Living by a reverence for the laws of the eternal blue sky  

It is said that there is no good in anything until it is finished. As we ask when are we – while antiquity and final outcomes ask for patience. Patience to ensure that true aim hits the true target. Adding that we are to live by what the ancients taught… the laws of the eternal blue sky and that for every action there is a ripple through time. As we spend our time looking up to this sky and the stars. Knowing where home is and that we always would return with stories we are to tell. 

It is this thought that serves the basis of Eastern thought and philosophy, as well as indigenous people the world over. Like native American Black Elk of the Oglala Sioux and the prayer circle of the Navajo of the southwest.  

The confluence of direct avenues to the stars, the Tao, Lao Tzu and to our own eternal spirit.  

To Buddha and Buddhism where one measures age not in years but in lifetimes as karma arrives exactly when one is ready to heed its message through compassion, and later Confucius with thoughts of benevolence and virtue. The Tao simply another term used to define a universality of God from within all things. When we look to the heavens and stars, we all become one. There is no division amongst those who follow what might be called heaven’s intent, with man simply one of the ten thousand things found in nature 

Somewhere along the way, the laws of man for some seem to have superseded a reverence for the laws of nature. But not everywhere. Plato and the ancient Greeks knew the power of nature and tried to understand and convey man’s role. More recently Emerson in the 1840’s and 50’s spoke to the nature of man and our connection to the stars and universe. Of our transcendence, even coining transcendentalism as a term that would further define our obligation to nature. We are each to learn of our own transcendence opening our arms and heart to nature, as if we are coming or going home becoming a portal for others. As we convey the magic the entire world has to offer. As illustrated by efforts to preserve our National Parks in their original beauty as we learn what they too must teach us.  

Our instincts lead us to this higher consciousness and awareness. We think of Darwin and ideas of the survival of the fittest. How we have a choice to make and how things change and adapt to survive, and to our own obligation as both students of history and as teachers. Not simply for ourselves, but for everything we touch. As such, we first recall and reminisce about our earliest memories, and the shaman who taught us that nature is our greatest teacher.

As we too look to the stars i.e., heavens for guidance and benevolence, and the eternal blue sky for answers. To the environment and perils of global warming and how we look to the past to see beyond the present and ourselves. To those who convey the past as present through their own actions showing us the way. 

We think of Henry David Thoreau who took to the woods and a cabin owned by Emerson so he could look to nature to help find the answers he already knew that needed self-expression, and his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay “Civil Disobedience”.   To Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart, who had music in their head that expressed eternal.

To Michaelangelo and David carved out of stone who needed his beauty to come forth and show. The stories are endless. To the music of our own generation that reverberates through our lives. Today, I think of Thomas Merton, who was an American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, mystic, and scholar of comparative religion. Merton became a keen proponent of interfaith understanding, exploring Eastern religions through his study of mystic practice. He is particularly known for having pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama; Japanese writer D.T. Suzuki, and Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh.  It is Merton’s work, and writing, which provides a great inspiration for me here on my website. I highly recommend exploring his writing and books. You will not be disappointed. 

And finally, to our gardens where we express our own love of nature as we acknowledge the past, convey the present, and show respect for nature we will leave behind when we’re gone. Are we simply an annual flower that may reseed itself next year, or a perennial whose instincts convey that it is to get roots telling of its past firmly established, gain nourishment and insight while here in the present, and return when the seasons tell it the time is right as the energy of the sun and eternal blue-sky demand. Can the same be said of us? Are we an annual planted once and then gone with the season, or perennial with a long history where the need to change only determines our time of ultimate arrival. As Ram Das told us we get to wake up and choose. 

 

 

By 1dandecarlo

Tranquil abiding…. when even the far off seems nearby 

To renew, we must both destroy and create patterns reflecting the past and future. Hindu God Shiva tells us that each of us lives in a cosmic dance. As we are to be on the threshold of a new and better world. Keeping thy faith until we meet again and to learn the steps. That there are no limitations of the dream except what you see, or covet, outside yourself. Lack of patience and diligence are for you to overcome.

Number 68 Tranquil Abiding and Number 140 It’s too late when you are Talking to the Tips of Branchesentries from My travels with Lieh Tzu here on website come to mind.

Tranquil Abiding

Finding peace of mind from within. Striving for contentment while staying within yourself with simple simplicity and an innate sense of modesty. Finding a certain strength of character to not be challenged nor surrender to the provocative that leads to an affluent or comfortable lifestyle or way of life.                    

As you find the natural temperament within yourself, the stronger your will and capacity to endure hardship. With this, you will gain enthusiasm and forbearance laying a solid foundation for spiritual progress to develop a singleness of mind and penetrating insight. 

Aspire only to tranquil abiding. Strive for and achieve a sense of contentment and modesty and an ethically sound and disciplined way of life. In thinking about discipline, it cannot be imposed from outside, but must come from within yourself. Discipline should be based on a clear awareness of its value and a degree of introspection and mindfulness. Once ingrained, it becomes automatic or self-imposed. You then become free to develop alertness and mindfulness. 

The bodhisattva Manjusri is the bodhisattva of wisdom not confined to knowledge or concepts who works for the enlightenment of all beings.               

When you have developed these two basic factors of awakening, then you can attain singleness of mind. Have no personal involvements or obligations that will direct your attention from the path you must now follow. Transcend the limits of your human existence. Forever losing your identity and endeavoring to take care of your ultimate aspiration. Understand the role of attachments and clinging and use them in letting go. With little or no obligation and involvement remain free to fly away.          

(From excerpts of an article in the May 1995 issue of the Shambhala Sun by the Dalai Lama with interjections by DCD 4/12/95)  

As I said in the beginning, all we need is what we already know. All that is left is to study true emptiness and mindfulness that leads to this tranquil abiding. For only the sage can overcome the self and enter the teachings of the Tao. As you travel with your mind’s eye to places you have been and seen before. This is the dark mystery beyond all mysteries, and the truest of gifts. To see beyond the present as if seeing the world as the blind ancient Taoist master and WuDang warrior, One Hundred Eyes.  According to the book A Brief History of Khubilai Khan, the real Hundred Eyes was a military general, not a monk and kung fu master as portrayed in the Marco Polo series on Netflix.

Knowing that space and time are not fixed. To be in-sync and in-tune with the vibrations of the universe that is expanding with every moment as a moment of creation. To become mystic-like in a mystical world with no more in hand than knowing thyself. With nature itself based on uncertainty that we each have a hand in. To live within the certainty of what may be considered as a dream, our imagination, the ultimate gift of the ages. The next step is nothing more than what comes next. With no fanfare, or attention, other than what others can emulate and learn by and through our actions. To move beyond “thoughts of becoming a sage,” to living as if thoughtlessly beyond what you have written and who you are yet to become. To live the lessons, we are here to teach as if it is second nature. That this expanding universe depends on each of us. 

We begin and continue with humility and learning. Understanding the role of roots, leaves, and branches, as well as knowing our legacy is not enough. For the role of the sage depends on acknowledging his proper place, beginnings and outcomes, patience and self-control and never giving way to anger. That heart and spirit make the sage. To live a life that only the oracles can see. Just where does one go when knowing is not enough. We are to make the tools we need and go where our voice can be heard and is needed the most.

It is too late when you are talking to the tips of Branches

How is one to govern oneself, and what does it say about who we are in the eyes of others and more importantly how we see ourselves. Where can our roots lie? Is not the answer to how we care for our spirit? If we endeavor to feed and nourish our internal spirit, will not our actions simply become the extension of who we are yet to become? 

As the roots take hold, without proper nourishment, the trunk does not begin to flourish and take shape. Is it not from this those branches, and limbs spring forth with leaves to breathe in the rays of the sun? To one day encourage and help us to attain some sense of enlightenment, as we are reminded of in the following story. 

King Chuang of Ch’u suffered from a great malady or illness. Afraid to share his problem with his peers he discussed his problem with his servant Chan Ho. King Chuang confided to Ho: “My ancestors have left me with a great responsibility that I must maintain. However, the problems of the State keep me from seeing how I can fit everything together in a way that makes sense. How am I to put the state in order so that good fortune follows me and my own posterity?” His servant Chan Ho responded that while he understood how to put one’s life in order, caring for the state was another matter. King Chuang continued: “I have inherited the shrine of my royal ancestors and the altars of state. I wish to learn how to keep them.” 

The answer was difficult for Chan Ho. For as he felt honored to have been chosen to serve the king, he felt that he was in a difficult situation. He conveyed to King Chuang: “Your servant has never heard of a prince whose own life was in order, yet his state was in turmoil, nor of any whose life was in turmoil but his state was in order. Therefore, the root must lie in how you choose to govern yourself.” 

Chan Ho then told the king a story that had been passed down from generation to generation amongst the poor people of the village of his father and grandfather. It went something like this: “Your life is governed as you would care for a grove of fruit trees. If you can find the time to care and nurture the trees so that you create the finest fruit in the land, then how can success not find you?” Chan Ho continued: “Giving advice to you after you are in the state your actions have found you is like talking to the tips of branches. At this late date, whatever you do may be too little, too late. 

Chan Ho concluded by saying that if you can find this way, then the answer will come rushing forward to greet you as a long-lost friend who knows his association with you can only be to his benefit as well. This is all you will ever need to know. The king, now having his answer, thanked his servant and wondered how he could not have seen the answer for himself and set out to find his gardens. Upon seeing them, he saw the care Chan Ho had given them and knew it may not be too late. 8/16/95 

What a paradox it all seems. Are we here to change ourselves, the nature of what we find, or simply report back what we have seen… Or collectively, all three, or none. With some possessing the pull of memories, and some not. To say otherwise, misses the universal point for nature’s keep for eternity’s sake. Knowing that when water is poured into a vessel it becomes the vessel. Becoming what you seek as balance and certainty of self and peace found in the heart of the faithful. 

By 1dandecarlo

Becoming the tuning fork of the ethos

Who are any of us but expressions of the voices of the past, present, and beyond? How will we meet our ultimate role? That the voices of our forebearers are to flow into us. Thereby sharing with us their wise counsel and wisdom. With this flow we hear their voice knowing they are here with us. As we learn that what we do affects the past.             

Even with anger found in the moment we know there is nothing to forgive. The answer lies with our intuition that tells us there is more at work than meets the eye beyond ourselves. With no escaping that there comes a time when our destiny determines who we will be. With these remnants of the past that we are to exemplify and express today we begin to change and ask just who is our audience and telling the story?

Who is it that creates the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period. What is it that motivates the character or disposition of a community, group, person, or even us? 

What is it that determines our actions rather than our thought or emotion, but someone the ancient Greeks would say has immense values found within us? As Plato and Emerson remind us from where did these values derive but our inherent nature and virtue? Who is it that inspires us and who are we here to emulate ourselves? What values are we here to try on for size to see what fits for nature and humanity’s sake? And more importantly, who is following us or simply listening from afar. What are we here to bring forward and then leave behind for the benefit of those who came before us and those that follow? 

There is a natural continuous flow in the universe beyond space and time that everything revolves, or evolves around, including us. What becomes of the essence of what we think we know or take for granted and is seen as only our imagination that takes us there, or knowledge that predates us. Like the vibrations music takes us back to and what we were doing at the time. When we are truly listening, the universe does the same and serves to remind, or take us there that makes us authentic. 

Stephen Hawkins conveys, “Quantum physics tells us that no matter how thorough our observation of the present, the (unobserved) past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities. The universe, according to quantum physics, has no single past, or history. The fact that the past takes no definite form means that observations you make on a system in the present affect its past.” 

In practical terms, if you spend time writing, there are times when you need the right word and it just comes to you and you ask yourself, where did that come from? Like having an upward gaze into the sky discerning for yourself the word to use or unending path to follow. Upon entering this universal flow, or portal, it is like looking or going beyond what you have seen and done before. It is gaining a clearer understanding of the continuum you have always encountered over space and time and acknowledges your ultimate role. And then here you are… 

To what is it our presence asks and for others not? While some can hear the music and have memories others seem deaf and cannot. With endings still to be written. It is as if we are here to update the past as prologue that defines inevitable change that defines an obvious future as our next step. If quantum physics reminds us that it is our memories that are eternal, then it is our reverence for nature that defines and enables our divinity that keeps us grounded and universal. 

When we are listening, what is it our memories tell us? How do they help to define our path or way? Most importantly, do we follow them without the attachments that distract us? Seeing beyond the present to this universal flow letting the present help to take us there. With prayer guiding us in the moment, and meditation taking us beyond the moment to our highest endeavor. Without our eternal memories guiding us we become lost in the moment. What is it that guides the always present voice from within each of us? Ultimately are we conscious or unconscious of what we are here to do. 

Einstein helps us understand how this works by saying that energy radiates from one object to another. That we affect everything we touch even with our thoughts. Hawkins added above that we live in a world of infinite possibilities. I believe that connecting with our past, i.e., our memories, is what assists in going beyond the present to a definable future. It is the ability to enter this eternal flow of energy that has always been what ultimately defines our presence. As for me, writing becomes the vehicle that takes us there.  

Renewed, we go forward with both heart and soul hungering for the eternal resisting the pull of time. Soon we find ourselves on the road that has the ending we each are to travel. The way of the faithful is committing to pay the price even if the cost cannot be known and trusting that in the end, it will have been worth it. The journey is put before us by powers greater than our own. In those times our paths are laid out where our hearts will not go unless we are listening to the past. No matter the perils.  

By 1dandecarlo

Adhering to our authentic self 

To begin living and writing in a language appearing to be something you haven’t heard before. Beyond what might be considered as our “comfort zone” Written a thousand, or hundreds of years ago, yesterday, or today. What is the flow that filters through us? As we are reminded of an ancient Buddhist saying that if the student does not become better than the teacher – then the teacher is a failure, as you always are both student and teacher.

It begins with knowing our own story before telling it as a reflection of our soul. Only then from a mountain top so that everyone can hear.

Speaking with words that make others’ hair stand on end. Repeated again and again, as though there is so much more than has been written, it seems pointed back to the beginning. As if told to remake ourselves on our terms with nothing final until we write the last chapter. 

Words you recognize instantly as some form of subjective truth that have an objective reality to them because they are spoken with merit and virtue. What’s important is to become a receiver of what takes you beyond or to your highest good. What others would say but couldn’t say. To agree with Jung that there is a collective unconsciousness that we are here to emulate. 

To begin by realizing that you may not be who you have been conditioned to come to believe who you think you are, where lack and limitation are said to reside. As if you had an alter ego waiting to emerge from the depths of sameness. From where conformity becomes the only accepted norm… and a place where many would say dreams come or go to die. 

Divine understanding that death is only a transition. That there is no such thing as time, with no real beginnings or endings. Everything happens at the same time in the universe, but we perceive it sequentially because that’s what we have learned. Instead, we are to follow ideas expressed by Nichola Tesla that we can move through time and space as a continuum as our authentic selves. With every choice we make opening us to new possibilities.  

Even if we don’t acknowledge or recognize it, we affect things in countless places. That we can regret things we did in the past and would change everything. You don’t need a door to change things. You never did. Just follow your eternal instincts in keeping with divine order you have always known. Ready to take the next step. Telling through your memories, what may be called universal mind, what you have written that which is untold or simply forgotten, ready to convey, understand the unknown, and go there. 

 

    

By 1dandecarlo

Our history is not determinative – meaning we are not there yet.  

There is always more to do. If you could see yourself beyond the horizon acknowledging who you have always been and where your journey leads, what would you change in the present moment?  

With final outcomes yet to be decided and unsettled. Our essential nature subject to growth and change, as we find ourselves fading back, intently, joyfully, without ego, into nothing important. To have been everywhere at one time or another with a never-ending energy. What can it matter now? With stride and portal in tow, nothing left but to live in bliss. 

What is it that serves to settle or determine what will always in the end change?

Perhaps it is why a talented artist continues to paint as if it is through images and his endeavors that the way becomes clear. Why the storyteller will repeat stories passed down through the ages so they will be continually added to and built upon as if nothing is over in the universe as the story just transforms and continues. Both tell us when the wounds of our soul begin to heal, we will find our way.    

Who we are is important. As our innate nature asks what we are to do but to go deeper. Doing what we are here to do by letting our soul and eternal memories lead the way. Remembering what you are and who you have always been, that no matter how far you run it catches up with you.

It is said that what often gives us the most pain is where our spirit lies, why is this? Only when you get out of the darkness will you know who you are. Time is a thing that will gradually make your conscience weigh heavier until you will not be able to carry it alone. Simply know that you are here to aid in the growth and change of all things found in nature, and that it is in releasing fear that freedom comes to visit and decides to stay.

To understand beginnings and endings and our own place in it all and that it begins with us. To become pure of heart is the will of the Tao that speaks to and for our universal voice and wisdom. As failure brings clarity to a place existing beyond space and time. What you perceive as a measure of time, be it a minute, an hour, or even a day, is but an instant in your world. Doorways and portals are but gateways to history. All the answers are ready to be changed by you.  The truth as to our origins always stands before us as much as we either deny or try to find it. 

 

By 1dandecarlo

Living beyond the present moment

When time and everything else has passed, is said, and done… it will have been our virtue or lack thereof that defined us. How can we be so cruel and disrespectful to others and the nature that surrounds us? What can be the point? How can we think or say that my way is better than your way when we are unsure of our own or the outcome that may follow? Eternity only speaks for each of us when we are listening and ready to use what we think is our imagination and insight to go there.

As living in the present moment is said to be most important.

We are to celebrate those things that move ourselves and others to a universal view, to our highest aspiration and virtue. Growing accustomed to the ever-present flow of wisdom and understanding of the ages and moving others to becoming ubiquitous and omnipresent, what that means, and what we are here to contribute. To see and respect the innate nature of all things. We do not simply live in a house; we surround ourselves in and with our dreams of our highest aspiration. Not simply in a physical sense, but as the embodiment of impermanence of who we are yet to become. Open to change and authentic to our true selves, we become a constant like a beacon of light from the stars others look to for direction. As we in turn evolve and change signaling our ability to become more universal as well. 

To the right a depiction of a dragon (some would say phoenix) outlined in the stars from more than two thousand years ago at the Taoist Cave next to the Leshan Giant Buddha south of Chengdu. Both figures are seen to possess a reserved yet elusive spirit, capable of freely transcending the boundaries of heaven and earth, they were often referred to as metaphors in ancient China for gentleman and sages. For example, Confucius compared Lao Tzu, a famous philosopher and thinker of ancient China, to a dragon. It is also believed that Taoists compared Confucius’ wisdom and grace to the lofty virtues associated with the phoenix. Both took benevolence as the ultimate virtue towards the treatment of others.

Below is an entry from “My travels with Lieh Tzu” written in May 1995. This is from an unpublished manuscript I wrote found on my website. In Chinese and Taoist history Lieh Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and Lao Tzu of Tao Te Ching fame, and their writing, were the foundation of Taoism.

Taoism and Buddhism became intertwined in Eastern philosophy so much so that adding thoughts attributed to the Dali Lama with my own become appropriate to our path going forward. Traveling with Lieh Tzu above the clouds, is as if you are immortal having no concept of time spending time with old friends from the past. Even Einstein’s Theory of Relativity conveys our ability to move in the past. 

Excerpt from “My travels with Lieh Tzu”:

Tranquil Abiding

Finding peace of mind from within. Striving for contentment while staying within yourself with simple simplicity and an innate sense of modesty. Finding a certain strength of character to not be challenged nor surrender to the provocative that leads to an affluent or comfortable lifestyle or way of life. 

As you find the natural temperament within yourself, the stronger your will and capacity to endure hardship. With this, you will gain enthusiasm and forbearance laying a solid foundation for spiritual progress to develop a singleness of mind and penetrating insight. 

Aspire only to tranquil abiding. Strive for and achieve a sense of contentment and modesty and an ethically sound and disciplined way of life. In thinking about discipline, it cannot be imposed from outside. But you must come from within yourself. Discipline should be based on a clear awareness of its value and a degree of introspection and mindfulness. Once ingrained, it becomes automatic or self-imposed. You then become free to develop alertness and mindfulness. 

The bodhisattva Manjusri is the bodhisattva of wisdom not confined to knowledge or concepts who works for the enlightenment of all beings. 

When you have developed these two basic factors of awakening, then you can attain singleness of mind. Have no personal involvements or obligations that will direct your attention from the path you must now follow.

Originally constructed in the 800s, Qingyang Palace, the name means Black Goat, named after the bronze goat statues, which can be found outside of Sanqing Hall. It’s the largest and oldest Taoist temple in Chengdu and is well known throughout western China. Second to Qufu and Confucius, I am drawn to Chengdu in southwest China east of Tibet, famous in both Buddhist and Taoist history and religion. I have visited Chengdu and Qufu many times.

Transcend the limits of your human existence. Forever losing your identity and endeavoring to take care of your ultimate aspiration. Understand the role of attachments and clinging and use them in letting go. With little or no obligation and involvement remain free to fly away. 

(From excerpts of an article in the May 1995 issue of the Shambhala Sun by the Dalai Lama with interjections by DCD 4/12/95) 

Seeming to be far beyond the lives of those around you. Not in a conceited way, but on a path separate from others.

Seeing beyond the clouds on Yellow Mountain in China

Those you encounter only fleeting glimpses of what remains undefined and/or uncompleted with what may close never closing and what begins never-ending.

Anything outside yourself in effect non-existent as if you have reached the point where living becomes beyond the present moment. With music and a sense of tones and vibrations of the universe as your guide. 

A never-ending contentment knowing that life is simply a continuum with nothing remaining that needs to be done other than adding to mindfulness that can be attributed to universal peace and understanding. Living beyond the clouds, as you have seen and done before. At rest with no hurry to reach for the next rung on the ladder. Only looking for peaceful beginnings and endings and to something you wrote all those years ago that may be added to.  

As you look to the present with your eternal presence in mind. Twenty-seven years after writing the above as a tribute to tranquil abiding, that while my travels have taken me far, knowing that I still have far to go.

To the right depiction of the dragon from more than two thousand years ago the Wuhou Temple in Chengdu.

Empowering myself and others with the mindfulness described above never-ending. Why looking to the bodhisattva Manjusri, the bodhisattva vow, Chuang Tzu’s Perfect Man, and the wisdom of my mentors (in Eastern philosophy and thought referred to as dragons) reminds me of the past and future yet to come. 

 

 

 

 

  

 

By 1dandecarlo