when nothing does not change
Hi, this is my first post. I may not need to post another. I am a taoist. Not because I sought it out, but because I already understood most its principles so when i learned about it, i realized, "ahhh this is the word for the things i already know"
so a little about me. In saying this I am opening up and being vulnerable.
the dilemma is my situation.
I am 49. I live alone, never married, no kids, i have no friends, no family, no income(i am on a VERY small pension) I am unable to work certain jobs for health reasons, and what i have done before, I hated, or learned that ego is what drove me. I have no real fulfilling path in life. and its painful, i accept it being painful but it still is.
The tao suggests, that I do NOTHING. literally. so I am doing by not doing for the first time in my life i am just being.
I could DO something, IF I knew what that thing is that would fulfill me, but thats the problem. I do not know yet.
So, Its checkmate- I know that I must do no-thing, yet I desire to do something, but that something is ego driven and because i know this- I do not want to do anything (yet). this state i am in is NOT fulfilling. it is empty.
So what now? live a life of doing nothing? which seems now almost less fulfilling than when i lived with ego. I guess my worry is, nothing will be the only things that ever happens.
all things change, but thats not entirely true, a mans spine cannot be repaired. or a person cannot grow taller. some people never marry. some never find thier true path.
but what is there to do now? I desire nothing.
I want to desire.
so i can have a fulfilling journey doing something I love, not something based on ego. but I have no insight as to what it might be.
and Ive been trying for years to find it. but to no avail. its so confusing and painful. I accept it, but it does not make it any easier. I wonder if maybe there just is nothing for me and this is a good as it gets, why does only nothing keep happening?
thx for reading
Hi, this is my first post. I may not need to post another. I am a taoist. Not because I sought it out, but because I already understood most its principles so when i learned about it, i realized, "ahhh this is the word for the things i already know" Let me star by saying, I also am a Taoist at heart. I have studied much Taoist thought over several years. I also have been caught in the trap of "not doing" and then realized that I was not completely understanding the wisdom in the concept. Let's see if I may be able to help.
so a little about me. In saying this I am opening up and being vulnerable. This is a good thing
the dilemma is my situation. You are correct, it is YOUR situation, thus no one can fix it but you. You hold Tao in the palm of your hand, you are the Tao and Tao is you.
I am 49. I live alone, never married, no kids, i have no friends, no family, no income(i am on a VERY small pension) I am unable to work certain jobs for health reasons, and what i have done before, I hated, or learned that ego is what drove me. I have no real fulfilling path in life. and its painful, i accept it being painful but it still is. Ego cannot drive us because ego is an illusion, its an idea/thought of who we think we are, a pseudo identity, thus there is nothing to prevent us from doing what we enjoy.
The tao suggests, that I do NOTHING. literally. so I am doing by not doing for the first time in my life i am just being. Tao does not suggest doing nothing literally, what its saying is to do or do not, do not over do what does not need to be done, do not contend with yourself over what you "should" or "shouldn't do", do not be conflicted with yourself, just flow with the Way of life, flow with Tao not against it. Drop the doer part and get lost in the doing, in the enjoyment of doing what you're doing. In other words, loose yourself in whatever you're doing. Obviously we must do things in life so we cannot do nothing literally. Like the Tao state; "Do your work (its obviously telling us to do something) and then step back, the only path to serenity"
I could DO something, IF I knew what that thing is that would fulfill me, but thats the problem. I do not know yet. There is but one way to find out what that thing is that will fulfill us, and that is to continue to do things. Actually fulfillment is in the doing, in the journey of doing things, in participation with Tao/Life. When we resist Tao/life then we are unfulfilled. Drop the resistance and begin doing things. And actually to do things is to drop resistance, to not do thing s is resistance, thus all one need do is begin to do things and resistance drops away automatically.
So, Its checkmate- I know that I must do no-thing, yet I desire to do something, but that something is ego driven and because i know this- I do not want to do anything (yet). this state i am in is NOT fulfilling. it is empty. It is not checkmate yet, unless you say it is, thus if you believe its checkmate then for you it shall be, as you are creating your own reality. This is how powerful you are! Remember, Tao is you and you are Tao.
So what now? live a life of doing nothing? which seems now almost less fulfilling than when i lived with ego. I guess my worry is, nothing will be the only things that ever happens. You life is what you make of it, what do YOU want?" Then go and do it, and drop all this ego/desire/checkmate stuff, just drop it and go enjoy your life.
all things change, but thats not entirely true, a mans spine cannot be repaired. or a person cannot grow taller. some people never marry. some never find thier true path. You are correct in this statement, so now what? What do YOU want to do with your life?
but what is there to do now? I desire nothing. Above you said "yet I desire to do something" now here you said; "I desire nothing" so which is it? Do you see the conflict here? It seems from your post that you do desire and there is nothing wrong with that, so what's the problem?
I want to desire.
so i can have a fulfilling journey doing something I love, not something based on ego. but I have no insight as to what it might be. You do desire, we cannot help it, its the way we're wired. Some people try not to desire, which is the desire to not desire, hence we cannot get out of desire. So, just begin doing what makes you feel good inside, there must be something. Cooking, coloring, writing, speaking, playing games, music, pets, reading, watching your favorite movies, and on and on and on it goes, this world has so much to offer, boredom is a choice.
and Ive been trying for years to find it. but to no avail. its so confusing and painful. I accept it, but it does not make it any easier. I wonder if maybe there just is nothing for me and this is a good as it gets, why does only nothing keep happening? Pain is the result of repression, of resistance, if you truly accepted it there would not be pain, so perhaps you do not accept it and rightfully so in my opinion, so why not use the pain as a catalyst to move beyond it. In other words, instead of just accepting it and saying there is nothing for me, go out and do something, stop trying to "figure out the perfect thing to do" and just go do what you like to do. Drop the whole ego thing, drop all limitations, drop worrying about if its right or wrong and go do something. As long as its not harmful to you or anyone else of course, but I think you know what I mean.
Here is an article about the concept of not doing. I hope you enjoy it.
Wuwei or non-doing is not just about doing nothing
Wuwei is a Chinese word, written as 无为in simplified Chinese, and 無為 in traditional Chinese.
It is a key concept of Taoism, and the central theme of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. Not knowing its true meaning risk missing the wisdom.
The word may be literally translated as ‘doing nothing’, or ‘non-doing’. “The Tao does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone” is one of the well known phrases in the book.
Many people intuitively interpret ‘doing nothing’ as something passive, laid back or negative. This is not wrong as far as the literal meaning of the word is concerned. In the context of Tao, however, it misses something really fundamental.
In the eyes of Tao, if no action is needed based on the laws of nature, doing anything is overdoing. The action however insignificant can do you more harm than good.
For example, if you are growing a plant, having given it the right conditions from the sunlight and the fertilizer to the water, leave it alone! This is the best way to ensure the growth of the plant.
In this instance, doing nothing is doing something.
This is wuwei, or non-doing.
Wuwei does not always involve doing ‘nothing’. Just like growing a plant. You do not do absolutely nothing. Watering the plant, for instance, is doing something. The key point is you should not water too much or too little. Doing it just right! In this case, without excessive or wasted effort is practicing the art of non-doing.
It applies to everything we do if life. If we can let nature take its course, things get done. If we go against it, little — or nothing — gets done, no matter how hard we try.
Doing nothing or doing less, however, is not as easy as it sounds. Those who have tried meditation would probably have experienced the challenge of sitting still and thinking about nothing. Many people simply cannot do that. This happens to other aspects of life as well. Many problems we face often arise because we tend to do too much, rather than do too little. We tend to eat too much, talk too much, worry too much or interfere too much.
How to do less — or not to do something — is an art. It is often an arduous challenge.
Mastering the art of non-doing would enable us to get more things done in life, without putting in more effort.
thank you for answering it means a lot to me.
I dont really know much, especially outside my own experience. i dont profess to be any kind of master in taoism, only that I thought i understood it, now it seems i am utterly lost...its kind of funny actually.
The bottom line is I dont know what I want. thats the issue!
pls accept my apologies for some of my contradictions. i am as i said...confused.
so maybe your message is to just stop thinking, not worry about anything(difficult), and just allow.
yes I understood that aspect of it. could just be as simple as me thinking too much? pure acceptance?...just living life without the judgements?
here is what started all this
I play cello. after reading the below article recently, I asked myself- if i was the last person on earth, would i still pick it up and play just for enjoyment? the answer is no. I probably wouldn't play.
I just dont enjoy it enough to do, if there was no goal i.e. playing beautifully to another person. I keep hearing all these pro's talk about, how the best times are when they are alone with thier instrument. enjoying it. But I dont feel that way. I think somehow i should feel that way. (yes the tao is individual).but my best feelings come from playing beautifully, constantly getting better. because then the better I am at expressing myself.
i play cello i suppose, because I want to be patted on the head and told I make beautiful music. if no one was around to do that, why play? thus by the below article, its egotistical. can ego be good?
but does not the tao teach that we should let go of ego? and if i play music not for myself but for the wrong reasons such as glory or for musical standing, is this not ego attachment? and the only way to solve this is to not play(wu wei)?
pls bear with me as this all started from an article. see article below.
Why do you want to be a musician? To get attention? To attract girls (or boys)? To be rich and famous? If your answer was one of these or something similar, this article is just what you need!
All of these common reasons for wanting to be a musician are EGO ORIENTED. Your ego is a demanding slave driver which is never satisfied. It constantly pushes you to do more, be more, achieve more. In the eyes of your EGO, you are NEVER good enough and what's more, you are never GOING TO BE good enough. What a painful and wasteful way to live!
Your ego tells you that you must be able to play faster scales, more complicated drum beats, more impressive songs than anyone else. You must gather more and more attention for your amazing technical abilities. The more you pursue the satisfaction of your ego, the more it will elude you. That is the nature of this EGO BEAST. If you want to be a musician, turn your attention AWAY FROM YOURSELF and concentrate your focus on the MUSIC.
The Tao of Music 3 says: Become a servant to the magnificent creative power that is MUSIC. By putting the music before your ego, you will naturally attract everything that you need to become a musician--EXACTLY at the moment that you need it and are capable of handling it! The appropriate exercises, lessons, even the perfect teacher will come your way. Your only job is to appreciate these things as they come and take joy in putting them to use.
I can't begin to tell you how many students, both on and off line, have expressed concern with overwhelming "stage fright"--performance anxiety. What are the thoughts that go through your mind before a performance? Do they go something like: What if I mess up? What will people think of ME? Everyone will be looking at ME!
Can you see that these are all ego concerns? I can tell you from years of performing experience that if you concentrate on yourself, you are going to be nervous. No one is comfortable at the thought of being judged by a crowd. If, however, you immerse yourself in the MUSIC, become one with it, concentrate ONLY on it, your performance anxiety will fall by the wayside. Let the music play YOU!
Become a servant to the magnificent creative power that is MUSIC. By putting the music before your ego, you will naturally attract everything that you need to become a musician--EXACTLY at the moment that you need it and are capable of handling it!
Above all--do NOT brag about your playing or continually try to convince yourself and others how great and knowledgeable you are! There is an INVERSE relationship between self-aggrandizement and true musicianship.
It goes like this: The great ones never brag and the ones who brag are never great! Start observing as you interact with others who play music--you will be amazed at the truth of this axiom.
In summary, the Tao of Music3 says: if you are to become a musician, you must serve the MUSIC and not YOURSELF. Stop keeping score of your ego-driven accomplishments and start doing your very best to honor and celebrate the great creative force of music--IT has chosen YOU!
I think that ego can be good in certain instances, and very necessary at times, for does it not drive us to become more proficient at our craft?And perhaps in the beginning we are doing it to impress, or to get applause, to try to "out do" the other guy, but eventually these immature thoughts wear off and we come to fall in love with our craft, and we get enjoyment out of others getting enjoyment out of it. Is this wrong? I do not think so, its the Way life is, Its the Way we are and there is nothing wrong with it. Is it wrong to want to perfect your craft? I see not how this is wrong. Is it wrong to want to play beautiful music for people, no way, in fact I think if one has this talent that it would be a shame to not use it for others enjoyment.
From your comments I do not see ego, you know why? Because if you were ego driven you wouldn't even entertain the idea of stopping your craft to do what you believe is right. Do you see how un-egoic your actions are, that you are distraught over trying to do what you believe is right, this is not egoic my friend but the exact opposite. The fact that you enjoy playing beautiful music for others is also not egoic but normal, natural human kindness as I see it. And if people applaud your efforts, your talents is this wrong? No way! You're sharing your craft/talents and they're sharing their appreciation, how is this egoic?
I don't put much stock into others opinions, especially those that aim to limit, to judge, and while that article has some good points, perhaps the way its worded it comes off so concretely judgmental (don't do this, don't do that) and it seems the author is aiming for perfection yet isn't this egoic too!!! LOL. Thus I would throw that article in the trash, forget about it, grab my cello and play my heart out for others to enjoy. You are safe in the Tao, you are free in the Tao, do what you enjoy, bring your enjoyment and talents to others to enjoy, life is a celebration, not a problem to be solved.
An example of an egoic person would be one who makes fun of others who maybe are not as experienced or proficient at their craft, while the un-egoic person goes over and tries to help them. And even if I was the egoic person, eventually I will learn my lesson and I can change, it doesn't mean I have to give up my craft, but rather just refine my character. A good friend once told me when I was suffering from the need to be perfect; "Its progress not perfection, take your time."
Hello, just thought I would put my two cents in on you post. My feelings on this is.. Your at this "nothing" point for a reason. This is my belief or opinion ...your guides or angels has opened up this opportunity for you for a reason. Things like this doesn't happen by chance. And I say this because I have been there, where you are..well close... I laid down a 20 year career , not due to my health, but because my two year old granddaughter came to live with me due to her parents could not take care of her. My salary was the high salary in our house so now we live in only one. But, I thought , all these years I have dreamed of sleeping late and doing what I wanted all day long then when it happened it was like I was cute off from the world. I wondered why my journey had lead me here. Other than to raise my beautiful granddaughter. It was hard to let go because who I was just changed. I went from being a professional to a full time stay at home grandmother. I thought I had already let go of my ego until that moment, but I had not. The ego is like a ball. When it's on the bottom , it's not seen but is still there. You don't realize this until the ball is kick out from under you. This is when the "nothing" comes in at. Now, my nothing is something. It is my spirituality. I was lead to this path to develop more spirituality. I now have time to devote to my gifts, no shopping sprees anymore , but now that I finally made it to nothing, no money, socializing, people chatter (I'm an Empath) and I have the best teacher in the world teaching me "love" again. Looking at the world as a child again has taught me much about the world that I had forgotten. So see, your nothing is something. Kick that ball and let your soul shine. Ok. I'm finished. Just my thoughts.
I am no Tao expert but I am pretty sure doing no-thing is very different than doing nothing.
I am not so sure you do understand. The suggestion to do nothing is not to be inert. I take it to mean one should simply be and allow action to come from being not from doing. In other words, express your inner being (true nature) directly not what your mind, ego, emotions, memories, social conventions, society, or other people indicate you might do.
If you want some examples, look at your bodily functions. Most of the time your heart beats and you breathe without any 'doing', it just happens. It is very possible to do interact with others and even perform tasks without 'doing'.
Thank you Brother!...Its good to listen to anothers thoughts when ones own wander. I wish great peace to you! again it meant a lot to get feedback.
Thank you Warrioress. I enjoyed your thoughts. and I also deeply appreciate your taking the time to express your thoughts on this. it really does help to know I am not alone and that we all are on the same journey. I am a warrior too, as implied by your name. I am a peaceful warrior. as I am sure you are. Children are some of our greatest teachers. So I listen to children.
I am on the same page as you regarding everything happens for a reason. On top of all of the things going on right now I just lost my (only) friend of four years to a betrayal on her part. Something I never expected. its been two weeks and I am feeling better but it has been painful and an impetus for growth. But it needed to happen. It did happen for a reason. in my life I have observed three stages to this understanding of purpose. I did not take these from a book. this is my own process. and defined in my words.
stage 1. faith. I have faith, yet do not believe entirely, there is purpose to my life.
stage 2. is belief. I believe that there is purpose to all that takes place in my life.
and finally 3. the knowing stage. I KNOW things happen for a reason.
I am not saying everyone's stages are the same, just that this is a truth in my life. and I agree when you say all things have a reason.
I want to thank you for reminding me of this.
I do believe in guides. despite the atheist aspect of the tao, I am more gnostic. but have not defined that yet. just that there is something bigger than me. Although I am light skinned I am part Native and part Irish. I was given my totems at a young age, and my high "Dodem" is Dolphin. They are my pods. I round out my taoist beliefs with my native ones. I do sometimes pray to a creator. Anyway thank you for your time in response to my need to connect.
I did confuse nothing with no-thing. I am more clear on that today.
Music and martial arts in themselves are paths too. As has been said we all walk a path, all those paths are different but lead to the same mountain top!
Today, because of peoples input, I have moved on from this issue. I respect and honour your time to help me on this issue. We are in agreement.
Your life is exactly like mine, yet I am 3 years older than you. That's the only difference.
For years I sat doing nothing because well...the Tao said it was good for me to do...but Tao gets boring and lonely after a while too doesn't it? so it's not really Tao then.
In accordance with this, you must also realise the desire to be desireless is also a desire - one of the very last ones to go, in fact.
You can only 'be' for so long in your own awareness of being, until the pull of 'being something else' becomes too great...but then you're no longer 'being' are you? but then again, were you ever 'being' to start with?
It's still going to be 'chop wood, carry water' whichever way you look at it, but the whole before and after focus is different...perspective changes and you start to see things in a different way....from a different viewpoint.
Can 'no Way' be 'the 'Way'? of course!...every Way is a Way, with full knowing-awareness...but how you choose to live the Way is totally up to you....may as well have some fun while you're at it.
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