Friday, May 30, 2014

Gone fishing...

I think I am planning on taking a fairly risky step in the coming months. And, I find myself really thinking it over and over again. I ask myself whether I should really take the chance, or just keep my head down and live the way I am living for now. Perhaps wait a bit longer? Wait for the right moment?

There seems to be this constant battle in life between passion and monetary survival. Ever noticed how majority of the motivational speakers are either talking about the secrets of becoming rich, or the secrets of finding immense peace and happiness in life. Sure, there are the cancer survivors, injured ex-athletes, etc. But, the majority is about money or passion. On one end, Deepak Chopra tells you to go do what you want, forget about the money. On the other end, Donald Trump tells you "hey, want to know how I made that first million?" Oddly enough, Donald Trump and Deepak Chopra would probably catch up at a bar for a beer as well at some point in time.

What I love about Taoism is that it seems to be the only religion (if one could call it that) that accepts opposing forces as an inevitable nature of the universe. Other religions seem to somehow try to guide you on what to aspire to and what to avoid. But Taoism seems to just say "on the left corner, ladies and gentlemen, weighing in at 600 pounds, MONEY! And on my right, the ever so virtuous, feather-weight champion, PASSION!" The crowd may pick favourites, but the Taoist just accepts that there is a ring with two opposing forces. What's to pick from that?

I often think back to this experiment David Bohm wrote about. I never really had the time to read his whole book, but the experiment was something so simple, and yet so meaningful, that it stayed with me. It was focused on a fish within a square fish tank. There were cameras placed on each face of the tank, and screens set up in different rooms. The person in the first room saw the fish moving left to right, but the person in the second room argued that the fish is moving away from him, not left to right.

It's a silly experiment in some ways. But, all it highlights is how we perceive things, and can often be restricted to what we see. We are willing to fight for the version of reality we see, because we believe there could only ever be one possible truth. And, after all, that is what we seem to understand from our religions as well. Pick this or that. God will judge you in the after-life based on the choices you made. And when you leave the church, or the temple, you walk into your office and realise your life on this Earth will depend on the choices you make. You either pick that dull, soul-crushing, most days insulting, $ 100,000 paying job, or you become a painter and live off charity from friends and family for as long as possible. 

Life is about choices. There are small everyday decisions, like which brand of milk to buy (like who really gives a shit, you idiot), or the really major ones that can really impact everything you do from here on. But, what if, the choices were just two TV channels. Animal Planet or Nat Geo Wild; both showing me the same fish in the same tank. But from one view, the fish moves from left to right and from the other view, the fish is moving away from me?

"Take a saw: what seems important to us is the tips of the teeth. They do the cutting, not the valleys between the teeth. But see, you couldn't have tips of the teeth without the valleys between them. Therefore the saw wouldn't cut without both tips and V-shaped valleys"
- Alan Watts

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