wandelaar

Getting things done?

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I still have a hard time dealing with concrete problems in a Taoist manner. That's not as it should be, I know. The solutions should come naturally. But that's not the way it works for me, I have to first understand the approach and then let it sink in. Only after that can it become second nature. So that's the approach followed in the topic: find rational cues for my unconscious to play with in the hope of stimulating it to come up with Taoist solutions to the concrete problems of life. I like to hear what other members of this forum think about it.

 

Some ideas to start with:

 

- Getting things done in a Taoist manner  means not focusing on the supposed "things" in the situation and not focusing on your own "doing" but instead on the relations between the things and empty spaces (or non-things) and on the natural evolution of the processes involved.

 

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19 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

Have you gone through the unlearning process yet?

 

No - I am only starting to understand what it's all about. It will not work for me to start unlearning before I understand (at least) the Tao Te Ching. Lot's of things are falling into place lately, so I hope after this topic I can start unlearning.

 

As I am only interested in philosophical Taoism I don't plan to study the many forms and practices of religious Taoism. Of course with practicing the Way will come new deeper forms of understanding, so there will probably - even for a philosophical Taoist - be no end of the road.

Edited by wandelaar
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Yes, both Lao and Chuang spoke to unlearning.  Let's not discard knowledge though.  That's a tricky concept.

 

And unlearning is not really becoming dumb.  It is more at questioning the many things we have been taught by others that appear to be in conflict with our emotional reaction to those teachings.

 

Mostly all I talk about here directly related to Taoism is the philosophy.  I realized some time ago that there is no place in my mind for religious or mythological thoughts.

 

I found that after reading a couple different translations of the Chuang Tzu I felt that there was more value for me in  the TTC.

 

You are correct.  There is no end to the road.  The end doesn't matter anyhow.  It's the journey that matters.  That's called life.

 

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28 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

Yes, both Lao and Chuang spoke to unlearning.  Let's not discard knowledge though.  That's a tricky concept.

 

And unlearning is not really becoming dumb.  It is more at questioning the many things we have been taught by others that appear to be in conflict with our emotional reaction to those teachings.

 

Well - that kind of unlearning started the moment I as a kid began to think for myself (questioning almost anything B)).

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We all process energy in different ways. Personally i find that my mind has a tendency to synthesize data from whatever i am toying with until i have a decent intellectual framework.  

 

Though the most important thing to moving with the flow of the DAO is daily practice of internal methods.  

Edited by StormHealer
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Liking this thread. I am more of a Chuang Tzu fan, but without following a religious lineage, I get just enough open-mindedness out of the philosophy to make me, I dunno, agnostic, I guess.

 

But yes, application in the material world is certainly a big thing that I think lots of fantasy-Taoists or new agers lack.

 

Are you into martial arts? Even of you're not, Bruce Lee's "The Tao of Kung Fu" book is quite refreshing. Speaks a lot about using the philosophy in martial arts with no hocus pocus.

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18 minutes ago, Rara said:

Are you into martial arts? Even of you're not, Bruce Lee's "The Tao of Kung Fu" book is quite refreshing. Speaks a lot about using the philosophy in martial arts with no hocus pocus.

 

I did some years of karate until I became to old to keep up the heavy training with mostly younger guys. Martial arts and Chinese paintings are two ways one can see Taoism put into practice. But to be viable as a way of living Taoism should also be applicable in ordinary daily life. 

 

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9 hours ago, wandelaar said:

I still have a hard time dealing with concrete problems in a Taoist manner. That's not as it should be, I know. The solutions should come naturally.

 

Sometimes you may find that you already know a lot more than you give yourself credit for.

 

9 hours ago, wandelaar said:

That's not as it should be, I know. The solutions should come naturally.

 

Notice what you already said.

 

9 hours ago, wandelaar said:

not as it should be

 

9 hours ago, wandelaar said:

should come naturally

 

Do you see it yet?

 

Where did you learn how things should be? Why "should?"

 

9 hours ago, Marblehead said:

Have you gone through the unlearning process yet?

 

-Lost

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@ Lost in Translation

 

I am not a native speaker. So I may be using English words in an unusual manner. Where I wrote "should" I didn't mean "morally should". What I meant was that actions that don't come naturally are not in the spirit of Lao tse and Chuang tse. And that is a simple fact. There is no moral obligation to act in the spirit of Lao tse and Chuang tse, but because I like philosophical Taoism I'm trying to put it into practice. It's a free choice. It's rather like somebody trying to become a rock star. They should be able to play rock music. Not in any moral sense, but because that's what it's all about.

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I see... Thank you for clarifying.

 

I was not implying any morality in my response. Instead, I was pointing out the idea of how something should be (supposed to be) vs how it actually is. It seemed you were saying that you were supposed to deal with things in a concrete manner and you were supposed to naturally find solutions. I was simply pointing to the fact that the basic assumption might be false. Maybe you are not supposed to deal with things in a concrete manner. Maybe solutions are not supposed to naturally find solutions. That is a possibility. Your path might very well be one of more abstract thinking. Maybe you are meant to focus more on ideas and to leave the concrete implementations to others. That way of life worked very well for Steve Jobs, for example.

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1 hour ago, Rara said:

I am more of a Chuang Tzu fan, but without following a religious lineage, I get just enough open-mindedness out of the philosophy to make me, I dunno, agnostic, I guess.

 

That's also an important point, being a philosophical Taoist implies being able to see situations from multiple perspectives and thus not being hindered by narrow thought patterns in finding solutions to life's problems.

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@ Lost in Translation


You are definitely right about me being a guy of the more philosophical type (I can't help it). And as there is room in the philosophy of Chuang tse for all kinds of people maybe I shouldn't be so obsessed about the practical applications of Taoism. Is that what you are hinting at?

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23 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

 

I did some years of karate until I became to old to keep up the heavy training with mostly younger guys. Martial arts and Chinese paintings are two ways one can see Taoism put into practice. But to be viable as a way of living Taoism should also be applicable in ordinary daily life. 

 

 

Absolutely. But the methods of application remain the same, and that can be in martial arts or anything else, you name it.

 

There is an art to everything. Or a "Tao", if you will.

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5 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

@ Lost in Translation


You are definitely right about me being a guy of the more philosophical type (I can't help it). And as there is room in the philosophy of Chuang tse for all kinds of people maybe I shouldn't be so obsessed about the practical applications of Taoism. Is that what you are hinting at?

 

Eh, kind of... What I am saying is to examine your motives. Why do you feel that something should be one way vs another way? Why do you think that you should do one thing and not another thing? That underlying assumption might be wrong. That might be an example of something you need to unlearn, as @Marblehead was so kind to point out.

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40 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

[...] being a philosophical Taoist implies being able to see situations from multiple perspectives and thus not being hindered by narrow thought patterns in finding solutions to life's problems.

 

Well, there you go, a few very clear and specific issues you see.

 

I’ll give you a Small Way to follow, just to try: observe how you problematize something with adjectives and look for the corresponding pairing that would balance your path towards a more productive direction.

 

Examples:

Are your thoughts narrow?

Balance that by ‚ÄĚwidening‚Ä̬†the thinking and input patterns. If you tell me they are narrow, then i advise increasing width and depth.

 

Are you able to see from multiple perspectives? Where are you standing to get that kind of view?! (Plz tell me?)

Is it helpful? Try observing just one of them that seems to best suit your idea of interaction and preferentially requires the least energy and meddling for all involved parts.

Observe one of the diametrally different perspectives, evaluate and compare merits, what changes the balance, how does the energy and meddling look from that side? Most importantly: why are you looking at multiple perspectives? Do you like any of them or are they messing with your clarity of purpose?

 

Why are solutions to problems not just appearing naturally ?

Let me suggest that promlems are conditions that hinder a certain outcome or smoothness. Dont get caught staring att just the existance of the obstacle, it has both surroundings and properties that might be useful or expose a way around or through it. Beware complications and oversimplifying.

 

 

None of the above is going to sound the least bit extraordinary or naturally arising from nothing, perhaps i might sound condescending writing this but i certainly mean every word exactly as i wrote it, literally, more or less at least:)

Thats because the 10k things werent born out of no-thing directly, there are processes and phases to account for.

Daoism is very pragmatic and the philosophical side is not so very interested in abstractions for the sake of general principles, at least imo.

The DDJ was written as advice to a king or leader of the people, it relies on the principles of the Dao to provide this advice, but i have a hard time seeing it as  vague allegories that adress anyone. Chuang tse is trickier, he hides the Dao but he speaks on many many different things to different audiences.

Sad thing is it’s sometimes hard to see who was the recieving the message and in what context.

 

Enough of my rambling now, i’m no expert at all. Btw, there’s this forum populated by a stumbling crowd of rowdy bums trying to figure stuff out, i think you’d like it :)

Also: good thread!

 

PS just to mess with ya:

does Being a philosophical Taoist really imply anything? Why is it different from being a scientific Taoist or a philosophical scientist? What are you implying about me good sir?! ;)

Edited by Rocky Lionmouth
Ramblings, continued.

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10 hours ago, wandelaar said:

Getting things done in a Taoist manner  means not focusing on the supposed "things" in the situation and not focusing on your own "doing" but instead on the relations between the things and empty spaces (or non-things) and on the natural evolution of the processes involved.

 

42 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

Being a philosophical Taoist implies being able to see situations from multiple perspectives and thus not being hindered by narrow thought patterns in finding solutions to life's problems.

 

Are there some more general principles?

Edited by wandelaar

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18 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

@ Rocky Lionmouth

 

Sorry - but I don't understand your post.

 

Aw crap, you have no idea how often i hear that lately :/

 

My quoting your text is because you adress the core of your questions (as i understand them) very plainly, which is a good point to start from.

Then i suggested a Small Dao or Way to approach it and enumerated a few examples based on your plain description of the conundrum at hand.

 

I seeded a few references to DDJ and was trying to employ humor to lighten and deepen my examples.

 

If something is narrow and it is a problem, try wide or even more narrow instead. Bow you percieve and describe something matters, everything has an ‚ÄĚopposite‚ÄĚ, maybe it can shed light?

 

How can you see from multiple perspectives if you only have one body and at least one functioning eye? (Sounds like magics to me, please teach me?)

Perspectives are a dime a dozen, you need to find what you want to do and then research approaches to achieve that goal, preferrably not spending too much energy or messing about unnecessarily. Pick a spot and start, look at its descriptive counterpart and evaluate both, then start over.

 

Life’s only problem is that living creatures are born, get sick and die. A problem, being such a thing that hinders moving on as you were, with life means the flow is hindered and perhaps stopped. If movement stops, life ends. Observe the onstacle and its context, compare it to previous experiences that seem analogous and see if you can find a common denominator. For instance: a large rock is obstructi g your path. Water flows downhill and around stuff, can you emulate water to get around that large rock? If not, try fire, wood, metal or earth.

Never stop, keep going, try everything and take note of what works.

 

What came after that was just a lot of bla bla bla.

The PS was my trying to poke holes in your idea of the Implications of Being a Philosophical Taoist. It doesnt matter if you are one or not, you’re still going to be you at that exact spot and time you are. What to do?

 

Any clearer? :)

 

 

I hope so or i need to go see someone to teach me how to communicate and express myself more clearly.

Edited by Rocky Lionmouth

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1 hour ago, Lost in Translation said:

Eh, kind of... What I am saying is to examine your motives. Why do you feel that something should be one way vs another way? Why do you think that you should do one thing and not another thing? That underlying assumption might be wrong. That might be an example of something you need to unlearn, as @Marblehead was so kind to point out.

 

I don't get it. There is no why to my motives. So there is nothing to examine. There are just things I like and things I don't like. Maybe a biologist or psychologist could say something more about it, but to me they are just a given, or inner motive force. All I myself could say about it would be (doubtful) rationalizations. 

 

Edited by wandelaar
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@ Lost in Translation

 

Are you saying I'm already acting naturally in my own way? And it would thus be unnatural for me to learn the way of Lao tse and Chuang tse. But I'm not quite happy with the over-intellectual way I'm living now. I feel practicing Taoism could somehow loosen up my approach to life. And besides that I see it as an interesting experiment to test the practical real-life value of Taoism, not in some special environment, but in daily life itself. You could call that a motivation, but why I feel that way and whether that's the whole story I don't know.

Edited by wandelaar

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38 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

@ Lost in Translation

 

Are you saying I'm already acting naturally in my own way? And it would thus be unnatural for me to learn the way of Lao tse and Chuang tse. But I'm not quite happy with the over-intellectual way I'm living now. I feel practicing Taoism could somehow loosen up my approach to life. And besides that I see it as an interesting experiment to test the practical real-life value of Taoism, not in some special environment, but in daily life itself. You could call that a motivation, but why I feel that way and whether that's the whole story I don't know.

 

I think that's a great idea.  But, in all honesty, I do see a paradox in your message.  You say, "loosen up my approach to life." Yes! I think all people can do with a little bit of this... But then you say "interesting experiment to test the practical real-life value".... This sounds to be more over-intellectualizing it...

 

My idea would be this: Forget the practical application, forget figuring out the philosophy.  Forget it all and don't really try to do anything.  Just be in the moment and see what happens. That's a great experiment, but you can't look for any outcome. Simplify your life, in as many ways as you can.  Turn the TV off while you eat.  Focus on chewing.  Sit alone for 15 minutes a day and just breathe and be still.  Don't try to do anything.  When you hear people arguing about politics, study their body language. Don't listen to the words.  Observe them, but don't interact.  Spend time in nature.

 

The "Philosophy of  the Tao" will naturally come to you, eventually.  Then you won't even need to study Lao Tzu.  You can read the books and say, "Oh, I know what he's talking about here." 

 

Just some ideas...

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, wandelaar said:

Are you saying I'm already acting naturally in my own way? And it would thus be unnatural for me to learn the way of Lao tse and Chuang tse.

 

No. Not at all. I am not saying that.

 

What I am saying is that you (and me, and everyone else) have assumptions about what to do and how to do it. Theses assumptions are so foundational to your being (and my being, and everyone else's being) that they are axiomatic. They are taken as facts - unquestioned. But they are not facts. They are assumptions.

 

These assumptions must be observed. They must be questioned. And ultimately they must be unlearned.

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