Good morning. Yesterday, I listened to several podcasts related to the old Napoleon Hill
book “Think and Grow Rich”. This is one of those cool perks about my job. I’m able to have headphones and listen to music or podcasts while I am working. One of the questions that’s come up for me is can I live in harmony with nature (Tao) and also set goals to improve my financial situation and so on? To have someone like Napoleon Hill telling you that you must have desire (It’s the title of Chapter 2 in “Think and Grow Rich”) and Lao Tzu preaching against desire in the Tao Te Ching. One quote that stands out is “There is no greater crime than desire” in Chapter 46.
Either way, money has been a problem for most of my adult life, aside from a few years of something resembling prosperity a few years ago where I had a successful band supplementing my income. I don’t believe having debt is a good thing, I need to work on conserving money and not wasting it, and I would like to be comfortable and not have worry about money consuming my thoughts at all times.
So I consulted the Internet to find out if Taoism and Think and Grow Rich were incompatible in everyone’s opinion. I wasn’t the first person to ask this question. George Sawyer responded, ” If you read about famous Daoists, they are pretty uniform in their disdain for wealth and success and power.” He suggested that if you must have goals, make it to learn and practice standing meditation. Derek Lin (Taoist author) at Taoism.net has a different opinion, and says that his definition of success includes financial prosperity with no apologies whatsoever. He explains more in this article about how greed pushes us away from spirituality, not pursuit of money.
Here is a video that I listened to yesterday (just heard it, didn’t watch it), and I found the interview subject Bob Procter to be inspiring.
Designing Your Life:
If you’ve been reading my posts in the last week, I’ve been reading the book Designing Your Life, and today, I’m up to Chapter 3 where I am working on the “Good Time Journal”. For this exercise, you basically log your activities, measuring your levels of engagement and energy while doing the activity. We are trying to find what activities put us in a “flow” state, what some refer to as being “in the zone”, if you’ve ever experienced total immersion in an activity, time seems to quickly pass, and you are totally engaged and enjoying the activity, this is what the authors are referring to. By identifying the kinds of activities we are engaged in, the authors say, we want to look for the kind of work that puts us in a flow state. You can download the Good Time Journal template here, if you would like to try it yourself.
Deng Ming-Dao on Subconscious:
Heaven and hell:
If you’ve ever tried meditation, it is not always the calm, peaceful activity that it appears to be. “The pains and the struggles of the past sometimes haunt us with astounding vehemence”, Deng Ming-Dao says. These old problems and conflicts come back to our memories, and may even haunt us in our dreams. “This is why it is said that hell is within us”. These are scars within us. We have to tap into the power within us to transcend this pain and these scars, he says. Tapping into this power is tapping into the divine. He doesn’t really tell us how to do that. I thought he was talking about the same thing which Eckhart Tolle refers to as the “Pain Body”, which as Tolle says, can take over the person’s mind and keep them from living in the present. I doubt that I am unique but I do know I struggled very much with my tendency to hold grudges and keep resentment toward people who’ve harmed or insulted me. Somehow, I doubt that I am unique in this area, or I may be somewhat unique in being a person who admits to having resentments.
Today, Ryan Holiday quotes Marcus Aurelius, and creates an exercise based on the quote. Think about all the possibly upsetting things you don’t know about. He gives examples of people talking behind your back, you made a mistake you never found out about, or you lost or dropped something and never noticed. He says this is proof that it is possible to have no opinion about something negative or upsetting. He says we can practice acting as if upsetting things never happened, having no opinion about it. Right away, I suspect there are some limitations with this exercise. It will probably only work for events that are somewhat trivial, things that may upset you in the moment but quickly become trivial. Otherwise, it sounds like denial or detachment.
Thanks for reading.