Surfing the Tao

“Surfing the Tao” is a phrase created in an attempt to nutshell what could be the most important aspect of spiritual truth, or the Way of Life. A reader once sent me a great quote, “It is a lot like surfing… you catch a wave by being prepared, timing your move and having your board in position. Like surfing, you have some control, but the Flow has all the power.” Since I live in Hawaii the analogy seemed appropriate; and indeed there is a certain zen to the sport.

If you’re just hearing about “Surfing the Tao” here are a few bullet points. It’s not about any particular religion; it’s about how we choose to live each moment, although it does contain spiritual concepts from all corners of the world. We can argue endlessly about who is ‘right’ – but we could be just missing the point. Each person has their own path to walk, and we all find truth in our own ways. However, as our greatest sages have remarked, eventually our paths will all converge on the Great Path.

Our great spiritual teachers have all encouraged love in the search for enlightenment. Many have defined “God” (or Tao, Father, Force, Beloved, Brahman, Great Spirit; whatever) as that flowing consciousness of love, the goal being to become “one” with this Force. So the basic idea of “Surfing the Tao” is choosing love for direction of your actions. The truth is simple – not easy, but simple. Still your mind and instead listen to your spiritual nature, that which is connected to the Tao, the Force. Allow the Tao to flow through you, and hop on for the ride of your life. Use various methods – you can use a long board or a short board, right-footed or left, but you’re still allowing the wave to carry you.

Surfing is an individual sport, and Surfing the Tao is a silent, inner revolution of spirit. The outer world will not provide the whole answer. Truth is within you; amplify the Voice by tuning in to love. Then, one person at a time, we can change our reality to one of peace and harmony.

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Awakening the Spirit

The Master keeps her mind at one with the Tao; that is what gives her her radiance. The Tao is ungraspable. How can her mind be at one with it? Because she doesn’t cling to ideas. The Tao is dark and unfathomable. How can it make her radiant? Because she lets it. Since before time and space were, the Tao is. It is beyond is and is not. How do I know this is true? I look inside myself and see. (Tao Te Ching, #21)

To be ‘one’ with the Tao means to live with the awareness of this Flow, even if we may not understand it completely. We may still find ourselves faced with various daily fears and issues – but it is how we react to these troubles, which determines our progress along the spiritual path. We have a choice – we can either react along with our worldly programming, becoming hurt, angry, or fearful; or we can choose to react instead with calmness and kindness. This choice, an act of our free will, is the greatest power we have to overcome obstacles along our path. It is a step towards awakening our Spirits.

Surfing the Tao refers to an awareness of this ‘Higher Power’, or consciousness, without all the trappings, archaic ritual or questionable authority of a worldly religion. Our greatest sages all taught us that the truth is contained within us – all we need to do is be still long enough to find it. With stillness and love, we can awaken our spirits. The experience can be profound – or subtle. Often it can be both. The changes happen gradually at first, when the mind finally rests of chatter, and true breath takes hold. Breathing techniques, prayer, yoga, meditation and other tools are available to us which can help us along this path. But they are only a means to an end, not the end in and of themselves.

Find love within you and you have found the Tao. Behave peacefully amidst the chaos and you have found the Tao. Live in harmony with others, and with nature, and you have found the Tao. As you walk through each moment of your life in this way, your awareness of this higher power will grow and grow, until it is no longer difficult to be the eye of the storm. Surf the Tao to a higher consciousness, and watch your life, and the world, transform.

“It is a lot like surfing… you catch a wave by being prepared, timing your move and having your board in position. Like surfing, you have some control, but the Flow has all the power.”

Ueshiba and The Art of Peace

“One does not need buildings, money, power or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.” – Ueshiba, The Art of Peace

I didn’t find the Tao (or ‘God’, or the Force, whatever,) in church or a book. I found it in Kung Fu. It led me to discern this Source of energy from within myself. The earliest roots of Kung Fu come from Taoist monks, who thousands of years ago strived to keep the peace, not promote fights. They were the first to teach how to ‘surf’ this ‘flow’, dancing with the rhythm of the universe.

Kung Fu is an Art of Peace. The key to finding this Empty Force is maintaining a consciousness of love. I study Yee Chuan Tao Kung Fu, one of the last arts to have been passed down within a family. (check out http://www.yeechuantao.com.) However there is another teacher anyone can learn from – Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. Aikido is extremely similar to Kung Fu, especially in its teachings of peace, and having only defensive moves.

Morihei Ueshiba lived from 1883 until 1969, and was known even into his old age for his ability to take down any opponent ‘with a single finger.’ But though he was undefeated, he detested violence, and taught Aikido as his ‘Way’ to peace. In my opinion his Art of Peace has become one of the few true manuals of the Way. It was compiled from a lifetime of his poems and sayings.

During his life Ueshiba experienced three powerful visions which transformed him. “…I felt transformed into a golden image, and my body seemed as light as a feather. All at once I understood the nature of creation: the Way of a Warrior is to manifest Divine Love, a spirit that embraces and nurtures all things…” (intro to the Art of Peace, compiled by John Stevens, Shambhala Publications, Boston, 1992.) He developed Aikido as a way to handle the aggression in the world, and believed that everyone, martial artist or not, could be a Warrior for Peace.

“Contemplate the workings of this world, listen to the words of the wise, and take all that is good as your own. With this as your base, open your own door to truth. Do not overlook the truth that is right before you. Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything – even mountains, rivers, plants, and trees – should be your teacher.” -Ueshiba

No Religion

Religion is the creation of man. It is how people have defined and structured spirituality in our world. More often than not it has been established and even forced upon people as a means of power and control throughout time, and still today. Within such confines, people are generally not taught how to connect with the Spirit within themselves, rather they are given a set of beliefs, taught specific rituals and to heed a worldly ‘religious’ authority.

Some even say that secret spiritual information (or disinformation) has been passed down from generation to generation within various spiritual organizations, particularly so-called ‘mystery’ religions, placing certain people in positions of power and even subtly misguiding the populace towards false beliefs and priorities. They use metaphysical truth to their advantage, cleverly interlacing it with small lies no one might notice. Their love for ritual and control has established strange rites and rituals, not to mention politics, in nearly every religion. Even the ancient and adored texts have praise for the Tao intermixed with strange stories of alien gods, bent on doing their own will in our dimension.

There is not one religion on our Earth today that is pure to the Tao, our one ‘God’ of love. They blurred our understanding using semantics and misinterpretations, so even the very word “God” has become corrupt. This has led many to refuse to consider any spiritual or metaphysical truths whatsoever, thereby throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

Instead of arguing which religion is ‘right’ (or refusing the investigate them at all), learn the basic truths each has to offer, repeated over and over again by our greatest sages, like Jesus, Lao Tzu, and Buddha. Read their own words, not what others have written about them, or the worldly ‘religions’ created in their wake. Instead, follow their simple Way of life. Live each moment in love and with compassion for your neighbor. Seek a higher awareness within yourself; learn to Surf the Tao and help transform the world.

“Ritual is the husk of true faith, the beginning of chaos.” –Tao Te Ching, #38

A Revolution of Free Will

I am working hard to promote the message of love. The simple act of choosing love, with our free wills, can manifest a higher frequency of love, peace and harmony, perhaps someday changing us, and our world, for the better. Some can argue, how can we know we have free will; indeed it is a subject for philosophical debate. But in the end it doesn’t matter; within the illusion of our reality, we can still choose love. And because for some this simple act may be so contrary to the way we are taught to live in this selfish, consumer-driven society, I call it revolutionary.

Forgive, turn the other cheek, and love your enemies. This seemingly impossible task will transform your life, your very consciousness and ability to perceive. This is what it truly means to ‘Surf the Tao’. To ride the wave, the swell of love, in each moment, and not be swayed by anything negative or attempt to reroute the ‘Flow’, is what it means to be ‘enlightened.’ Save yourself, and the world, by joining the silent, internal revolution of free will.

What would our world be like?

Choosing love sounds easy,
But how many of us do it every moment?
And if we all did,
What would our world be like?

We can’t control other people
Just how we react to them
The hardest thing we’ll ever do
Is forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.

This doesn’t absolve their guilt…
It just takes it out of our hands.
And frees our minds and spirits
For other things.

To truly save our world
We must all dig deep within ourselves
The ultimate truths are not in a book
They are asleep along with our spirits.

We all create our own reality.
We can either to choose to walk in love
Or not.
It’s too bad the simplest things
Can also be the most difficult.

The True Masters

Discernment comes not from the mind, not from reading a book or following a set of rules or rituals, but through the spirit. Learning to Surf the Tao means acquiring the skill to bypass thought, and listen instead to the Voice within. Our sages, the true masters, attempted to teach this; though their words might be different, the essence is the same. “Be still, and know that I am God”(Psalms 46:10); “Look within. Be still. Free from fear and attachment, Know the sweet joy of the Way.” (Buddha); “When the five senses and the mind are still, and reason itself rests in silence, then begins the Path supreme.” (Katha Upanishad); “Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your heart be at peace.” (Lao Tzu); “If your have not liked yourself to true emptiness, you will never understand The Art of Peace.” (Ueshiba).

‘Tao’ means ‘Way’, and it was originally meant to set forth a Way of Life, not as a ‘religion’ or sect. Buddha’s original teachings mirror this philosophy. Indeed the words of Jesus also point this Way, but in all of these cases their words were added to, and shaped around differing sects and worldly institutions of power and control. Instead, the Way is far simpler. Live in love, and follow its divine essence in every aspect of life. If you do, you can begin to Know for yourself, who the ‘good guys’ are. They teach this simple truth, despite the paradox of trying to put the Unknowable into words, for as Lao Tzu wrote, “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.”

The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious, profound, responsive.
The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable.
Because it is unfathomable,
All we can do is describe their appearance.
Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream.
Alert, like men aware of danger.
Courteous, like visiting guests.
Yielding, like ice about to melt.
Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood.
Hollow, like caves.
Opaque, like muddy pools.

Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?
Who can remain still until the moment of action?
Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment.
Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change.

(Tao Te Ching, verse 15, trans. Fia-fu Feng and Jane English, Vintage Books Edition, 1972.) For more on my website, check out http://www.surfingthetao.com/The_Good_Guys.htm

Aliens: Gods or Demons?

In my book I discuss the alien phenomenon; that some kind of non-human visitors, custodians, or watchers, have been among us, perhaps for a very long time. Authors such as William Bramley (“The Gods of Eden”), Jim Marrs (“Alien Agenda”), David Icke (“Children of the Matrix”), Picknett & Prince (“The Stargate Conspiracy”), Whitley Streiber (“Communion”), and Erich von Daniken (“Chariot of the Gods”) suggest this is the case. They cite UFO sightings around the world, ‘abduction’ experiences, and secret government facilities and cover-ups. Strange evidence found in cave paintings, medieval art, the Nazca lines, and crop circles, as well as artifacts like the Dropa stones (found in China), the large stone spheres found in Central America, even megaliths like the pyramids and Stonehenge, leave us with an uneasy feeling that there is, or was, something going on we aren’t aware of. Authors Colin Wilson and Rand Flem-Ath in their book “The Atlantis Blueprint” point to evidence that these ancient megaliths are connected, arranged around the Earth along powerful geodesic ley lines, “critical points on the earth’s surface where the ancients could tap a universal energy flowing through the planet.” (p. xxiii)

Today many people believe these ‘aliens’ and/or ‘ancient gods’ are still around us, or perhaps on their way back to us; they work hard to spread awareness of these strange beings, believing that they are ‘good guys’ who want to help us rid ourselves of war and finally create a world of peace. Of course their very presence might stop religious divisiveness at once, as we would realize that these are the true ‘gods’ of our world; the New Age movement, well-intentioned as it may be, is full of this type of talk.

Unfortunately, as Picknett and Prince point out in “The Stargate Conspiracy”, these strange beings have a sinister past. They trace their communications to humans through occult organizations and suggest that, “The sugar coating of exciting ideas about returning ancient gods is designed to conceal a bitter pill indeed – which, in all innocence, millions seem happy to swallow.” Websites like www.theforbiddenknowledge.com, www.thejinn.net, http://www.mt.net/~watcher/, and http://www.alienresistance.org/ work hard to spread the idea that these are not good guys, regardless of their ‘message of peace’. Wolves must come in sheep’s clothing or we’d never pay them heed!

When you learn to Surf the Tao, these questions become easier to discern. ‘Bad guys’ don’t ride this wave – instead they create structure, rules and rituals, appeal to our pride and ego, and want to be worshiped. ‘Good guys’ don’t confuse or complicate the simple message of love, nor do they seek glory for themselves. It’s a subtle but important distinction. Next time I’ll talk more about the good guys.