My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.
You’ve probably heard the word “Tao” (or “Dao”) or seen it written on a t-shirt. And if you’ve ever wondering what it really means and what the concept from China is all about, here is an excellent introductory book.
The book isn’t trying to sell the ideas or convert anyone. This is a straightforward explanation of the key ideas, important quotations from Lao Tse and Chung Tse and an explanation of some of the beliefs and rituals.
Beside the idea of tao, the most important concept is probably that of wu wei, which Ball explains as “non-action”. “Wu wei does not mean inaction (doing nothing), but rather a chosen course of deliberately not doing anything – allowing the matter to unfold”.
This is something which, until very recently, was very alien to Westerners. And even today it’s not how the vast majority of Westerns like to act. We just love to get in there to fix things and have little patience with allowing nature to take its course. As Ball explains, in order to be capable of non-action, we need to be balanced within ourselves and not acting our of malice or ego. This in itself can take work – meditation, tai chi and other exercises and practices all with the purpose of learning who we are and allowing the natural energy of the Universe to flow through us. This is not for the faint of heart or the lazy. But, as Ball explains, commiting to this course of learning, practice and non-action is probably the most important decision we can make for ourselves and one that, in the fullness of time, benefits all.
The Essence of Tao by Pamela Ball, published by Eagle Editions in 2004.
The Essence of Tao