hosts – does this mean the only solution is to live in the cave like he did? I’m becoming lost for the answer, but thank EVERYONE HERE for allowing this discussion!
Agent 700 you’ve educated me – a trip to China might have helped! Being the author of Tao The Ching is too nebulous and obviously doesn’t cut it with practioners for whom actual attainment is everything I’m guessing. There’s nothing theoretical about energy Taoism As far as I’m concerned its mainly work and perseverance. I use Taoism” because people have heard of it but Joseph Campbell says this power has been known to all culturesI haven’t tried the cave but found that lying on a floor over granite opened my heart center. There would likely local energetic conditions that helped practice.
Unfortunately since I had to scrub a trip to L A last October at the last minute, I won’t be venturing to Rowe this time though I would enjoy it.
I hope you all have a good time there!
PS I like Damo Mitchell’s books on T.