I'm Up

Yes, I’m up again. Not even, but up.

I think it’s pret­ty obvi­ous that I don’t think straight when lack­ing sleep. I get very grumpy, and Bronwen knows not to get in my way when that hap­pens (and not to call me “Mr. Grumpykins”). Still, even with enough sleep, I don’t think it would have changed how I was feel­ing.

So I picked myself up by read­ing the para­bles of Chuang Tzŭ1. Though it’s still well beyond my grasp, I’m slow­ly learn­ing how to achieve utter empti­ness and sin­gle-mind­ed still­ness.

I like to think that I’m aware enough to know that I’m not delud­ing myself into this state-of-mind.

Sometimes I won­der if I sound like a born-again Christian, only with Taoism. One of those peo­ple who gets preachy, where every­thing they say relates to their new-found faith. It’s as if my brain process­es every­thing through a Tao fil­ter, and I see every­thing in a dif­fer­ent way. I try to be con­scious of it in con­ver­sa­tion, to avoid bor­ing some­one who would­n’t real­ly under­stand any­way, but I can’t help but write about it here.

Nevertheless, I feel enlight­ened, though still human2; I’m not sure if I’ll get the rug pulled out from under me again. It’s a strange feel­ing. In this mind­set, it’s as if noth­ing can stop you. Until some­thing hap­pens.

Part of me wish­es I was­n’t feel­ing this high. That I was more even, like Pat. It’s a bal­ance of emo­tion that I seek, not the dra­mat­ic ups and downs. I’ll be con­tent when I can achieve that.

Hence it is para­dox­i­cal­ly said, “Perfect hap­pi­ness is to be with­out hap­pi­ness; the high­est praise is to be with­out praise”.

  1. Dave helped talk some sense into me as well. I think part of my recov­ery was that our dis­cus­sion led me to feel as if he’s a kin­dred spir­it. []
  2. When look­ing back on this entry, I real­ized that I wrote about pick­ing myself up twice in one month. I don’t even remem­ber writ­ing it the first time. []


  1. I remem­ber there was this client who almost called my boss to have me remove from his project. And there was anoth­er client who told my boss that I was the only com­pe­tent per­son in the team. From that point on, I nev­er felt dras­tic ups and downs. Like you say, “Perfect hap­pi­ness is to be with­out hap­pi­ness; the high­est praise is to be with­out praise”.

  2. There is no dark­ness, only the absence of light.

  3. @Uncle Joe — From your sin­gle expe­ri­ence, it sounds like you learned that there are no absolute truths, which is an accept­ed con­cept in Taoism. I wish I per­son­al­ly could have so eas­i­ly dis­cov­ered and under­stood such an idea, but it does­n’t come as nat­u­ral­ly. I’m not com­plete­ly “emp­ty” yet.

    I can’t take cred­it for the quote, it’s actu­al­ly from my book, The Tao, by Mark Forstater, though he was quot­ing some­one else. Most like­ly Chuang Tzu, I’d say.

    @Maeko — An inter­est­ing idea. Not so easy to accept when look­ing at it on a prac­ti­cal lev­el, but def­i­nite­ly true.

  4. I guess the build-up was there, and the inci­dents act­ed as cat­a­lysts.

  5. You see…the build-up was­n’t quite there for me. I still find myself strug­gling with a few of these ideas. Would you con­sid­er your­self more of a Taoist, now that you know this?

  6. I can say Taoism is one of my many beliefs…you almost got me, haha.

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