Welcome to The Path of Water

This site is dedicated to exploring the Tao and Philosophical Taoism; and how it relates to everyday modern life in the 21st Century. It also includes posts relating to how I feel Taoism can provide insights for dealing with the problems of everyday living.

The process of writing out my thoughts helps me to explore what I believe and why, so these posts will probably develop over time. I hope that you'll find this site interesting and, for those of you new to the Tao and Taoism, I hope that it can provide you with a first step on the path to a rich spiritual life. If you want to post comments relating to a post or the site as a whole I'd be grateful as all feedback is helpful.

Enjoy your visit - In Tao - Woody

Who would follow the Way must go beyond words.
Who would know the world must go beyond names. *

No man ever steps in the same river twice,
for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. **

Friday, 29 February 2008

Introduction to Taoism

I was thinking of trying to write a simple and not to heavy introduction to Taoism, but while searching the Net for ideas I came across an excellent site which already does this. The Introduction to Taoism site is located at...


So what's with all the pictures of water?

Well, hopefully without getting too pretentious, all these different images are hopefully illustrating one of the key points central to Taoism. In the the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu writes "The Name that can be spoken is not the Eternal Name" meaning IMHO that when you give a name to something you only partially describe it.

For this particular case when we think of "Water" we might think of a glass of water, or a river, or the sea, but there are many, possibly limitless, other aspects such as the way light reflects on a wet pavement, a rainbow, the patterns raindrops make on a window, a cloud floating in the sky, or as here how water influences the world around us as a form of transport and in the location of our great cities. All of these things are also part of that thing we quickly describe as "Water".

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Tao and flat-pack furniture

So, if I'm here ranting on about Taoism, what impact has it had on my life? Well, one real life impact it has had is that I have attained an almost Zen like ability to assemble flat-pack furniture without getting angry, swearing, screaming or descending into the depths of despair.

It used to be the case that I'd hate to get something that I had to assemble myself. The item used to sit in its packing for months until I could postpone the agony no longer. Then the real trouble would start, frustration at the poor instructions, being told to count everything before starting, cheap screws, difficult to assemble pieces; all of these were a source of enormous frustration and stress, along with a feeling of anger towards the people that devised this form of torture. I'd put it together piece by piece while muttering and planning what I'd put in my letter of complaint to the company. Not surprisingly, most of the flat-packs I assembled were poorly constructed & I felt little satisfaction when they were completed.

Since finding Taoism I've realised that the problems I experienced did not really come from the outside world, but rather from my own perceptions and expectations. Before I even started I resented having to do the job, even though it was me that chose and bought the item. I could have paid more for an assembled item, but I wanted the cost savings of flat-pack - just without the effort. Once started I would be concentrating on rushing through the assembly as quick as possible and planning what I'd be doing once I'd finished. Any delay was another reason to be angry, and of course my anger & haste led to mistakes, which meant more delays causing a vicious circle.

Through Taoism I have gained perspective, relaxing & accepting that this is what I will be doing for the next how-ever many hours, taking pleasure in following the steps described carefully and calmly without thinking about what I'd be doing after, and adjusting my expectations based on experience. All of these mean that when I assemble a flat-pack these days, that's all I concentrate on - and all the stress, frustration and anger just fades away.

The sage works quietly, seeking neither praise nor fame;
completing what he does with natural ease, and then retiring.
This is the way and nature of Tao. (4)