Discover more from Snale Trails: A Travel Adventure
That you may see the meaning of within
What’s up, y’all!
Had a beautiful run at the Siskiyou Out Back last weekend. The weather was gorgeous, and the views were even better. Have I told you lately how much I love running trails? There is something simply primal about ripping through the forest by yourself. It was me against the mountain on Saturday, and I won. This time.
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Though I spend a lot of time talking about the philosophy of Stoicism as a way for life, it doesn’t mean I think it’s the only way to live. I’m often fascinated with the overlap between Western and Eastern philosophies. To me, they have much more in common than they don’t.
This past year, I’ve been studying the Tao Te Ching. It’s an ancient Chinese text – how old exactly is up for debate. But as the Stoic Marcus Aurelius proves to me daily, the problems of humanity really haven’t changed that much in two thousand years. For example, in Meditations 2.1 (Hays translation) he says, “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly.” Which of us hasn’t said that in the morning? 😁
Marcus goes on to remind himself that even when people are doing wrong, they are still part of the divine, they are still our brother. He says, “Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.”
Love your fellow man, even when they don’t deserve it. It’s not hard to see why Marcus Aurelius, the Philosopher King, is considered one of the greatest men who ever lived.
In the Eastern world of philosophy, there was another great man, Lao Tzu (Laozi). I’ve heard a few variations of the origin of the Tao Te Ching, and no one even knows for sure if Lao Tzu was a real person. But the legend goes that he was an old, wise politician who got disgusted with the ways things were going and decided to leave. So he mounted a water buffalo and headed out. A border guard stopped him, and when he found out that Lao Tzu was leaving for good, he asked him to write his knowledge down, so that it wouldn’t be lost. He did it, and the Tao Te Ching has now become a book of legend.
What is the Tao Te Ching? It is a book about Taoism, which is a philosophy on living in harmony with the universe. You may have also seen it spelled Dao De Jing. The different spellings have to do with the way that English speakers translated Chinese in the 18th century, versus how they do now. The sound that is made is somewhere between an English “T” and a “D”, so the written translation has changed over the years.
Today, both versions are still in use, but they refer to the same thing: the book written by Lao Tzu. This link will download a pdf of the Tao Te Ching, if you’d like to read it. It’s very short in length, but very long in wisdom.
Worship by cultivating 9 fields: Diet. Herbs. Clothing. Recitation. Movement. Meditation. Creativity. Teaching. And most important: Compassion.
Worship is not a matter of making an obeisance to a god. It is a matter of achieving godlike qualities in yourself. This is done through the cultivation of nine areas:
Diet should be moderate, healthy, and of living foods. If you want to be sustained, eat things that themselves sustained life.
Learn to use herbs, for they heal and maintain health.
Be moderate in your clothing; Wear natural fibers. What you wear is an expression of your state of mind.
Recitation includes prayer, song, chanting, and finally, the practice of silence. What you say becomes reality.
Stretch, move, and exercise every day. The universe moves; so too should the energy within your body.
Meditate every day – once in the morning and once in the evening, if possible. Only then will you attain tranquility and triumph over your dilemmas.
Be creative. Thus we contribute, and thus we elevate our souls.
Acquire a good education. Treasure what you learn and preserve it so that it may be passed on to others. Never be selfish with what you know.
Above all, be compassionate. This is a stand against all evil, and it opens your spirit.
People ask, “How can I worship properly?” Cultivate these nine fields.
I don’t know about you, but I think those are some pretty good fields to cultivate. I might print this one out and hang it on the wall as a reminder.
Whether your preferred flavor is Western or Eastern, try adding some philosophy to your life. Why are you here? What is moral behavior? Is lying okay sometimes? Do we have free will? Pondering these types of questions will help you learn more about yourself and your behaviors. Find your weak points and make them stronger. Find your strong points and use them to help your fellow man. As Deng said above, “Never be selfish with what you know.”
By studying philosophy, we can become the best versions of ourselves. Imagine if each and every one of us took the time to do that – if every single person started trying to always be their best self – it would benefit the entire world!
So tell me, how do we convince all the a**holes to study philosophy? 🤪 Comment if you know the answer to that one!
Have a great week!
Video of the Week
gnob bought an old Warn that he spotted in the background of a Craigslist ad. He tore it apart and put it back together again, making it shinier than when it came off of the factory floor! This is the first video of a three part series.
Quote of the Week
That wraps up another week with Snale Racing! We’ll leave you with the quote that was most powerful for us this week. Peace!✌
Did You Know?
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