Aujourd’hui & La Côte de Granit Rose

The postman brought us a selection of spicy goodies from The British Corner Shop…

I ordered a camera mount for this telescope. I will be able to use it as a very long telephoto and maybe get some astronomy type images.

We went up to Trégastel…..

From outside the forum

I really like these trees we may have to get one.

Check out the blue!!!

Looking inland to the natural harbour.

Tao and Wu Wei

Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The word “Tao” (道) has a variety of meanings in both ancient and modern Chinese language. Aside from its purely prosaic use to mean road, channel, path, principle, or similar, the word has acquired a variety of differing and often confusing metaphorical, philosophical and religious uses. In most belief systems, the word is used symbolically in its sense of ‘way’ as the ‘right’ or ‘proper’ way of existence, or in the context of ongoing practices of attainment or of the full coming into being, or the state of enlightenment or spiritual perfection that is the outcome of such practices.

Some scholars make sharp distinctions between moral or ethical usage of the word “Tao” that is prominent in Confucianism and religious Taoism and the more metaphysical usage of the term used in philosophical Taoism and most forms of Mahayana Buddhism; others maintain that these are not separate usages or meanings, seeing them as mutually inclusive and compatible approaches to defining the principle. The original use of the term was as a form of praxis rather than theory – a term used as a convention to refer to something that otherwise cannot be discussed in words – and early writings such as the Tao Te Ching and the I Ching make pains to distinguish between conceptions of the Tao (sometimes referred to as “named Tao”) and the Tao itself (the “unnamed Tao”), which cannot be expressed or understood in language. Liu Da asserts that the Tao is properly understood as an experiential and evolving concept, and that there are not only cultural and religious differences in the interpretation of the Tao, but personal differences that reflect the character of individual practitioners.

The Tao can be roughly thought of as the flow of the Universe, or as some essence or pattern behind the natural world that keeps the Universe balanced and ordered. It is related to the idea of qi, the essential energy of action and existence. The Tao is a non-dualistic principle – it is the greater whole from which all the individual elements of the Universe derive. Keller considers it similar to the negative theology of Western scholars, but the Tao is rarely an object of direct worship, being treated more like the Hindu concepts of karma or dharma than as a divine object. The Tao is more commonly expressed in the relationship between wu (void or emptiness, in the sense of wuji) and yinyang (the natural dynamic balance between opposites), leading to its central principle of wu wei (inaction, or inexertion).

The Tao is usually described in terms of elements of nature, and in particular as similar to water. Like water it is undifferentiated, endlessly self-replenishing, soft and quiet but immensely powerful, and impassively generous. Much of Taoist philosophy centers on the cyclical continuity of the natural world, and its contrast to the linear, goal-oriented actions of human beings.

In all its uses, the Tao is considered to have ineffable qualities that prevent it from being defined or expressed in words. It can, however, be known or experienced, and its principles (which can be discerned by observing Nature) can be followed or practiced. Much of East Asian philosophical writing focuses on the value of adhering to the principles of the Tao and the various consequences of failing to do so.

The Tao was shared with Confucianism, Chán and Zen Buddhism and more broadly throughout East Asian philosophy and religion in general. In Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism, the object of spiritual practice is to ‘become one with the Tao’ (Tao Te Ching) or to harmonise one’s will with Nature (cf. Stoicism) in order to achieve ‘effortless action’ (Wu wei). This involves meditative and moral practices. Important in this respect is the Taoist concept of De (德; virtue). In Confucianism and religious forms of Taoism, these are often explicitly moral/ethical arguments about proper behavior, while Buddhism and more philosophical forms of Taoism usually refer to the natural and mercurial outcomes of action (comparable to karma). The Tao is intrinsically related to the concepts yin and yang (pinyin: yīnyáng), where every action creates counter-actions as unavoidable movements within manifestations of the Tao, and proper practice variously involves accepting, conforming to, or working with these natural developments.

Spiritual Journeys

This title is not entirely satisfactory because the word “spiritual” has been misappropriated and applied to things which are not to my eyes very spiritual. I have met people who claim to be “spiritual” {man} but who are in fact largely selfish and highly materialistic.

It is a question of degree.

During any life one has challenges, these may be as simple as getting a promotion at work, health problems, relationship problems, problems with sanity. If one is ambitious one might seek to climb the ladder or greasy pole. These might be called mundane challenges.

In my opinion and I stress it is only that, opinion, truly spiritual journeys are beset with challenges that are beyond the ability of most to face. One is obliged to face them and with as good an attitude as possible. Some of these challenges are of a life-or-death nature. Some threaten one’s sanity. Most people when challenged to choose between a spiritually “correct” choice or material comfort, will opt for material comfort even though they kind of know they are bottling. People will choose safety and social acceptance as is exemplified by the bible story of Peter’s denial.

The good news is that one is never given a challenge that one is not capable of meeting. That meeting could be a very stretching experience. Challenge can sometime be very inconvenient indeed. To my eyes that is a marker of a worthwhile challenge, the higher the degree of inconvenience the better the “spiritual” reward. Some challenges last decades.

People who have a life that is beset with high magnitude challenges are being offered a major opportunity for spiritual evolution. This is a chance to make a large leap towards ultimate liberation. It is best to seize that opportunity gratefully with both hands. One is given the chance to work off a vast karmic debt and in doing so reduce the burden.

Trying to avoid a challenge, to shirk it, doesn’t mean that one succeeds. It means that the challenge returns either in the same life or subsequent lives greatly amplified in magnitude.

It is tempting to pity someone who has a serious malady and think but for the grace of God, there go I. Pity is not a helpful thing. The being who is so challenged is offered a chance of a tremendous leap forward. The indwelling being needs to learn and evolve and this means it gets to use a number of different vehicles. A malfunctioning vehicle is a good teacher.

One has to drain the cup of Karma willingly on a spiritual journey, whatever it may hold.

North American Indian Quotes

“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.”

– Dakota Tribe

“May the stars carry your sadness away, May the flowers fill your heart with beauty, may hope forever wipe away your tears, And, above all, may silence make you strong.”

– Chief Dan George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”

– Chief Seattle, Duwamish

“We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees.”

– Qwatsinas (Hereditary Chief Edward Moody), Nuxalk Nation

“The Great Spirit is in all things. He is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us…..That which we put into the ground she returns to us.”

– Big Thunder Wabanaki, Algonquin

“If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace… Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it…”

– White Elk

“All who have died are equal.”

– Comanche People

“There is no death. Only a change of worlds.”

 – Chief Seattle [Seatlh], Suquamish Chief

“When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes, they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

 – Chief Aupumut in 1725, Mohican.

“A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.”

 – Crazy Horse, Sioux Chief

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

 – Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior, and orator

“Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of the little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.”

– Black Elk,  Oglala Sioux Holy Man

“All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man, the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.”

 – Chief Seattle,  Suquamish Chief

“I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches, but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love.”

 – Chief Red Cloud (Makhipiya-Luta) Sioux Chief