Lao Tzu’s Four Cardinal Virtues – Day 241 of 365 Days to a Better You

We’ve mentioned Lao Tzu previously in our journey together. He said to have authored the Tao Te Ching and founded Taoism. He’s considered among the great spiritual masters of ancient China.

He wrote:

“To realize the constancy and steadiness in your life is to realize the deep nature of the universe. This realization is not dependent on any transitory internal or external condition, rather it is an expression of one’s own immutable spiritual nature. The only way to attain the Universal Way is to maintain the integral virtues of the constancy, steadiness and simplicity in one’s daily life.”

What are the virtues he’s speaking of and how do you and I apply them to our lives? There are four main virtues or spiritual rules he lays out in the Tao Te Ching.

  1. Reverence for all life – this first virtue drives the others. It lays the foundation for harmony within and from there spreads to all living beings. It recognizes that all living things rely on each other for their very survival. As such, we should approach all other beings with kindness, respect, and gratitude. The Buddhist metta meditation is a very effective way to make this virtue a practical part of your day.
  2. Natural Sincerity – our ability to spread harmony into the world begins with our ability to find it within. According to Lao Tzu, we find harmony within through sincerely and authentically being ourselves. He’s essentially encouraging us to live our truth. Stress and unhappiness come when we are living in insincerity. Peace and happiness come when our thoughts, feelings, and actions align.
  3. Gentleness – this virtue is practiced by relinquishing our egoic thinking and action in the world. We cease needing to be right or to control others. We become sensitive to the needs of others and choose to live in harmony with them.
  4. Supportiveness – Because we revere all life, we live with sincerity, and we practice gentleness, we’re able to be supportive of ourselves and all other beings. This virtue promotes love and service. It’s focused on what you can give rather than simply what you can get. It’s the energetic glue that holds us all together through our care for and commitment to each other.

Four simple virtues that are simple and profound. They took minutes to read and a lifetime to master. However, even imperfect application begins to yield results. You operating by these principles will change your life. Many people living this way would shift the world.

May we achieve change in both!

Just in case no one else tells you today, you’re AWESOME!

Ray

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Conscious Becoming – Day 239 of 365 Days to a Better You

The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.

~John Ruskin

It’s happening every moment of every day. There, it just happened again. With every sensory impression, thought, word, action, experience, you’re becoming something different than you were the moment before. So is everyone and everything else around you.

This is a natural process of our universe. As far as we know everything is subject to it. To say that you are this or you are that is not a static definition. It’s a snapshot captured in an instant of constantly unfolding process; one that never ends.

However, this is more than a philosophical banter on a Monday morning. This universal process can be harnessed toward your objectives.

If you’re constantly changing, why not change into what you choose? Why not make the process conscious?

You certainly have control of your thoughts, words, and actions. You can modify them before and as they occur. You may not have complete control of your sensory impressions or your experiences, but you do have some control over how you respond to them and who you become as a result of them.

Things aren’t just out there randomly happening, though it can seem that way. What you’re becoming, consciously or unconsciously, is the result of your active participation in the process. Your expectations attract like experiences. Your pattern of thought generate more similar thoughts. How you precess your experiences becomes your reality.

You are becoming. Don’t become accidentally. Be conscious become who you choose.

Thank you all for stopping by and for your comments, likes, and support!

Ray

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Are You Choosing Your Paradigms – Day 230 of 365 Days to a Better You

Do you create your own paradigms or are you a tenant farmer for someone eles’s paradigms? What do I mean?

I’ve noted that there are three kinds of people when it comes to paradigms.

  1. Buyers – There are people who buy completely into their inherited cultural paradigms. Their country is the best. Their inherited religion is the best. Their inherited political party is the best, etc. They’ve never considered another point of view for a second or questioned their own assumptions.
  2. Rejectors – There are people who have thought a little more about it. Their solution is to completely reject every inherited paradigm and believe something as totally opposite as they can find.
  3. Seekers – There is a third group that has thought more deeply than either of the other two. It doesn’t mean they’re more correct than the other two. It simply means they’ve put their inherited paradigms to the test rather merely accepting them at face value. They’ve avoided or transcended the impulse to simply reject them. They’ve taken what works through testing and applied that to their life. They’ve staked out their own ground, their own paradigm.

I’m not judging any of the groups. Each can find their way in this world. Experience tells me these groups break down about 75 percent, 20 percent, five percent respectively.

The easiest road is to be the buyer. You get plenty of emotional support and reinforcement in your circle for making that choice and staying true to it. You are, though, what I called above a tenant farmer living on ideas decided upon by others for you.

It’s harder to break free from the gravity of the buyer impulse and become a rejector. You set yourself up for social ostracism and lack of understanding from family and friends in the buyer category. You feel like a rebel, but you still haven’t chosen anything. You’ve only wholesale rejected the buyers in your culture. Thus, your paradigm is still decided by theirs because you’re going to reject it whatever it is.

Seekers are people who saw through the provincialism of the buyer mindset. No one group has all the good ideas. They probably passed through a rejector stage where they used rejection to break free. Eventually, though, they evolved to a thought-space of their own choosing. It was born from experience, trial and error, and insight.

Seekers may not be enlightened beings yet, but they have taken the two critical steps on that road.

So, I ask you again. Do you create your own paradigms or are you a tenant farmer for someone eles’s paradigms?

I deeply appreciate you stopping by and spending part of your day on this blog. You’re awesome!

Find your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

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Go With All Your Heart – Day 176 of 365 Days to a Better You

Few human masters are better remembered for their simple wisdom than Confucius. His intellect was one of the pillars of the ancient Chinese culture and even of the modern Chinese psyche.

One of my favorite pieces of Confucius advice is, “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”

You’re here in this place and this time. You’ve already “bought the ticket.” So, take the ride. Why not go after what you want and who you can become with all you are? Why allow half-heartedness, uncertainty, or doubt stop you from reaching the top of your mountain?

You know the answer to these questions. Please don’t waste your time going over the plan one more time. Start climbing that mountain and the wisdom of how will greet you along the way!

You are all amazing! Thank you for reading this blog. I wish you all a wonderful night’s sleep and a brilliant beginning to your tomorrow.

Ray

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Numbering Your Days to Make Every One Count – Day 157 of 365 Days to a Better You

Today’s Affirmation

Every single day is a unique day and I treat it that way!

Sometimes, let’s be honest, life is a grind. One of the many cyclical repetitions in our lives that helps add to the gerbil on a treadmill feeling is the seven days of the week. Over time, each the days of the week have developed cultural and psychological meaning in society or to you as an individual.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with cycles, in fact they can be quite useful considering the history of this world or the universe, as a means of counting our lives they begin to lose creativity and pop.

You’ve heard other people say it and you’ve said and thought similar things. ‘Oh, another Monday!” “Everybody’s working for the weekend.”

This seems like an uncreative, unproductive, and perhaps destructive way to live and think.

What if you found a way to treat each and every day as the unique, once-in-a-universe event it is and do it in a way that show progression rather than the feeling of spinning round and round?

Power Hack: What if you numbered your days, as I’ve been numbering this blog? You could start from any point that makes sense to you – your birth, your 21st birthday, your marriage date, days since some other major event.

For me, this is Day 19,974. I’ll let you do the math. That sounds a lot more interesting and unique than, “It’s just another Thursday.”

Yes, Siri and Alexa can tell you how many days since any date and it’s kind of addictive for an information geek like me. Have fun with it. Make each day the eternal birthplace of possibility it is meant to be rather than freshly trodden habit from seven days, 14 days, 21 days, etc. ago.

Imagine the fun you’ll have when someone asks you what day it is!

The average human lives 25,915 days. Every one of them IS a NEW day. Treat it that way!

Thank you for spending another few minutes of your life reading this blog. I’m honored that it spoke to you, helped you, or inspired you in some way. See you tomorrow for Day 19,975.

Ray

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Times They Are A Changin’

“Times,” Bob Dylan famously sang, “They are a changin’.” You may have noticed from my earlier post that time and change are on my mind today. As I mentioned the other day, we’re in the process of selling our house and moving back to Kansas City.

Change always makes me reflective. It also has a tendency to make us want to cling to what is familiar. This morning I sold our 2006 Kia Sorento to the junk man and will be waving goodbye to it for a couple of Ben Franklins.

This was the first brand new car April and I bought together back in August of 2005 and was our main family car for many years. This, too, has been coming for a while. In the four years we’ve been here, it probably hasn’t been driven more than 30 times. I put a new battery in it last Fall, but when I went to start it the other day it wouldn’t start.

This vehicle never let us down. We never had one morning when it was our main car that it didn’t answer the call. While it’s just metal and plastic in one way. In another, it’s memories of trips to Manhattan to watch K-State games and 43,604 trips back and forth up Highway 69 between Louisburg and Overland Park.

This move back to Kansas is a new chapter for us. Some things, including this Kia, will not continue on the journey with us.

Plato recorded Socrates saying the following. makes “Heraclitus is supposed to say that all things are in motion and nothing at rest; he compares them to the stream of a river, and says that you cannot go into the same river twice”

In our modern world, this quote has been culled down to, “You cannot step twice into the same river.”

Time passes. Everything stays in motion. What was no longer is. What is will soon no longer be. That’s the nature of all composite things…cars, rivers, and us.

It’s only attachment that makes it sad. If we can step back and see the big picture, the awesome symmetry to the whole cosmic dance comes into view. All IS well!

Ray

 

 

Is Out There Really Out There? – Day 125 of 365 Days to a Better You

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.

~Mark Twain

For centuries, wise sages and great teachers have taught that the world is what our thoughts make it. For most of us living in the modern, rational age, even if we buy into such ideas, we tend to see them as metaphorical and not literal.

Donald Hoffman, a cognitive psychologist at The University of California Irvine, has a very different perspective. He and his cross-discipline team have developed a theory that our brains are devices that literally create the reality that we perceive. They call it Multi-Modal User Interface (MMUI) and it picks up on some of the ideas of the Simulation Hypothesis and on age-old teachings from contemplative spiritual traditions.

This is a very old idea for me personally. Back in the early 1990s, I spent some time playing with the idea of whether “my reality” showed up wherever I was located. For instance, I wondered, when I was at work, did my apartment still have objective reality? Or, did it become real again by my traveling there and perceiving it.

For those who have never considered ideas like these, Hoffman’s work may seem ludicrous. However, there’s a ton of scientific evidence backing up these ideas. Two he mentions frequently in his presentations are that fully one-third of our brain is devoted to visual perception. That would be unnecessary if we are just “taking pictures” of the world. Secondly, his research has shown that Evolutionary Theory has not taught us to see truth, but rather see what allows us to survive.

The implications seem fanciful, even a little crazy by our consensus view of the world. We have made a major assumption that “reality” is something objective that exists out there and that our senses are simply designed to show us that reality.

What if our senses are, in fact, a means of taking raw data like a matrix of numbers and converting that into the reality we experience? What if we are literally manufacturing objective (agreed upon) and subjective (individual) reality from our consciousness? What if our senses have been designed, like radio receivers, to receive these impulses and manifest space and time?

The implications are broad and profound.

While we are likely mere children playing with adult capabilities, the ability to consciously control the creation of our reality would mean literally anything could be possible for us individually and collectively. Given our current state of development, that could be scary. It could also be a game-changer.

Perhaps, the tools we have talked about in our 365-day series are the rudimentary beginnings of techniques to put this into affect to change our lives and the world.

What it says about our space-time reality, our materialist viewpoint, and the nature of our existence are bigger questions to be explored. Nonetheless, these ideas open a world of vast possibility and potential, if we are willing to drop old paradigms and courageously walk through the gateway.

Thank you so much for following and reading this blog. For more motivational content, please visit the TAS Website. You are all AWESOME!

Ray

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