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Hi all,

My name is Christopher Willmot, a 54 year old from Durham, UK. I've been hanging around with the good people at for the last few months. Noticed some of the interesting discussions here from Google Reader, and would like to be more than a passive viewer here, too.


Brief history


The book that has most frequently been at my side since I was 16 is probably "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki. I discovered Taoism at 18/19 but a year later became a Christian (and you know what University Christian Unions think of Zen, Taoism and That Sort Of Thing!). I lived for several years in a Christian Community, got married and had children. While earning my living as a schoolteacher, I was also a Methodist Local Preacher until 1995 but haven't been involved with the church since.


In the last six months or so I've (re-)discovered the I Ching, and have been reading Thomas Cleary's translations of Lui-I-Ming's commentary on the I Ching and "Awakening to the Tao". This has reminded me of something I read when 18 and made a big "that's me" sort of impression. Attributed to Confucius:

At fifteen I set my heart on learning (the Tao);

At thirty I took my stand;

At forty I had no doubts;

At fifty I was conscious of the decrees of Heaven;

At sixty I was already obedient to those decrees;

At seventy I just followed my heart's desire, without overstepping the bounds (of the right).

And today


Although I hadn't really thought of this during my twenties, thirties or forties, this has been an accurate description so far. It is especially interesting that in my fifties I have tuned in to the Mandate of Heaven (the Yijing) in a new way -- flashing lights and all. I recognise I'm a latecomer and there's very little I can do except live simply, day-to-day. But being time-rich (I'm retired) is an opportunity to practice "being in the moment" and enjoying each day. As the Beatles once said, "It's Getting Better All The Time".

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