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Dalai Lama

Tao 道

Posted on 2011.04.11 at 15:30
Current Location: 75070
Current Music: McCreary - Discography
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The hardest thing to do in life is to know what to do.

Many therefore, do nothing. Or at least always take the path of least resistance. Which is pretty much the same thing as nothing when you look back over the span of your life. Some have gotten lucky in doing nothing, and/or been able to inhibit their desire for personal success (I even know one young man who considers himself successful because his goal in life was to fail) but is that the same as being happy?

I also know a successful individual who's known what he wanted to do since he was five-years old and has relentlessly pursued that dream with all his heart and soul. Is he happy? How could he not be with the fulfillment of raw, driven passion?

If the hardest thing to do in life is to know what to do, then knowing when to do it is a close second.

Wu-Wei, or "non-doing" is the Taoist principle that involves knowing when to act and when not to act. Not a lifestyle of active passivity as the English translation might suggest, rather a concept that (in a really round-about way) I've only just been introduced to, and, paradoxically, how I've managed to not only survive in this life, but also obtain the peace which has lead to my happiness. With a twist of course. There's always a twist, and that twist usually seems to make all the difference.

"You have to strike when the iron's hot," my dad would say. Which, as a young man was difficult to conceptualize when coupled with the knowledge that by his own admittance he led a charmed life and fell into opportunities at every turn. I therefore followed mostly in his footsteps, allowing myself to be carried along the shoulders of this mighty river we call life.

Or did I?

While I never gave up living in the moment for things which would create financial independence later, looking back I see a pattern of choosing that which would challenge me personally. The twist - which I'm currently working on further exploiting (and bear with me as I haven't fully figured out where I need to go with this entirely) is manifesting those opportunities in which to choose. So that its always the right time to strike the iron. Which would appear to be, to some degree or another, what I've always done.

I'm now going to go create my own path...and then follow it.


Lelf Treperra
ubet_cha at 2011-04-12 02:30 (UTC) (Link)

Best of Luck!

"and then follow it."

The execution of this part of the concept is where I typically fail.

Oh look a puppy!
ehowton at 2011-04-12 15:23 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Best of Luck!

My more creative friends and acquaintances (and wife) fall prey to that as well - as I lack that creative gene, I do not, but nor do I begrudge them theirs when they do. After all, its what makes them who they are. I consider it a blessing that I am surrounded by both types :D
codekitten at 2011-04-12 17:09 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Best of Luck!

I am the reverse. Execution? No problem. Drive? Got it!

But figuring out what i should execute (and combing over all the possibilities/choices/outcomes) is where I get stuck sometimes.
whimsygirltri at 2011-04-12 02:41 (UTC) (Link)
What happens when there is a fork in the path, which way do you go?
ehowton at 2011-04-12 15:19 (UTC) (Link)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
michelle1963 at 2011-04-12 12:25 (UTC) (Link)
I've always taken the middle road--not the path of least resistance, nor being so passionate about a goal that I see nothing else. If one always chooses the path of least resistance, imo, there is little satisfaction to be gained. However, likewise, blindly following a path toward one goal leaves one in the position of being unable to see opportunities and/or experiences that may enrich one's life. I am never afraid to change course when an "unplanned" opportunity arises, because I never lock myself into one particular idea of the future. Consequently, I am almost never disappointed either.

I suppose there is a philosophical question buried in the above paragraph. Am I simply seizing opportunities that come my way, am I calling them to me, or am I actually creating them as I need them?
ehowton at 2011-04-12 15:25 (UTC) (Link)
Beautifully spoken! If you're seizing the former, that sounds a lot like how my father did it; the latter, much as I am trying to do - only now that I'm aware of it, I want to attempt it on a much larger scale!
michelle1963 at 2011-04-12 21:17 (UTC) (Link)
If I were to guess, I believe I have been doing either of the last two. Wish I could articulate why I think this. I need to mull.
kat_rowe at 2011-04-12 16:38 (UTC) (Link)
I followed my chosen path until a rockslide totally blocked it (stupid medical discharge before I could get funding for grad school) and now I'm doing my best to just enjoy the scenery on the detour until I can get back where I was going
ehowton at 2011-04-12 16:51 (UTC) (Link)
You have one of those attitudes which will never let external influences impede you. Its a damn rare thing.
kat_rowe at 2011-04-12 16:53 (UTC) (Link)
well, I'm a little young to be giving up entirely. let's wait until next year when i turn 33, see if I have a Julius Caesar weeping at the tomb of Alexander the Great moment over not ruling the known world yet ;p Then we'll know if I'm truly good to go
ehowton at 2011-04-12 17:07 (UTC) (Link)
I don't believe that. I know defeatists. They start way early in life. You're golden.
kat_rowe at 2011-04-12 17:08 (UTC) (Link)
well, thank you *hug*
codekitten at 2011-04-12 17:10 (UTC) (Link)
I love these posts. Thanks for letting us "in" on this part.
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