Tao Te Ching – Chapter 1

Talking about a path
is not walking that path.
Thinking about life
is not living.

Directly experiencing life
brings unconditional appreciation and unity.
Thinking about life
brings conditional judgments and separation.

Free of conditioned thinking, we experience our true nature.
Caught in conditioned thinking, we experience only who we think we are.

Yet both our conditioned nature and our true nature are part of life itself.
Our conditioned experience of living is a gateway to unconditional life.


I am not who I think I am. Yet my thinking mind has created such an illusion of solidity, permanence, and reality that to conceive of myself as anything else is to venture into the realm of metaphysics and flounder around. I don’t think metaphysics is going to help me. That seems just another way of using the conditioned mind to try to solve a conundrum that it itself has created.

In the type of meditation I practice, rooted in the Taoist tradition, there is no attempt to stop the thinking mind, nor is there any attempt to attach to and use the thinking mind. I simply sit still, keep all my perceptive senses open, including my eyes, and imagine myself outside of, at a distance from the thoughts. It is as if they were a train of boxcars going by on a railroad. When I notice that I have hopped the train and am suddenly miles down the track, I simply imagine myself off the train and back in my body’s center – my heart, or my lower stomach, and return to simply watching. This process helps me realize that, though I have thoughts, I am not those thoughts.

This meditative process carries over into all of my life and helps me spend more and more of my time in the direct experience of my life. I still think thoughts, but they are not nearly as problematic as they used to be and I am open to Wonder and Joy far more often.

3 thoughts on “Thinking”

  1. I am glad to be back and so glad that you and Nancy have returned to Mt. Shasta. Home is always where the heart is no matter where we find ourselves living. It’s nice to come home, in every way possible.


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