Action of the Tao: Wu Wei

Those who stand on tippy toes do not stand firmly; those who rush ahead do not get very far; those who try to outshine others dim their own light. Lao Tzu

Why do we always end up wasting our efforts trying to control a situation with questionable results? Why do we attempt to gain knowledge chasing external objects, exhausting our bodies in the process and burdening our minds only to end up in discontent?

As humans, we tend to act in ways that are counterproductive in our attempts to alter the natural way. We simply end up making things worse. We tend to remove ourselves from the natural flow of life. Trying to alter what nature has intended is like paddling upstream, or swimming against the tide. This is exhausting, pointless and gets us nowhere.

What if we pursued a less strident way?

We humans attempt to conceptualize things that are beyond our understanding. The result is the creation of deception, the establishment of artifice. These deceptions and artifices make life understandable for us humans, but by trying to comprehend we suffer at the expense of meaning.

Taoists find meaning when they learn to know and feel the Tao even though we cannot comprehend it. Complex and paradoxical as it might seem to the western mind, the art of not trying can yield great accomplishments and lead to deep meaning.

“The five colors blind the eye. The five tones deafen the ear. The five flavors dull the pallet. Racing, hunting, and galloping about only disturb the mind. Wasting energy to obtain rare objects only impedes one’s growth.” Tao Te Ching

The five senses of the human body are ego driven. They keep us grounded in society’s illusions. When we focus our attention onto any aspect, be it visual, tonal, tactile, taste or olfactory information must necessarily be filtered out.

If all the data was absorbed, the human mind would be overwhelmed. We filter out information according to our senses in our younger years. What had left impressions form the basis of our conscious and subconscious mind and forms our programming.

This information becomes our foundation for working with our concept of reality.

People also search for physical aspects in order to appease the craving of a void within. They believe something in the physical world will gratify the longing for satisfaction and yield a sense of completeness. But nothing at the human level can ever fill the void unless the search leads one inward. And the more busyness one tries to fill up the moments with, the further away the true treasure will be found.

Seek and you shall find is not suggesting the need to run around searching through the human experiences in order to find satisfaction, chasing external objects, exhausting our bodies in the process and burdening our minds; as noted, this only leads to discontent.

First, we must train our ego for sustainable enlightenment, otherwise the ego will spend our life cycle trying to distract us from the authentic goal, which is to connect with our Source, and realize our birthright.

When we understand that human senses are surface level, that the spiritual senses are found within we can apply these aspects to the physical realm and experience human emotions with a deeper, more meaningful appreciation.

The art of not trying, what the Taoist refers to as wu wei, yields a heart working from the core of unconditional love; to have the feeling of gratitude with no human strings attached; to trust without conditions; to be able to believe with no limitations.

This takes power beyond the physical world. This is action without acting. This is wu wei. Paradoxical? Perhaps. The Tao reminds us that our humaness can never lead us to everlasting peace and joy by striving.

 We must search inward to master this truth.

By giving form and making rules we exclude everything outside of these artificial boundaries in our effort to get a sense of control. And our ever-changing world makes our illusion obsolete tomorrow.

The principle of wu wei suggests non action will allow us to go inward, be quiet and still, until the time is right and then we do not try, but act, with the conviction and effortlessness of flow state, in a smooth, painless manner.

When we are quiet and still, when we commune with our inner world, we tend to be able to see things more clearly. The truth will come to you. Remember, the prize does not chase.

In the west, our tradition sees nondoing as uselessness and unproductive, without progress. But the Taoist might counter do not confuse motion with progress.

The Universe is in a constant state of flux. When that flux encroaches on our illusion of structure and comprehension we tend to overreact and make things worse than they already are. So often, problems seem to work themselves out and our trying to fix things or improve things leads us to distance ourselves from the natural course.

Why do we humans repeatedly act in ways that are unnatural? We kid ourselves that we are trying to better the world, but the results are questionable. We need look no further than the environmental degradation of our mother Earth.

Perhaps it is time to embrace the natural, to fill the human void by going inward to connect with source and to practice wu wei, growing comfortable in nondoing until guided to do naturally.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Action of the Tao: Wu Wei

Trust Requires Surrender

When I turned 40 I finagled a Porsche.

The newfangled internet had made it much easier to locate and acquire vehicles that were previously the domain of exclusive dealers and inside networks. Now you could scour the country to find a deal on eBay and other sites and the competition drove down prices.

I found a 1982 911 in Reno, Nevada. It had 70k miles and was under $10k. I put it on a credit card and drove it home.

I was going to “restore” it. It didn’t take long to realize that restoration was expensive. And meticulous. I was too busy for meticulous, I just wanted to go fast.

A fellow lobbyist and friend, Carl Brakenseik, had a Porsche, was a member of the Porsche Club and frequently attended races at Nor Cal race tracks. Except the Porsche guys don’t call it racing, they call it high performance driver education (HPDE). He hooked me.

Setting the car up to go faster was only slightly less expensive than restoring it, but instead of tucking it away in the garage after you restore it, after you race prep you take it out and drive the wheels off of it.

Before they let you on these race tracks you must learn the rules and get instruction. There are the fast driving techniques like turn in, track out, braking zones, trail braking and heel/toe shifting; then there are the track rules and the flags that represent them; then there are the nuances of the track that aren’t written anywhere, you learn them from your instructor whose motto is do as I say, not as I do.

The whole idea is to use the entire track and drive just inside, but right up the edge of, the traction point.

My first track day was at Thunderhill Raceway. About 80 miles north of Sacramento and seven miles west of I5 at the town of Willows, CA, the cow pastures give way to this racetrack. in the middle of nowhere.

Like a kid on Christmas eve I didn’t sleep much the night before. Arriving at dawn preparations begin getting everything out of your vehicle, adjusting air pressure taping off glass. The drivers’ meeting out of the way and everyone briefed the run groups began.

I was paired with a cool instructor who had a badass race car and I would ride with him when it was his group and he rode with me when it was mine. Russ Hildebrand was a city attorney for a suburb city in the Sacramento area and an all around nice guy.

I had an initial tendency to overgrip the wheel which made for not so smooth turns- smooth equals fast, which he made clear immediately, so I loosened my grip. With each lap he added new nuances.

Thunderhill is a really cool track. There are several configurations now, but at the time it was three miles with 15 turns. A road course that sported elevation changes in addition to the turns and straight aways. Remembering that smooth equals fast, these elevation changes are tricky because they tend to unsettle the car.

Every track has its own personality and THill is no different.

From the outset turn one at the end of the start/finish straightaway has a short braking zone and a hard left turn in and it begins.

Turn two is a carousel with a big sweeping turn and late apex.

Turn five has a climb/turn/descend/turn at the bottom combo that will hurt you if not played well.

Turn eight is not fully appreciated until you have enough experience to enter without braking. It takes some real nerve and the trust that comes with experience to lay off the brake and unwind all of the way to the other side of the track at exit- I have seen drivers pitched up onto the bank from carrying too much speed.

Turn nine we’ll come back to.

Turn 10 is a hard left after a straight with a short unwind before you go into the kind of esses of 11/12/13, which once you get the timing of you can flatten out into almost one turn.

Fourteen and fifteen are a big roundhouse after the back straight that require apex discipline in order to have the car settled to maximize speed into the main straight away/finish.

It is turn nine however that taught me that the pathway to trust is through surrender. Coming out of eight not having braked you climb into nine hot with a left sweep after which the bottom falls out with a steep elevation loss.

Even when you have driven the course many times and you know where the track goes, not being able to see is terrifying. The tendency is to downshift and brake as you crest over the hill, but this is not smooth, unsettles the car and breaks your rhythm.

The key to nailing turn nine at Thunderhill, said Russ, was to fix your eyes on the water tower in the distance, which rose above the horizon and if you aligned on it, you would be in the center of the track to speed out of nine and into 10.

To nail turn nine at Thunderhill I had to get out of my head and follow my gut, my intuition. In order to trust I was in the right place I had to surrender my need to see the track and follow a path I knew to be there even though my eyes couldn’t see it.

If you are in a place in life where your eyes don’t see and your path eludes you perhaps it is time to surrender to your intuition and trust the power of your subconscious mind to help you find answers through the application of hypnotherapy.

Maybe answers to your health, your career, your behavior, your relationship are just a hypnotherapy session away.

Maybe just letting the soothing surrender of trusting your powerful subconscious mind through a hypnotherapy session can help you take a break from your crazy world, or get a fresh perspective.

Hypnotherapy is a powerful modality for positive change. Call for a free consultation today …

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Trust Requires Surrender

Are you hiding?

If you ride a motorcycle, especially on the freeways and highways of southern California, the first law that you learn, and its not in the Vehicle Code, is that no one sees you.

No one.

Not even when they look right at you!

So motorcyclists have a recognition behavior. It’s a down-low wave.

And if you don’t ride, or you’re not paying close attention, you’ll miss it. But not the other motorcyclist, they saw it and returned it.

It says to other motorcyclists, “no one else sees you, but I see you.”

In our busy modern life we often don’t want to be seen and hide in any number of ways.

When we do come out into the “open” it’s through carefully groomed social media personas. Even if this isn’t your intent, you still do it.

But hiding creates issues and overtime can compound, magnified by our self talk and thinly veiled by a host of defense mechanisms.

Sometimes all we need to do to get past the experiences that lead us to hide is enter a deeply relaxed state and focus our mind on our younger self- our inner child.

If you’re done hiding and ready to resolve a thing, or two, that you’ve been holding on to, and/or hiding from, let’s talk.

A well placed hug and I love you to that younger you could just be what it takes to lift the weight of the world.

Go to normanplotkin.com to schedule your free consultation today.

 

  

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Are you hiding?

Use Discomfort to Signal Change

The lobster is a soft bodied creature with a hard exterior shell.

The lobster is a soft bodied creature with a hard exterior shell.

As the lobster grows, it is confined by its shell.

With this growth comes a great deal of discomfort.

When the discomfort becomes too great, the lobster finds a rocky shelter safe from predators and sheds its shell

The lobster then grows a new shell.

Growth causes discomfort and signals to the lobster to change.

And as the lobster continues to grow, it repeats the process of finding a shelter, shedding its shell and growing a new one.

Now if the lobster, experiencing great discomfort, went to see a doctor, the doctor would give him some pain pills to make him more comfortable.

And no growth would occur.

Don’t be the lobster who goes to the doctor, be the lobster who uses the discomfort to signal change.

If you are experiencing discomfort and seek meaningful change, let’s talk.

There are non drug related actions you can take like hypnotherapy that can help you achieve meaningful change.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Use Discomfort to Signal Change

Post Modern Politics

Kurt Vonnegut famously wrote: “There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.” And it doesn’t matter which side holds the office. It seems that this flaw may now extend to all politicians. Of course, Americans love to love their politician and hate everyone else’s.  In fact, in 1990, Californians passed overwhelmingly term limits and at the same time returned 96 percent of incumbents.

As we approach the midterm elections there is a frenetic energy building. But it’s not the excitement depicted in the 70s film with Robert Redford, The Candidate, it’s mean and nasty, it’s hater accusing hater of hating more, it is a very uncivil civics and the logical extension of our adversarial, two-party system.

Politics have always been a bit messy, carried out in smoke filled rooms by less than savory characters, but we all hearken back to a time when in the late enlightenment period this country was founded. At the time there was a tradition referred to as noblesse oblige, or the noble are obliged to serve. Diplomacy was carried out in French and it made sense that we form a representative democracy, a republic. This was much preferable than a direct democracy, which resembled more like mob rule.

The founders built on the enlightenment thinkers who wrote of the social contract, the consent of the governed and patterned this republic after the Greek and Roman ideals of reason, logic and the rule of law. The Constitution was cobbled together in secret after the Articles of Confederation were a miserable failure and the young country was about to fall apart just as it was coming together. Imagine if an overhaul of that magnitude were to be undertaken today. Conversely, can you see the scene in Philadelphia if the modern media existed then? Satellite trucks lining the cobblestone streets beaming the day’s feed up to the satellite links and out to the major outlets; never mind the constitutional prohibition against quartering soldiers, all of the inns and homes have been overrun by reporters and their entourages. It never would have come together, but let’s hold that thought for a moment.

The Constitution emerged and was incubated in a very different society than the one we live in today. This society was marked by homogeneity: white, male property owners were the franchised and a blind eye was turned to the irony of the Declaration of Independence’s self-evident truth that all men were created equal. The Union was tested and constitutional challenges have arisen and largely been managed by the dynamic document. Suffrage, civil rights, free speech and many other landmark issues have been largely resolved by what many refer to as the living document.

In the modern era of the 24/7 news cycle and the echo chambers of the internet 350,000,000 opinions are shared ad nauseum muddling the distinction between a republic and direct democracy and making it virtually impossible for government to get anything done and instead, politicians grandstand (even more now than ever) and we have moved beyond the aw, shucks, homespun wisdom of Will Rogers who reminded that the country was safe when the congress was out of session.

In Ted Koppel’s 1998 commencement speech at Stanford University, he lamented that we have  become so comfortable “being defined according to polls and ratings and surveys, in the Dow or on the NASDAQ, in the outcome of elections or in public propositions or referenda, that we have sunk into a sort of general relativism, in which all issues are determined by majority vote or a public display of the lowest common denominator: We learn, according to the syndicated lesson taught by Jerry Springer, that while all of us are flawed, we who are watching are not nearly as flawed as the poor souls he parades in front of us. Which may, if the lesson is repeated often enough, teach us that, rather than struggling toward an ideal of perfect behavior, we can always console ourselves with the examples of those even weaker than we are.”

And so, as we approach the midterm elections the Jerry Springer effect is in full display. But no one will be happy about the outcome. The president’s party will lose seats and control of one or both houses of congress might change hands. So what? No one will be happy, we will have divided government and the hate and acrimony will continue. It is the nature of the adversarial, two-party system, a very patriarchal, masculine system marked by running campaigns, like a military campaign.

As we transition from a material world view to an energy world view and the approach is led by a quantum perspective, perhaps it is time to soften our approach to politics. There was much chagrin about America’s failure to elect a woman president in the last cycle, but insofar as women who become politicians have, for the most part, tried to out man the men, they have missed the opportunity to play to their strengths of keepers of subtle knowledge and impressions of past experience, deep, intuitive knowers who can equalize opposites, nurturers and creators. The Dalai Lama has said that it is the western woman who will save the world. But not so long as she emulates the masculine patriarchs who have worked us into this state of affairs.

The diverse society we live in today has outgrown the two-party system. The monolithic options are no longer relevant to the vast majority of the population. Longtime Sacramento columnist Dan Walters used to write an annual article on whether it was time to embrace a parliamentary form of government and it was always met with relative disdain from both sides of traditionalists. It just may be time for that type of radical change.

A parliamentary form of government has many interests who after an election must form a coalition government. A coalition government is far more likely to be effective with the added bonus that the collaborative nature will foster matriarchal type energy to exist and excel. The question is: “have we had enough of the hate and acrimony of the two-party system to make radical change?” And of course, can radical change even take place under the microscope of scrutiny in our modern society.

Go vote this week, if you haven’t already done so, but don’t be mad or raise the hate stakes when nothing changes.   

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post Modern Politics