Aloha all, here is a link to my interview with Occult of Personality.
Aloha all, here is a link to my interview with Occult of Personality.
“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.
The Master allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out of the way
and lets the Tao speak for itself.
-Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, #45
Once upon a time there was a poor farmer in China who had a son, but no horse. One day a beautiful stallion appeared at his door. “Oh, good luck, good luck,” said the villagers. “Good luck, bad luck, who knows,” replied the farmer. One day his son rode the horse, fell off and broke his leg. “Oh, bad luck, bad luck,” cried the villagers. “Good luck, bad luck, who knows,” the farmer said. The next day the army rode through town, recruiting youths for a faraway war. They took many of the villages sons to the distress of their families, but passed over the farmer’s son, because of his broken leg. “Oh, good luck, good luck,” said the villagers. “Who knows,” said the wise farmer.
Taoism is difficult to absorb for the modern, western mind because its tenets are so opposite to what we are taught in the world. Most of us are raised to be ambitious or aggressive about we want in life, and to react negatively when things don’t go ‘our’ way. Taoists believe in a more organic approach; to not label things or events as bad or good, but instead learn to use everything in a continual evolution. If we hold to tight to one aspiration, for example, we may be unable to recognize an even better opportunity when it comes along. Sometimes the best things that happen in life might have been called accidents or mistakes. It’s like a silver lining approach to life – whatever happens can be good if we simply decide to perceive it that way. All events can be part of a process of growth and change.
When we attempt to force something out of life, or out of ourselves, we are, perhaps unknowingly, deciding to disregard that the Universe, the Tao, might have something better in store for us. In fact, many people even practice magic, attempting to reroute the powerful flow of the Tao for their own desires. Rather, Taoism teaches one to become at rest in the midst of this universal flow, finding gratitude for the now and allowing the future to take care of itself; allowing the great ‘magic’ of the universe to weave the ultimate web of life. It is much the same idea of living in faith, described in other religions. Many of our great sages attempted to explain this.
Trying to control the future
is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.
when you handle the master carpenter’s tools
changes are that you’ll cut your hand.
-Tao Te Ching, #74
This doesn’t mean we have no say in our own lives. We are still responsible for making decisions and choices every day. But our free will is arguably limited if we are not aware of all our choices. Are we always clear on what we are choosing? Are we following our own selfish desires, to the detriment of other people and the world around us? Are we making the effort to find that stillness and peace within us, and seek the answers there first? Are we aware that this Way of life is truly is an “Art of Peace”?
Peace originates wth the flow of things – its heart is like the movement of the wind and waves. The Way is like the veins that circulate blood through our bodies, following the natural flow of the life force. If you are separated in the slightest from that divine essence, you are far off the path.
-Morihei Ueshiba, The Art of Peace
To Surf the Tao, this flow of all things, we must first become aware of the Surf in the first place. Becoming aware of the Spirit, that vibrating harmonic of life all around us and within us, is different for each person. There is a great flowing Source of energy just waiting for you to choose its Way of love, peace and harmony. When you are in this Flow, your life will naturally become one of prosperity and peace.
Remember, we are human beings, not human doings. I will allow Lao Tzu sum up, for he said it better than I ever could, “The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment. Not seeking; not expecting, she is present and can welcome all things…The Master sees things are they are, without trying to control them. She lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle…Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”
This saying has had profound meaning for me throughout my Journey. Looking back, I can see that the knowledge I sought rarely arrived before I was able to absorb it – and if it did, it reappeared again later so I could appreciate it with the right perspective. That goes for the people who arrived along my path too. When I was ready for the change a new person would bring, there they were. The better we get at Surfing the Tao, the easier it becomes to utilize this phenomenon. As another proverb so wisely states, “Teachers open the door, but you must enter yourself.”
20/20 hindsight is truly valuable, for if we can see the wisdom of our seemingly happenchance pasts, we can understand that the future is bound to bring us what we need, when we need it. What can seem like bumps along the path are merely necessary meanderings. We will only understand why later. “When the Way comes to an end, then change – having changed, you pass through.” (I Ching) This is a Way to Surf the Tao.
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.”
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
There was something formless and perfect
Before the universe was born.
It is serene. Empty.
Infinite. Eternally present.
It is the mother of the universe.
For lack of a better name,
I call it the Tao.
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching #25
What is the “Tao”? It is a Chinese word which means “Way”. Buddha also spoke of this One Way, and even Jesus said, “I am the Way…” I believe they were all referring to the Void, this great Everything; God, in the universal sense. Finding words to describe this Force is difficult. I recommend quantum physics as another avenue towards understanding (check out the book The Tao of Physics by Frijof Capra). I call this Way of Life “Surfing the Tao”, and I use the wisdom from various sources to further the message.
“All things, material and spiritual, originate from one source and are related as if they were one family. The past, present, and future are all contained in the life force. The universe emerged and developed from one source, and we evolved through the optimal process of unification and harmonization.” -Ueshiba, The Art of Peace.
Simple realization of this Tao, or Way, can change ones perspective radically. Introspection and meditation can lead one to higher levels of awareness and understanding. One eventually realizes that it is the pursuit of the impersonal wherein realization of the Self arises: when one understands that All is One, and there is no Self – that is, that we are rather part of the Great Self – then our daily sufferings become perceptively smaller.
Emptiness here, Emptiness there,
But the infinite universe stands
Always before your eyes.
Infinitely large and infinitely small;
No difference, for definitions have vanished
And no boundaries are seen…
One thing, all things:
Move among and intermingling,
To live in this realization
Is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.
Sounds like Lao Tzu, doesn’t it? Buddha, like Lao Tzu, also suggests not to dislike the world of senses and ideas, but just to realize, with enlightenment there is no liking or disliking. Lao Tzu said, “the Master observes the world but trusts his inner vision. He allows things to come and go. His heart is open as the sky.”
These masters taught us, that even though reality as we see it is an illusion, that to be a good and loving person within it is important. They teach compassion, harmony, peace, generosity and serenity. Buddha said, “To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult, but those with limited views are fearful and irresolute; the faster they hurry, the slower they go, and attachment cannot be limited: even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray. Just let things be in their own way and there will be neither coming nor going.”
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
It’s too bad the simplest things
Can also be the most difficult.
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