As a thank you for our continued rapid growth, we at LTT are providing this bonus ep. Please keep talking about LTT to others!
In this episode, Taoist Master Mikel Steenrod describes the true meaning of Not Doing and asks what would you do if you had no goal.
–Welcome to Living the Tao, a Spiritual Podcast that explores how ancient wisdom, a practical perspective, and deep truth can empower you to live your best life. If you enjoyed this episode, we'd appreciate your review on apple or spotify.
Taoist Topics Covered:
Before and Now Influence
Think in New Ways
Not Doing or Wei Wu Wei
Physical Impact of Spiritual Enlightenment
Te–Power of Not Doing
Tao and Magic
How to Succeed and Fail
Transcription of Taoist Podcast, "Living The Tao," Bonus Episode 2
Bonus Episode Two:
Fundamental Taoist Action.
Welcome to Living the Tao,
a spiritual podcast that explores
how ancient wisdom, a practical
perspective and deep truth, can empower
you to live your best life.
In this episode,
Taoist Master Mikel Steenrod
describes the true meaning
of not doing, and asks, what would you
do if you had no goal?
So if we deal with not doing, that’s a
good one to work with because it’s
fundamental in a lot of Taoist
And the reason its fundamental in
Taoist conversation is that there are basically
two different divisions in practice
when it comes to not doing.
Not doing should be an automatic pr…
practice, meaning that you don’t have
to make any effort to not do
things as you go along.
It’s an outgrowth, actually, of
meditative practice and of
So you’ll automatically start to do
that simply as you start to meditate
in consistently large chunks.
To do it intellectually, where you have
to simulate it because, well…
“So I need to apply
Not doing here,” could certainly be done.
It’s just vastly more effort.
And the breakdown of it is to
ultimately try to
have the action be a natural outgrowth
of what you are
without meditation, that can be
accomplished just by calm.
It’s basically two different divisions.
As I said.
One of these divisions is the mystical
This is the one that’s actually
referred to by
And the other one is what most people
regard as the practical
which is, “how do we set about to use
in daily living?”
The true one, interestingly enough, is
the mystical division.
division has usefulness in it, in
and also in guiding one to do
a really fundamental Taoist act,
which is to listen.
If you put it in simple terms, it’s a
listen before you act.
It is not a matter of take no action,
and that it Falls
probably the most common element of not
doing, or (rather the) common misinterpretation of
as we were talking about at the second
tier of practice,
the big problem that most people have
with acceptance is that they view it as
a matter of not doing anything,
having nothing to do with wei wu wei.
Or the doing of not doing it’s just a
matter of, well, how do I accept this?
“Well, I accept it by being completely
Well, no acceptance is a formal action
that is built into humans.
You have the ability to accept things,
because if you don’t, from an
evolutionary standpoint, you die.
Because acceptance permits change.
allows you to see things
as they emerge,
so that when you do take action, it is
the best and natural action as an
outgrowth from that situation.
if we sit back and we look at it well,
how does this theoretically work? Wouldn’t
a human behave like this, or behave
The truth is that when we sit back to
do practical, we make our practical
We make certain assumptions about human
And that is that humans are rational,
and that humans are capable of making
that are independent of their mental
state, or of the position that they’re
developmentally–from a spiritual
And that’s not true.
You always make–the coloring of events
that occurs is always based on the
events that have come before
and the mood that you’re in.
So if you’ve had a happy series of
and you’re in a great mood, so you can
have a happy series of events and still
be in a bad mood.
I’m sure everybody’s had that instance.
But if you have those two aligned
and then a third.
A third event occurs, and this event is
Your interpretation is, “Well,
that’s just the way things are, or I
can overcome it, or this is just one of
many other events.”
So the way you interpret that event is
dramatically different, based upon what
has come before. It’s colored by it.
the other factor of that as well, if
you’ve had a bad string of events,
or you’ve had, you’re in a very
negative mood when something
challenging comes along, not even bad.
What is your interpretation?
Oh, this is the end of the world.
I cannot possibly manage this event
that’s coming into my life.
All things must end.
So we have those elements that are in
When we get caught up in the chain
between what has come before and what
is currently coming now…
always colors the now.
There is no way around that.
So this event shapes this event, or the
interpretation of it.
The fact is that many times
the now will be strongly related,
or the before will be a cause of the
But that’s not always true, because now
events can occur for factors outside of
you. Since the universe is not built
for you and not driven by the desire to
move you into a particular position,
there is not necessarily a causative
relationship between before and now–as
those before events could have been for
entirely different people than you.
The only way they can be entirely for
you is that you’re the most important
thing in the universe,
which, if you are, give me a shout
later on, and I’ve got some stuff I
before and now are not necessarily
When we introduce not doing in, in
many ways, what we are doing is interrupting
the automatic chain between before and
So the response that tells us we must
do this absolutely
right now, or we must think in this
way, or that we must feel in this way,
is not necessarily
the best thing to do.
And the function of not doing is to try
in the automatic chain between those
And in fact,
when you go to studying at the third
level, the mind of clarity,
the intention of mind of clarity, is to
enforce a break between before and now.
So that you have a moment of
a moment where
nothing is occurring.
And so you can treat the event
that is unfolding as the event that’s
You’re not ignorant of what came before.
You are simply not bound into the
of what came before.
And so you can think something new.
And that whole concept of thinking
something new is important
both for managing the big three,
managing relationships, managing your resources,
managing personal development.
And it’s also important for
Because, you’re not going to come up
with a new solution or a new thought to
if you are in fact thinking and doing
everything that you have always done.
Old behaviors do not produce new
percent of the time,
I think it is.
The other 0.43?
The environment will periodically
change while you’re executing old
and as a result,
you will do something new.
But that really had nothing to do with
you. That had to do with everything
changed around you when you are doing
that occurs straight out.
So if you want to introduce difference
into your management of relationships, resources,
your personal development,
you have to be willing to engage those
things that allow you to think or
behave in different ways.
Because, there really is no magic source
And we talk about enlightenment, and
many times enlightenment is
cast into a magical vein,
because what you happen to have an
insight about, can be unpredictable.
It is not always unpredictable.
I can tell you in later experience,
that if you’re hunting a big insight,
you know generally what it’s going to
be about, and you know how dramatic
it’s going to be.
And that’s important, because you learn
to pace yourself.
And instead of just randomly running
into every possible spiritual insight,
you can, you go,
“This one’s a biggie.
I’m going to go get a burger
and not do it.”
And that becomes very important,
because you start becoming not attached
to the process of insight itself.
And you start managing it.
Because those of you that undergo
degrees of insight as you pass through
are going to find out something very
Your body changes
and your personality changes.
Because insight does not occur in an
independent little jar.
Insight is a product of who you are as
a thing within the universe.
And so it is that overall
that experiences and creates the insight
as you go along.
we’ve talked about this, the key for
moving the concept of ness–what
constitutes you. What you recognize as
being yourself around.
The reason that you do that is so that
from a spiritual standpoint, you have
the opportunity for enlightenment.
Because unless you are realistically at
a position where you can have the
thoughts that lead to enlightenment
right now, you’re not going to be
enlightened right now.
Your objective is to move yourself into
a place where those behaviors allow you
to do that.
Now, if you have a non-
enlightenment goal, the same rules
apply, because it’s the same human
So if you want to
make a million dollars next month,
you’re going to have to come up with
the behaviors that allow you to make a
million dollars next month.
And very clearly,
people that are capable of generating
huge wealth have a set of behaviors,
which are wealth behaviors.
So if you strip them of all their
revenue, they will, in fact, generate revenue.
And a lot of other people look at that
and go, oh, that’s magic.
Well, no, it’s a behavioral set.
And the same thing applies.
You have people that are extremely
successful at the relationships that
they form, or are capable of forming
broad networks of people, if that’s
But you take that same person, you dump
them into an entirely new environment
where they don’t know anybody you guess
They’re going to have the same exact
thing inside of about ninety days.
And that’s because whatever behavior
set that you have creates the same things.
If you want different things, then you
have to adjust the behavior set.
Because there really isn’t…
I mean, there’s always going to be,
somebody that’s going to win the
lottery for spirituality
or any other resource you want to look
But you can’t count on it.
You can’t sit back and go,
“My best guess at this is, I’m just
going to play this ticket and you hand
it on it.”
Somebody somewhere will win it.
If you’re that person, again, see me at
the end of class.
If you’re not that person, then you
have to do the work.
And unfortunately, while I personally
have won a lottery now and then,
with regards to some of the things that
I have been completely unfortunate in
every other aspect, in that I only have
exactly what I have created.
Almost to an extent, that’s ludicrous
my teacher had various comments about
And his initial comment was, well,
you’ve just been extremely lucky about
Wait until it turns.
He was right.
When it turned, it became a matter of
like, “Oh, now I just have to be good.”
And that became a whole different thing.
So not doing creates that interruption
between before and now.
And that gives you the opportunity to
act in ways that you haven’t acted
It also allows you to do something
The vast majority of situations that
we’re in are not so difficult that they
cannot be solved
They are also not so difficult, for
example, in conflict, which is where
not doing is oftentimes applied in a
There…most opponents are not so great
that if you aren’t able to, ok, how do
I word this…
Very few opponents are so great that
the opposition actually comes from the opponent.
Almost always, when somebody presents
you with opposition, it is your
internal opposition that will stop you.
It is not going to be the opposition of
Very few people are so good that no
matter what you do, you’re going to lose.
Because that means that that person has
to achieve a degree of self mastery
where they are not stopping themselves.
If you gain the ability to listen and
not do, you will see vulnerability
where no one else sees it. Where they
don’t see it.
And it will not be a strain of your
brain to sit back and go, oh,
where’s the uh. uh. uh.
It is automatic.
You recognize the opportunity as you go
So even in situations where you are
physically inferior, if we want to
take–oftentimes I use combat analogies
because combat’s easier to understand
than spiritual development.
the stakes are straightforward, the
exchange is straightforward.
And so it’s a very easy environment
to sit back and look at things.
Compared to spiritual development,
which is usually a big, muddy field of,
“Well, how did this work?
Or what choice went into this?”
There’s few things greater in
simplicity than a good swift punch in
the head to tell you that,
“Yeah, I guess that didn’t work.”
whereas the same punch in the head from
you can sit back and go, I guess if it
But usually there’s all sorts of
garbage that comes along with something
not working when it comes from the
So when we sit back, that opportunity
becomes larger and larger.
And the reason that that is,
is, without the attachment between
before and now
what you’re seeing is not colored by
the huge baggage of before.
So you’re not sitting there going,
“Well, you know, there’s this and this
and this, and then I have to worry
about this, and what’s happening over
all those other things.”
you just discard it,
and you simply allow events to unfold.
And when it is time to act, you act.
You act automatically.
If you miss your time of action, you’ll
see that too, because you’re human,
And, humans miss opportunity all the
But again, most situations are not so
demanding that you can’t afford to miss.
It is very rare that you will face an
opponent or a situation that does not
have more than one opportunity,
that does not give you the ability to
do one thing…
more than one thing.
That really, in some ways, I’ve talked
about adept practice, or what marks an
adapt, or an extremely high level
practitioner of the old Taoist arts.
And one of the things is that they can
respond in situations where there are
only just a couple opportunities,
maybe only one opportunity,
and where if you do anything else, or
anything out of sequence, or anything
out of time, everything collapses.
It’s extremely rare that the necessity
of that ever exists.
If you are living within the world and
doing mortal things, such things…such
control, is for the most part,
If you do develop such an ability,
if you do develop the ability to
finely read the direction of events,
then things will start to become simple.
And usually when a risky thing is going
to occur to you, you see it a long way off.
To other people,
that’s going to be a matter of some
sort of magic skill, but it’s not a
You just saw it coming a long way off.
And the reason? You weren’t bound into
the small events.
if you sit back and look at the big
failures of your life, no matter what
they happen to be: whether they’re
based on resource, whether they’re
based on relationships, whether they’re
based on ah, the failure of your
ability to pursue spiritual
development, you knew the event was
coming long before the event was coming.
Did you have a magic power that told
No, you had many things that were
getting in the way keeping you from
seeing that event coming.
why does that exist?
Well, part of it can be,
it can be tough to stare into a
locomotive coming down the track,
knowing that your opportunity to move
is only going to be in the last thirty
You have nothing else that you can
possibly do to change the course.
All you have is a little interval.
And you have to wait for it.
You have to sit there.
You have to drink your cup of tea. Eat
a cheese sandwich. Pet a dog.
And then, at the very last minute, move
when it is time to move.
And so our inability to see may be
Do I know that for sure?
But I’ve seen many, many people run
exactly from what they knew while it
without any problem at all.
And that running behavior, even though
it will absolutely create failure,
And for example, one of the big things
that people have to learn
and match exchanges in Kung fu,
especially the teens, is not to run,
like not to run away, because as soon
as you do, the train’s in control.
Now it’s just going to roll you over.
So it’s just a matter before they pin
And they start beating you relentlessly,
which is a lesson that I point out on a
semiregular, basis by pinning somebody
in the corner and beating them
relentlessly after they’ve turned and run.
And the necessity of that is because
it’s a life lesson.
The…ignoring the problem, or failing to use
the vision that you have, is a guarantee–
almost certain guarantee–of failure.
But again, most situations are not a
locomotive on a train track.
It’s kind of a locomotive.
That’s moving around over there,
it’s headed in your general direction,
and you’re going, there’s a good
probability that it’s going to be over
here at some point.
In a lot of times,
for most of our problems, the
locomotive actually send you little
telegram, says, “Hey, we’re going to
be using that track.
If you want to get off
you can do that.”
And then you have to actually go, I
have to get off.
But that would require you to do
And that’s always the thing, that’s
probably the underlying stopping point
The reason that not doing is a natural
outgrowth of meditation, isn’t because
of the absolute requirement of
meditation, is because meditation
interrupts the link between before and
Other things can do it.
So a lot of times, the advice that I
give, or the practices that I repeat,
are about taking the easiest possible
pathway to get to success.
It’s not that it can’t be done some
other way, it’s that, you know, you’re
doing a triple back flip
spitting a mouthful of water into a
shot glass fifty feet away
and riding a pelican with one foot.
And when the assignment was
“put book on chair.”
Well, yeah, see, to put the book on
chair, you lift up the book
and you put it on the chair.
I’m generally not going to give the
pelican riding instructions to people,
“Or you could do it this way, ride a pelican backwards, blowing a
genetically engineer a dragon.
Now, fight dragon.”
Most of those efforts become largely
that’s the underlying
reason of what not doing is. From a
practical standpoint, most people look
at not doing as an element of strategy.
Basically, not learning to not take
action or not expend resources,
and then taking action
to the extent that it’s necessary, but
that automatically occurs.
Now, if you do it intellectually, it
can certainly be done intellectually.
And I do it intellectually all the time.
that’s only a very small portion of
what not doing refers to.
The other thing is that if you achieve
a degree of
interaction or balance with the Tao
itself–if you manage to step outside
of the karmic nursery and interact with
the Tao–problems will magically solve themselves.
You will have to do absolutely nothing.
Your action, when faced with a great
is simply to meditate.
And the things that occur will be a
direct result of the amount of karma
that you have accumulated
and the degree to which
you have blended yourself with the
When those two things are there, many
problems simply resolve themselves.
You’ll sit back and go, I can’t
possibly see how this is going to
My solution is to meditate.
And so you meditate, and then you come
back out, and suddenly magic news has
been delivered to you.
You know that thing?
It’s just done.
And that’s exactly how it works.
Things are magically accomplished.
And I use magic as a term to
what’s actually a huge block of theory
that we could spend quite a bit of time
But action and coordination with the
Tao itself allows you to exist with
greater ease within your life.
It will not remove difficulty
It will remove many difficulties.
And the reason for that is that a Tao
does not care whether your life is
difficult or easy.
So you might as well make your life
It is a conscious series of choices
that lead to life being difficult.
It is a conscious series of choices
that might lead to life being easy.
The great mistake,
probably in monkly interpretation of
not doing, when it comes to the
mystical elements, is that they assume
well, all difficulty will be removed
The problem with that is that they have
placed themselves in the position of
being the most important thing within
And that’s always something to keep in
mind. Always, as you sit back, always
whatever practice comes along, the
universe, in fact, does not care.
And that can be a harsh thought to
Now it’s not against you either.
And that’s the other thing to keep in
And it’s just as easy for everything to
be easy as it is to be hard.
It does not care.
That’s what not caring means.
It is completely equal in its treatment.
And now, if something else comes along,
like there’s a snail, that, for some
reason in the course of events, must
across a path, and you’re walking on
that path, unless you have huge karma,
And the only way to stop you is to have
you drop dead from a heart attack…
You’re going to drop dead from a heart
attack, or a meteor is going to fall
out of the sky and crush you.
Or a tiger is going to escape from a
zoo three hours ago, leap out at that
time and drag you off the path and eat
you, because you are not the most
The snail can be just as easily
It can also live a life of complete
Or it can live a life of struggle.
It has to choose it from its snailness
as to what course is going to come about.
So in part, the way we live
our life, within the balance of things
is a matter of, well, if you create
acceptance for yourself, or you create
the not doing,
you start eliminating
Like, “I need to be this way.
I need to do this thing over here.
I need to have this thing done there.”
And there’s a basic,
there’s a basic Taoist question.
And you can ask this of yourselves,
too, since you’re looking at the
And that is, what would I do if I had
If I completely eliminated every goal I
had, what would I do? If this were not a
what would I undertake at this time?
Are you capable of action in that time?
And the truth is, you are capable of
action in that time it’s just not going
to be the type of action you would do
at any other time.
And so when you eliminate that series
that bind you–some of which are good,
some of which are horrible.
And I’m not suggesting you should be
I’m suggesting that you should explore
the strength or the insight that comes
from not having a goal.
And the reason that this becomes a
necessity is that the goal set that you
have came from the social mind.
There’s no way around it.
It was developed out of social mind
It was developed to achieve social mind
And so the only way to stop it is to
just not have it.
And so if you abandon that goal set for
a period of time,
you start to see
You also start to sit back, and as
you’re doing you’re not doing–
and this truly is the realm of not
you begin to realize that, well,
in some ways, I kind of have to
negotiate my way down the path, because
I may encounter supersnail,
and supersnail might want something.
And so now I must bargain with
supersnail as we come along,
that bargain can be very quick.
It can be very easy.
It also means that in the whole process
what is there, there is the thought of,
if you don’t stand for yourself, nobody
else will stand for you.
The bargain will go against you. Not
because the thing is inherently
out to get you, but because you didn’t
defend your position.
And so many times the monkly error
is a matter of, “Well, we’ll be
completely cared for,
everything will go in my favor.”
Like you need to examine the rules of
the universe here, just for a moment.
It will not…
it will oftentimes go in your favor
simply because you have achieved harmony.
And because of that harmony, the not
doing will oftentimes favor you.
Because, most of what we do is in a wide
It doesn’t matter where you go.
But now and then it really, really
And if you see something, as it unfolds,
that it really, really matters, and you
learn, at the very least, not get in
you will avoid a great deal of
Usually the thing that moves you against
the balance of things
is the goal set that came from the
those goals, in reality, don’t have
anything to do with you or with
anything that would benefit you.
They were given to you
and you followed them.
They benefit something else.
Whatever that happens to be, I don’t
But they obviously are designed for
some other purpose than your personal
happiness, your insight,
or your resources.
So why do you follow em?
And if you
continue to follow them?
So if we pursue this pathway, it places
you directly against many times the
balance that is supposed to be there.
And that’s ok from the social mind,
perspective, because something has to
It doesn’t matter if it’s you.
It doesn’t matter to the goal set.
Anything can be destroyed.
Nothing is so important that it cannot
I…that becomes a significant area
Now, as you start to abandon that goal,
it is really interesting, or it’s really
easy, to simply
live in a way where you go completely
with the flow of things.
But remember, the flow can lead over a
It can lead you across crushing rocks.
It can lead you anywhere.
Then the flow is created by a lot of
other things than you.
And you have to be careful to preserve
yourself in that process, if you want to
Now sometimes the flow of things can be
that you just want to dwell there all
the time, because you really are truly.
During that time,
you achieve complete, not doing.
You are in harmony with the flow of the
But remember, you are not the most
important thing in the universe.
There could be a huge fish,
I’m making something up–with big teeth
at the end of the flow.
And the flow is, in fact, for the fish,
and it’s just going to eat you
as you flow up into its mouth.
It will close it.
You will digest yourself for its good,
and then you’ll be done.
And that can be very easily turned
against you, because, again, not the most
And so we have to watch.
We have to examine the flow, because of
all the creatures, we have the ability,
most, to make the manipulation of that
flow as we need to.
So, do you swim up the river?
Swimming up the river is largely going
to be a waste of time
and the flow is vastly stronger than
You take a few strokes in this
direction or in that direction to move
out of the way of things?
every once in a while, do you
absolutely insist that you go in a
certain direction for a short period of
Yes, if you have achieved enough
swimming skill, you can do that.
You can make an absolute insistence
that this thing be done.
And the reason you can do that
is it’s ok to do that.
There is no rule that prevents you from
insisting on something.
Now what can prevent you is something
else insisting that it not be that way.
Then it’s a contest of karma.
but again, we’re looking at
times of radical turning,
the events are very, very sharp, and
you’re sitting back going, what do I do
But the fact is that if religion, or
any spiritual system, only works when
things are good,
you might want to sign up for another
Because things are not always going to
Things are going to create challenge.
Things are going to sit back and you’re
going to go,
what just happened?
Now, why did suddenly everything turn
Or why did suddenly everything do this?
Usually, what you’re going to find out
is, again, you did get the note from
You’ve got to follow up notice.
You got a phone call.
It flashed you in
semaphore. Said, “Hey, hey, why don’t you
try to move
You got tons of warnings,
but if you were strongly connected
in the relationship between before and
you could have ignored all those
You didn’t bother to look at the mail.
You didn’t answer your phone. You
turned away when it was flashing
semaphore. When it was shouting you (yawns sleepily).
So you completely ignored every sign
and symptom that was coming down
Now, occasionally we’ll just get hit by
a meteor from the sky.
But again, that’s the rarity of it.
For the most part, you will not
encounter situations that are so
difficult there is no way out, or that
are so difficult
you cannot respond, or that are so
difficult you cannot afford to make an error.
But you will encounter them–
The important part of that is to sit
back and go–
You should know
when the stakes are so tight
that you could easily fail.
And that’s important to know, in part
because it keeps you from getting
caught up in the failure.
And it’s easy to sit back and simply
say that, well, you know, if this
occurs, I’m not going to get caught up
But the truth is, unless you’ve
prepared for it, and it’s something
that you’ve significantly cared about
when the failure comes, even if you are
sitting back going, “Well, there’s a
likelihood of failure of label blah blah blah.”
It can be difficult to overcome or to
On the other hand, if you have complete
knowledge of exactly how difficult it
is: “I have a one and 100000
chance of flipping this match through
this air, having it ride on a penny,
and then do a back flip over a cricket
into the shot glass.”
When you fail at
it, it’s not so bad.
You knew how tough it was when you were
But if you didn’t know how tough it was
going in, and you had the thought of,
“Well, anybody should be able to do this!”
Well, in all likelihood, nobody can do
You’re just setting out to do something
You’d do everything exactly correct.
And you have a huge amount of karma.
You can pull off completely impossible
Or people just said back, and
and go, “How was that
Don’t ask me to do it again,
because I don’t think I can.
So the mystical balance of not doing is
that the harmony itself
allows the Tao to take care of many
problems before they emerge.
And sometimes the other element of it
is, and this actually applies to last
month’s lecture on the I Ching responses,
a lot of times
we have the thought
success is going to be like this.
So if we have a big ruler,
success is a nice straight line
from zero to one
as we go along.
The truth is,
if anything that you’re pursuing is
even remotely complex,
or even remotely distant,
the pathway to get there: it’s going to
be like this (random line).
if there’s a really strong attachment
between before and now, if you have a
really strong attachment to the goal,
whenever there is even a small shift
off this straight line, even though
this straight line can never exist
for this particular situation.
Let’s call this situation random
So it turns out that you want to drive
over the mountain. Your thought is that I’m just going to
drive straight over the mountain.
There’s no road there, but I’m going to
drive over the mountain.
And it turns out the only way to get
there is to follow this road here (squiggle line).
You’re vastly disappointed because you
really wanted to drive over the
mountain this way, despite
this actually being the pathway there.
If you’re really strongly bound into
of how you think something is going to
occur, then you create disappointment
And you also create failure, because as
soon as you start veering off,
it veers off a little bit and you go,
“Oh, I’m failing
now, I need to stop.”
How many things have been accomplished
that are difficult, that were a
perfect straight line and did not
any sort of difficulty between the
origin and the goal?
The only time that you accomplish that
is when what you’re doing is really
If I get up and I walk from this board
to the chair, I have a relatively
If I start walking to the chair, and
suddenly the chair starts to move,
this is an unusual situation>
One that I might want to sit back and
or if I start walking towards the
chair, but the distance doesn’t
Or if I end up over here,
and I try to walk towards it again, and
I end up over here.
These are all indicators of a highly
process. Someplace where I can sit back
and just expect
that, yes, I could move my butt to the
There shouldn’t be a great deal of
difficulty in doing this.
Now, if I want to sit over there in a
chair, and I set out to sit there,
there is in fact, no chair there.
A whole series of processes have to go
into putting a chair in that spot, or
creating this chair from various,
various chair elements
that allow the chair to be there.
That’s going to be a much more
Other factors can intrude.
Somebody else could want that chair
before I got there and take it.
Somebody else could move the chair to
another spot because they had another
Whatever it happened to be, there are
all sorts of things that can occur just
because of the separation,
between your origin point and your end
point. The I Ching
What is the difference?
What is the space actually going to be
How should you respond to that space
between one and the other?
The big thing you shouldn’t do is be so
bound into your path that you’re going
to sip back and say, this is going to
be a simple little ride.
It had better be a simple little ride.
And by that, I mean it should be some
simple, like, I’m going to take this
forkful of food from the plate and put
it in my mouth.
Even then that periodically fails.
Something will intervene in the course
of events and keep that from occurring.
Does that happen most of the time?
No, most of the time
the solution is straightforward.
Now if your thought is, well, three
months from now, I’m going to host a
large dinner party. We’re going to feast on
I’d better order up some whale steaks
to be delivered on that day.
All sorts of things can occur between
that time and the whale steak dinner
that will prevent it from occurring.
the smuggling of whale steaks.
All sorts of things can interfere.
And so before you create a
expectation for goal, you have to sit
back and analyze, or really think about
how difficult is this goal going to be?
If the goal starts being difficult,
you need to
pull yourself back to a certain extent
and go, well, what’s in fact going on here.
So if my chair starts to magically get
farther away from me as I’m moving from
here to there, my response is,
basically, do I actually want to sit in
what’s occurring that’s causing this
chair to move away?
And so I will begin examining the
course of events.
I will move away from my goal of
chairsitting for a period of time
because obviously something has
And I need to sit back and take in what
I need to listen to the course of
I need to watch them unfold.
And perhaps I need to test them out to
see what’s going to happen.
We can do the same thing in any of our
major human concerns.
We can do it within resources.
We can do it within relationships,
and we can do it within personal
You can simply sit back and go, well,
this should have been simple.
Why is this suddenly occurring here and
here and here?
because this is always the nature of
such a pathway?
Nothing can ever be done about it.
And it could be that.
It could be that the road around the
mountain is always twisty.
You could perhaps make it straight.
But is it worth the effort of making a
straight road over the mountain?
Or do you just want to take the twisty
road and make sure that you can get on
the other side?
If it’s the twisty road, then you need
to change your thinking so that you can
embrace twisty road qualities and
along. It’s like, now I’m looping back.
I’m getting farther away.
Well, that’s because the road goes back
farther away and then comes around this
way and then goes over here and moves
So you can sit back.
You can always create the expectation
that the line should be straight,
but the line may or may not be straight.
And the farther you are from your goal,
the less likely that line is straight,
and the more challenges you’re going to
face as you come along.