Category Archives: Tao Te Ching

Weekly Meditation: Words of Wisdom

I still really like this as an all encompassing New Age symbol

As a New Ager I find truth in most of the religions in the world.  And while I love to quote from A Course In Miracles(and could probably do so for years going at the pace of one passage a week) it has occurred to me that I should, in true New Age fashion, pull a selection of quotes from other holy books.  Before anyone gets offended it is meant as a compliment, I’m not trying to insult your religion.

This week I thought I would pull a quote from the Tao Te Ching, the central text of Taoism.  Written by Lao-Tzu before departing China to escape it’s superficial and corrupt life, he left a short book of his wisdom for the people of China (yes I realize that there is a lot of myth tied to that story, I still like it). The book is probably the shortest holy text in the world (unless you want to count individual books of the Old, New, and Gnostic Testaments of the Bible).  Written as a series of 81 short poems, the Tao Te Ching (The Book of Virtues of the Way), the book is often a series of double and triple meanings crammed into short, cryptic phrases.  (Given that Chinese is also a language that poorly translates into English, poetry especially, it is always best to read three or four translations if you’re going to try to read the book.)

For this week I’m going to go with a quote from the 19th poem in the Tao.  (I’m just going to go with my favorite translation).

“Give up kindness, renounce morality.

And men will rediscover piety and love.”–Lao Tzu

So what does this mean?  That you should give up being kind and moral?  No, silly.  It means that you should stop doing things because you are supposed to them because they’re rules or codes or values you’re supposed to hold.  Things you’ve been taught to follow.  Ideals society wants you to do.  Why? Because when you force people to do things you breed resentment, hostility, rebellion.  You should do things because you want to, because your personal reason dictates it, because it makes you feel good…not because someone says you should.

 

Why is this the weekly meditation?  This week I want you to ask yourself if you’re doing something because you want to and it makes sense…or because you’re expected to.  Reason and your heart are fine things to follow, and they will often agree with society’s rules, but make sure they are before you act.  I promise you you will be more in tune with yourself and the universe if you do what you want and think is right more than what is only expected of you…even if it’s the same thing, the intent and the reason make a huge difference.

 

 

 

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A final word on Christmas Charity Part II of II—New Age Charity

 

Okay, so in the last blog I think I’ve shown all the idiots who claim Christmas is a time for redistribution are without basis.  Why?  Because Christmas is a time of charity, and taking money by force is not charity.

 

Charity is not blind altruism and denial of self.

Charity is not government redistribution of income.

Charity is not welfare or entitlements handed out by the state.

 

But just tearing down bad philosophy is only half the job.  You need to show what charity should be.  And as a New Ager I have a tendency to look to all the world’s spiritual teachings (not just one book but many) for insight into truth.  So don’t take my word for it…but let’s start with that one book most in the West turn to…

 

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. “

Proverbs 11:24-25

Clear and simple.  Charity is a virtue.  But notice that it is not given as an order but advice that it benefits the giver.  Odd it doesn’t seem to mention anything about “fair shares” or “moral duty” or “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth.”  No, it seems to be personal charity and personal charity alone that is praised and rewarded here.

 

“Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “

Matthew 6:1-4

 

Seems to me that this is saying that charity and generosity are supposed to be private acts done by individuals.  And the closest thing to welfare and government entitlements at the time (the synagogues) is condemned as the work of hypocrites because it is done neither for the spiritual good of the giver or the desire to help the receiver…only for the vain attention that the public act of giving brings.  How much more despicable and ethically reprehensible it must be to demand that others give but that you don’t have to.  

 

Or we could turn to the East…

“Give up kindness, renounce morality,
 And men will rediscover piety and love.–Tao Te Ching 19

 

We have this in amongst the Tao numerous libertarian statements we have this one which suggests when you no longer demand altruism and rigid standards of morality and duty that people are once again allowed to deal with each other like human beings and then will treat others as such.

 

Or we could go to one of my favorites…

 

“Charity given for the sake of righteousness, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness. But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion. And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance.”—Bhagavad-Gita  Ch17. 20-22

 

Notice how all conceptions of income redistribution and welfare seem to meet more the definition of “mode of ignorance”…and really it’s only called ignorance because I think Krishna thought “shit-for-brains” lacked the poetic nature that the rest of his words in the Gita had.

 

All of these quotes seem to be saying that charity and generosity should be personal, not a massive more by society.  They seem to be saying it should be done to improve the soul of the giver…not all that concerned with improving the state of receiver because you have no way to control the free will they have (although both the Gita and Christ seem to imply you should not give indiscriminately, but rather choose the object of your generosity to be a person worthy of such a gift).  All of these seem to suggest the amount to be given is a personal choice not some concept of what your fair share is as determined by society.  All of these are concerned with your soul, not with ending poverty (in fact I think Christ said something about there always being poor and you should worry more about personal connections with loved ones than with the poor…but then again, unlike many liberals who say they’re Christians, I’ve actually read the Bible).

 

So be charitable.  But because it feels good, not because you have any duty to do it.

 

And I’ll leave you with this from my favorite book, A Course in Miracles.

 

 

“The teacher of God is generous out of Self interest.”  A Course in Miracles Manual For Teachers Chapter 4 Part VII

 

 

 

 

 

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Misconceptions about New Agers: That we’re just a bunch of hippie pacifists

Arjunas-Chariot

Krishna drives Arjuna into battle

“Think thou also of thy duty and do not waver. There is no

greater good for a warrior than to fight a righteous war.

There is a war that opens the doors of heaven, Arjuna!

Happy the warriors whose fate is to fight such war.”

Krishna to Arjuna, Bhagavad-Gita 2:31-32

As I pointed out in Republicans and Reincarnation, New Agers would always prefer to deal with people through reasonable means—discussion, diplomacy, compromise. However, we’re not crazy (ok, there are lot of people who say they’re New Agers who are out of their minds…but this is not a problem that only New Agers seems to have, it seems to affect every religion…some in fact seem to be nearly entirely made up of genocidal lunatics) we realize that not all of the world is open to being rational and humane. There are people out there who will always resort to force and never use reason. And these people are not just sitting quietly and being miserable bastards in the back of their trailers. No, sadly far too many of them have acquired a disturbing amount of power and control over the lives of others (Kim Jung Il, Ayatollah Khameni, Ahmadinejad, Hu Jintao, Bashar al-Assad, Putin, a couple million Islamofacists, and a hoard of more petty criminals who are just out to torture one or two people in their immediate sphere of influence). There are people who will use violence to hurt other people as their first course of action—these people (I use the term loosely) cannot be reasoned with because they are beyond reason, they cannot be negotiated with because they are beyond being capable of being trusted, they cannot even be appeased because appeasement only means delaying a confrontation at the cost of someone else. And for these people the only way to deal with them is violence.

And New Agers recognize this. As New Agers we look to all the enlightened souls through the entire world’s history for guidance…

Oh look, here’s the cover to a New Age book…looks like a sword in his hand.

and when you do that you can see quite a bit of embracing violence when no other option is available. Christ didn’t exactly first engage the money changers in a polite conversation. Krishna didn’t advise Arjuna to sit down with his enemies and sing Kumbaya, no, he told him to go out and slaughter them to a man. Lao Tzu didn’t say peace was always the way, in fact he said that one must use weapons when no other option is available (Tao Te Ching 31) and to wage war in a rapid and surprise manner (57). Saint Joan of Arc killed quite a few people with the help of God. Even the Dalai Lama ordered the Tibetan Army to defend against the invading Chinese butchers. Granted peace is always preferable, but peace is an end to be achieved, not a means to be acted upon.

Pacifism is not the way of a New Ager as it says that the life that we have been given is worthless and that we will simply give in when confronted with violence, that we will cower to force rather than live our lives, and that we will sit quietly as others suffer.

Not on your life.

To be a New Ager is to want peace in both your soul and the world, but that means you must confront evil whenever and wherever you find it with all force appropriate. Violence is seldom appropriate, but when it is a question of your safety or the safety of another, then violence against someone who has initiated force is always preferable to letting the suffering continue.

As a modern example…the correct action for a New Ager if you had found Sandusky in the shower molesting a child: beat him to a state of unconsciousness with the nearest blunt instrument (if you want to go all the way to killing him I’ve got no issue with that, child molesters are possibly the sickest perversion of human life imaginable) and get the child away, then call the cops…clearly no one at Penn State is a good New Ager.

Now some very ignorant (and cowardly) people have tried to throw in my face that I have also used the mantra “I am love, I give love, I receive love” as being in contradiction to my strong defense of national security and harsh punishment of violent criminals. They see that this New Age sentiment is somehow in contradiction to the willingness to defend those who are suffering. This shows that some people don’t understand what love is. Love is an expression of our souls that recognizes the worth and value of the soul in people around us. Violence initiated against the innocent is pretty much in direct opposition to that emotion—and while I don’t believe in some kind of personified version of evil (like the devil), those actions are evil, and they must be stopped because they desecrate the value and sanctity of the soul, they are so opposed to the idea of love that someone who is dedicated to loving others must be dedicated to doing everything in their power to stopping those actions. Yes, maybe we can talk and reason and rehabilitate the person who initiated the violence once they have been stopped, but the violence has to stop first. And in any conflict that would require violence (i.e. one where violence of some kind has already been initiated and where you are in a position to do something about it) everyone has the choice to either do nothing or to use violence to stop the person at fault…to do nothing is choice that sides with the that which is opposed to love, it put all action on a completely morally relevant scale and says there is no good or evil, no right or wrong to justify the fact that such a choice is wrong and is evil.  To not help when you can is always evil and about as opposed to love as it gets.

For individuals this means first and foremost you have to incarcerate them if possible (or kill them if that is not a viable option). For governments like the tyrannies of Iran, China, Cuba, Syria, Libya (this list could go on) these governments must be removed first because negotiating with nations whose stated policy is evil is only giving sanction to their evil…and it’s about as opposed to the concept of love as you can get. To embrace the cowardly pacifism as the person who chided me over the seeming contradiction of love and acting against terrorists seemed to imply, would be to say that I do not value the lives of those who are suffering, it would be to say that those who have given into their worst inclinations should not be stopped, that their violence was acceptable—it would be to give into indifference which is something even worse than violence or hate.

A good way I would suggest to deal with all violence is the advice, “Never start a fight, but always finish them.”

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Republicans and Reincarnation is for sale!!!!

It’s for sale.

Republicans and Reincarnation: The Conscience of A New Age Conservative is finally for sale!!

You should buy a copy. Or three. One for you. One for your best friend whom you want to have one of the best books of the 21st century. And one just because you never know when you’ll need a back up copy.

Buy it at my publisher AuthorHouse

Barnes & Noble

Amazon  (although they apparently are not selling the Kindle version just yet, but they should have it up soon).  

Prices for the book are lower at my publisher, prices for the Nook at B&N is lower than the price at my publisher.  (Royalties are higher from my publisher, so you know where my bias lies).

Feel free to write a review or two…Feel free to mention it to every carbon based life-form you know…feel free to forward information to any member of the media you know.

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Weekly Meditation: The 3rd Chakra Overcoming Inaction

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

This week we’re going back to that list of things you want.

Now for the solar plexus chakra, everything is about action so this week we are going to focus on doing something to get what you want to bring you happiness.

In point of fact you will need to do two things this week that will bring you closer to that goal.

Don’t give me or yourself excuses. Go out and accomplish something.

Move out of your parents house. Sing up for a course you need. Find the name and contact information of the real estate agent you are going to use to buy your dream house. Write the first chapter to your book.

Don’t tell yourself why you shouldn’t, just go out there and get what you need done done.

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A Series of Unfortunate Blogs: Part IV–The Other Problems with Socialism

(Thanks to Tony for suggesting I bring this point up)

“[…]The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become. […]
The more subsidies you have,
the less self-reliant people will be.”–Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching #57

So by now it should be fairly clear that I blame socialism and stupidity for the worst of the economic problems we are suffering–because socialism in the long run can lead to nothing but economic destruction, mass poverty, corruption and inefficiency. However despite the fact that trying socialism in part or in whole is the economic equivalent of taking a large mixture of sleeping pills and vodka, there is actually something worse than the fact that socialism doesn’t work. And that problem is that despite the public statement that socialism is diametrically opposed to it, socialism and fascism aren’t that different–that’s right they’re both totalitarian states.

Now clearly I’m not exactly treading on new ground. Milton Friedman makes it clear in his works “Capitalism and Freedom” and “Free to Choose” that the more government control you have of the economy (the more socialism) the less freedom you have to live your life. “Road to Serfdom” by F.A. Hayek makes the same point. Works by Ludwig Von Mises, Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan (before he turned to the dark side), the entire Austrian School of economics, also have and will continue to beat this drum. Or at least we will all keep pointing this out until people get the fact that government involvement reduces your freedom.

But as it doesn’t appear people have got the socialism=evil equation, I will point this out again.

First off the government can only intrude in the economy when it has the power to enforce its legislation. And where does it get the money to enforce those laws (because despite what Barrack Obama may think, you do actually need to have money to run things)? I’m sure you know it gets it’s money from taxes. And taxes inevitably come from your pocket. But tax the rich you say! And then the rich stop investing, stop giving to charity, stop working as hard…this leads to an economic slow down and inflation of prices and/or you losing your job. So it hurt your wallet. But tax corporations you say! Pretty much the same problem, oh and the corporation will raise the prices on whatever product or service they offer to offset the taxes. Taxes are still hurting you. But tax imports from foreign countries you say! Which again causes the prices of their imports to rise, which causes whatever final product you were going to buy to also go up. But, the really slow among you who haven’t noticed a pattern here say tax (fill in anything it all ends with you paying more). Taxes will always take money from you.

That money was stuff you could use to do things, buy things, invest, save, retire. The less money you have, the fewer options you have. The fewer options you have the fewer opportunities you have to pursue happiness. Freedom isn’t just having the right and license to it, it is also having the practical opportunity. Now that doesn’t mean you are only free if you get to take vacations every summer in Italy at the Ritz. But it is freedom if no one stops you from EARNING the money do that and then puts up no barriers to you using that money that you have earned to take the vacation you want. Usually speaking taking the money you earned is a pretty big barrier.

Now before you bring up the objection that governments need money to run, I will agree with you. And we need government to protect our rights, but at the point that they are taking money they don’t need to protect your rights, they begin infringing on your rights. Under the best of circumstance it is a difficult balance to maintain perfectly, and thus because we deal with humans, reason dictates we won’t require that governments take not a single cent more than it needs because you can’t figure the exact cost of protecting the freedom of 300 million citizen down to the last penny…however, trust me when we have a 1.3 trillion dollar deficit for a single year, we are well into the side of taking far too much. (Current estimates put the total US Debt at $43,000 per person…what could you do with 43 Grand, because for me having that much money would free me up to do a lot of things).

But it doesn’t just end at the fact that taxes limit your freedom. Because that enforcement exists to do one thing, stop people from doing things. Government cannot do anything but stop people from doing things; that is basically its only function. Under the best circumstances government only stops people from hurting other people either through violence or fraud and to organize those few things which no private organization can possibly do (and it is a really short list). Government has no other legitimate function. But legitimate functions have little relevance to people like Obama and his ilk. Everything the government does hinders your ability to do things. Now while I like the fact that it tries to stop people from robbing and killing me…I’m not so thrilled with the other 90% of the things federal, state, county and city governments do.

Now if we take a look at how rules, rules which the government says are meant to help you, only end up ruining your life. Let’s take, oh, so many to choose from… I could talk about how each and every one of those dollars that are funneled into the Department of Education is a complete and total waste because any federal dollar spent on Education goes to the programs that don’t help students, i.e., teacher’s unions who help keep America as a truly terrible institution or teacher “education” which teaches teachers things that they never will (or should) use in their classrooms…all of this leading to not providing an education but actually preventing many children from getting an education, which is one of the tools to personal freedom. Or how about when cities have privatized sections of freeways and made them toll roads then the private company makes money, provides roads with better surfaces, fewer traffic problems, faster traffic, and actually pays less in keeping up those roads at higher quality than what it costs you to have the government take care of the roads…thus the government controlling the roads is taking time out of your life away in terms of traffic jams. Or the fact that most of that money is just wasted in government.

But instead let’s take one of the things people generally think positively of: The FDA. You think you like the FDA, after all you don’t like salmonella infected eggs (oh…I guess they dropped the ball there) or vegetables with e. coli (ugh, well it’s government, mistakes are to be expected)…but we certainly like the fact that we can know that the drugs we take, be it over the counter or prescription drugs, have been completely and thoroughly tested for our safety. Don’t we like that? Maybe we would, if the FDA didn’t seem to be out to kill us with their drug testing. The US has standards for drugs that are obscenely over cautionary. So much so that an unhealthy chunk of the cost of your pills was the cost of getting it tested. Most drugs are available in foreign countries long before they are available in the US, and as far as I know we have no reciprocity with any country on their testing. You know if the British, Canadians, French, and Germans all say a drug is safe, I trust those countries to have conducted their own extensive tests…why do we have to wait another five years and billions of dollars to get what may be a life saving drug. Or try this, FDA forbids people with end-stage terminal cancers from taking experimental drugs because it might be detrimental to their health. Please read that last sentence. It might be detrimental to the health of someone who is about to die…really what’s the worst that could happen? They die. Which they were going to anyway…but maybe, just maybe they could live a few more months just on hope and the placebo effect (mental perspective is one of the most important variables in survival, as any doctor will tell you). An then there is the fact that patent rights on drugs expire more quickly than any other form of patent which means that to recover the money they spent on the research (and testing) of the successful drug (as well as the unsuccessful drugs) companies have to charge astronomical prices for the drugs while they hold the patent…thus the government is one of the primary reasons why medical expenses are so high. Oh, and to counter the fact that the companies would go bankrupt and just stop developing new drugs because the government has made the industry so unfriendly, the government gives out billions of your tax dollars in research subsidies…which as we know that money came out of your pocket. (And did you know medical costs are often so high because of fraud most of it perpetrated under Medicare and Medicaid, which again you pay for). So yes the FDA is out to kill you, which I think tends to put a damper on that whole pursuit of happiness thing. (Can’t wait to see what Obamacare does to this well oiled machine!) Do you think any other government organization is any better?

Or try the issue of licensing. No I’m not talking about marriages (although one wonders what right a government has to say who can and can’t enter a religious bond) I’m talking about businesses. Right now I’m very glad I don’t live in Boston. I read that the city is requiring bloggers who make money from the ads that they put on their blogs (they are nice ads aren’t they, why not check them out if you get a chance) to get a business license. The license costs hundreds of dollars–most of these people made only a few dozen dollars. (In case you’re wondering these people were paying state and federal taxes on these few dollars they made…but apparently the city wanted their cut too). Now charging someone to post their opinion and trying to make a few bucks off it sounds like a violation of the freedom of expression, but apparently the liberals in Boston don’t hold that right as sacred when money is on the line. Then of course there is the shutting down of children’s lemonade stands by city health officials. Texas cities charging $25 fees to have a garage sale. The government burning down your crops of wheat because they didn’t approve it being done (no, really that happened). All of these things seem to suggest that the government doesn’t believe you have the right to any kind of property exchange they haven’t approved.

Oh yeah I’m feeling real free.

Granted this isn’t Soviet Russia or Red China (but if we keep selling our debt to them, well…), but liberty isn’t usually revoked in one grand move. Rome did not fall in a day. Nor were our freedoms won in a single bill. Nor will they be revoked all at one time in a single bill, but it’s through the methods of socialism that they are slowly, but surely eaten away. And when they are gone, socialist states control your life, your work, your retirement, your vacations, and everything else from conception to cremation.

“Therefore the Wise Ruler says:
I make no law,
and the people become honest[…]
I do nothing
and the people become rich.”
–Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching #57

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