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. **

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Pantheism

I've been thinking for a while that there's something missing from my Taoist experience. I've had difficulty putting my finger on it but I think at last I've got there. I seem to be missing the feeling of wonder and awe at the world around me and I feel that that is something which I need as part of my experience of life. It could be a failing of philosophical Taoism but is more probably something missing in my understanding or a level of experience of the Tao that I've not yet reached.

I've also been looking around at "spiritual" communities where a Taoist might feel at home. A place where there is the opportunity to explore my beliefs with those that share similar ones, but also those who have travelled seemingly complementary paths. I had hoped that the Reform Taoist Congregation might be that place but it has not got there yet. I hope that someday it might develop into such a place but for the moment I believe it will be a long while before it develops beyond being an internet forum, albeit one well worth participating in for the quality of opinions and the pleasantness of the company.

Through exchanging messages with some of the people I've met on the Reform Taoism forum I've found modern scientific Pantheism and the World Pantheist Movement. Scientific Pantheism seems to me to be Philosophical Taoism with an emphasis on a reverence for nature. They list their beliefs as...

  • Reverence for Nature and the wider Universe.
  • Active respect and care for the rights of all humans and other living beings.
  • Celebration or our lives in our bodies on this beautiful earth as a joy and a privilege.
  • Realism - acceptance that the external world exists independently of human consciousness or perception.
  • Strong naturalism, without belief in supernatural realms, afterlives, beings or forces.
  • Respect for reason, evidence and the scientific method as our best ways of understanding nature and the Universe.
  • Promotion of religious tolerance, freedom of religion and complete separation of state and religion.

I'm not sure if the World Pantheist Movement might be that home I'm looking for, or one of several, but I feel it's interesting enough to be checked out further. I'll post more on this when I've gained more experience of the WPM and how this reverence does or does not fit with my understanding of Taoism, but I recommend that you visit their site to see if it has something to offer you.

6 comments:

masterymistery said...

Cool blog. interesting content. I'm a militant pantheist who cannot understand why the concept is not adopted by more people. To me it offers a framework for reconciling all apparently contradictory beliefs and belief systems.

I am not into labels, such as "taoism" or "pantheism" or "gnosticism. " I believe that most if not all disagreements are not substantial disagreements but in fact are more about the misapplication of labels.

For me, pantheism facilitates what I call the process of "dispelling the illusion of difference".

Anyway, I enjoy your writing and your thoughts so I will definitely be back. Keep up the great work.

masterymistery at cosmic rapture

Woody said...

I am not into labels, such as "taoism" or "pantheism" or "gnosticism. " I believe that most if not all disagreements are not substantial disagreements but in fact are more about the misapplication of labels.

I agree. I really use Taoism as a useful label, nothing more, though recently I've been wondering if by using the label for quite a few years now I've been talking myself into a box - hence looking at Unitarianism & Pantheism groups.

Thanks for your comments & I hope you visit again.

Cheers,

W

Peter Schogol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Schogol said...

Woody, I suspect that you and I are traveling quite similar paths. I don't use nouns to speak of myself (other than "Jew" which comes with heritage, "gay" which comes with the wiring, and "Unitarian Universalist" which comes with my monthly membership check), but adjectives such as pantheist and taoist fit me well.

I too am less than totally wowed by Western Reform Taoism, but -- as you said -- they are just starting out. I am a life member of the World Pantheist Movement, and while I think it a very worthwhile organization it has a number of members who would find our spiritual take on pantheism a bit out-there.

Still, between the WPM and the Unitarian Universalist Association, I think a taoistic pantheistic contemplative sort can find kindred spirits.

Good finding you.

Peter
Lexington, KY

P.S. You might consider allowing readers to "follow" your blog!

Dave said...

You might also look into the Universal Pantheist Society (UPS) which is far more open to spiritual expressions within pantheism than the WPM. UPS has grown significantly in the past couple of years with a Yahoo group, Facebook group, and Ning board. Check them out at:

http://www.pantheist.net

Grayson said...

If you are still searching for a community to call home I believe that http://www.pantheistsite.com/ may be perfect for you. Its much more then a forum, it also has a blog and a members section a lot like face book with profiles, comments, messages, and pictures. I hope that this helps you.

http://www.pantheistsite.com/ http://www.pantheistsite.webs.com/

 
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