We close out April, 2022 with a simple quote from Daoist adept Liu Yiming:

“Sentiment changes. Truth is eternal.“ — Liu Yiming

Have a great weekend, everyone. I hope April has been good to you. If not, here comes May, enjoy! And don’t forget the children of Ukraine and their plight.


Do you only experience what is pleasurable and avoid any and all unpleasant experiences? Then listen to Daoist adept Liu Yiming’s advice:

“If one walks with every step on the ground of reality in the furnace of Creation, experiencing everything that comes along, being in the doorway of life and death without wavering, like gold that becomes brighter the more it is fired, like a mirror that becomes clearer the more it is polished, fired and polished to a state of round brightness, clean nakedness, bare freedom, where there is neither being nor nonbeing, where others and self all become empty, then one will be mentally and physically sublimated, and will merge with the Tao in reality.”
― Liu Yiming, Awakening to the Tao

Experience everything and have a good week practicing, everyone. And please keep the children of Ukraine in your thoughts.



Are you a spiritual reader? If so, you might want to take a little advice from Liu Yiming, who warns about being obsessed with the scriptures and a victim of Bookish Bedevilment…

“46 – The Obstacle of Bookish Bedevilment
Read the scriptures but do not persist in being obsessed with them. If one were to be obsessed with the scriptures forming conjectures with its meaning, relying on one’s preconception, the mistake is great, discard the scriptures, without argument, while it is a big mistake, similarly obsession with the scriptures, not seeking a wise master, is an even bigger mistake, discarding books and obsession with them are all wrong. If one were to be obsessed with books for Tao, one has been inflicted with bookish bedevilment, in not seeking a wise master the great task is jeopardized, one must study carefully, distinguish the right and wrong, seek out a wise master to confirm them, only then can one come to understand Tao.
― Liu Yiming

While you are reading about the Tao or seeking out a wise master, don’t forget the victims of the War in Ukraine.


Daoism like any other spiritual, philosophical or religious organization or sect is subject rightful, knowledgeable leaders, misguided or poor ones, and outright charlatans and con artists. But not just in modern times. It has been going on for ages. Read what Liu Yiming wrote back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries…

“The Dao is no longer understood. There is an endless number of side doors and twisted byways, constituting a few basic groups. There are those who are fixated on voidness and those who are attached to forms, and those who do psychosomatic exercises. There are actually 72 schools of material alchemy, and 3600 aberrant practices. Since the blind lead the blind, they lose the right road; they block students and lead them into a pen.”
― Liu Yiming, Awakening to the Tao

Before you practice today, question yourselves about your teachers. Are they qualified? Are they knowledgeable? Do you feel they have led you onto the right road or are you being led into a pen?

Let hope the leaders of Ukraine can lead their people away from the Russian pen and onto the road to freedom.



One of my “tui shou” (tai chi push hands) partners complained that he did not feel empty even though he was trying. But what exactly is true emptiness? Well, maybe Bells and Drums hold the answer. At least, Liu Yiming thought so…

“Bells Ring, Drums Resound

When a bell is struck it rings, when a drum is beaten it resounds. This is because they are solid outside and empty within. It is because they have nothing inside that they are able to ring and resound.

What I realize as I observe this is the Tao of true emptiness and ineffable existence.

True emptiness is like the inner openness of a bell or a drum; ineffable existence is like the sounding of a bell or a drum when struck. If people can keep this true emptiness as their essence, and utilize this ineffable existence as their function, ever serene yet ever responsive, ever responsive yet ever serene, tranquil and unstirring yet sensitive and effective, sensitive and effective yet tranquil and unstirring, empty yet not empty, not empty yet empty, aware and efficient, lively and active, refining everything in the great furnace of Creation, then when the dirt is gone the mirror is clear, when the clouds disperse the moon appears; revealing the indestructible body of reality, they transcend yin and yang and Creation, and merge with the eternity of space.”
― Liu Yiming, Awakening to the Tao

Practice until you feel empty…yet not empty. And maybe you can empty some of your spare change for the victims in Ukraine.


Today’s quote by Daoist sage, Liu Yiming, brings to light unified mindfulness. The great restoration he calls it…

“Stupidity and Madness

The Tao is clear, yet this clarity requires you to sweep away all your clutter. At all times watch out for your own stupidity, be careful of how your mind jumps around. When nothing occurs to involve your mind, you return to true awareness. When unified mindfulness is purely real, you comprehend the great restoration. The ridiculous ones are those who try to cultivate quietude – as long as body and mind are unstable, it is madness to go into the mountains.”
― Liu Yiming, Awakening to the Tao

“Watch out for your own stupidity,” great advice, is it not? So, sweep away all your clutter and have a great day and a great practice, everyone. And keep the brave people of Ukraine in your thoughts.


INCLUSION not Exclusion!!!


Today’s quote is actually a “reading suggestion” for all you cultivators from Liu Yiming…

“The book known as Journey to the West is about the universal Way that has been handed on by word of mouth from sage to sage, and verified by each of them. Qiu Chuji (丘處機), Taoist name Changchun Zi (長春子), the originator of the Journey to the West cycle, dared to say what the ancients did not dare to say, revealing the celestial mechanism. In Journey to the West is to be found the method for transforming life and death, the way to escape nature. This is the most extraordinary Taoist book of all time.”
― Liu Yiming

Some Western editions are published under the title “Monkey King” or simply “Monkey,” after the main protagonist, Sun Wukong, who is, no doubt, more than just a mere resemblance to Hanuman, the Hindu Monkey god from the Indian classic, the Ramayana.

This weekend make sure you practice hard and don’t monkey around. See you Monday and Keep the suffering victims and refugees of Ukraine in your thoughts.


Today’s quote from Liu Yiming is one of the most profound for Daoist Cultivators or any spiritual Cultivator on the Path. Pay close attention to his advice.

“Cut off entanglements.
Get rid of anger and hatred.
Do not be afraid of hard work.
Tolerate ignominy and endure dishonor.
Forgive people and defer to others.
Take possessions lightly; take life seriously.
View others and self as the same.
Do whatever you can to be helpful.

Practice developing virtue is the greatest priority; when achievement is great and practice profound, it moves heaven and earth.
Ridiculous are the foolish ones who only profit themselves; with no achievement and little action, they dream of becoming immortals.”
― Liu Yiming

Don’t be one of the ridiculous foolish ones; develop virtue and make your practice profound. And do whatever you can to be helpful, especially in light of the suffering in Ukraine.


Today’s quote is another short essay. This one is by Liu Yiming, expounding on the analogy of water settling from the Tao Te Ching. Liu Yiming was a Chinese ophthalmologist, philosopher, and writer. He was one of the main representatives of Taoist Internal Alchemy, or Neidan during the late 18th and early 19th centuries The essay is entitled “Murkey Water, Dusty Mirror.”

“Murky water is turbid; let it settle and it clears. A dusty mirror is dim; clean it and it is bright.

What I realize as I observe this is the Tao of clarifying the mind and perceiving its essence.

The reason why people’s minds are not clear and their natures are not stable is that they are full of craving and emotion. Add to this eons of mental habit, acquired influences deluding the mind, their outgrowths clogging up the opening of awareness – this is like water being murky, like a mirror being dusty. The original true mind and true essence are totally lost. The feelings and senses are unruly, subject to all kinds of influences, taking in all sorts of things, defiling the mind.

If one can suddenly realize this and change directions, wash away pollution and contamination, gradually remove a lifetime of biased mental habits, wandering thoughts and perverse actions, increasing in strength with persistence, refining away the dross until there is nothing more to be refined away, when the slag is gone the gold is pure. The original mind and fundamental essence will spontaneously appear in full, the light of wisdom will suddenly arise, and one will clearly see the universe as though it were in the palm of the hand, with no obstruction.

This is like murky water returning to clarity when settled, like a dusty mirror being restored to brightness when polished. That which is fundamental is as ever: without any lack.”
― Liu Yiming, Awakening to the Tao

So, enjoy your practice, everyone, and be patient with it. Like murky water settling, your mistakes will soon dissolve and your practice will evolve if you patiently work on it. Let us hope as well that the Russian aggression in Ukraine will dissolve and peace can once again settle over that land.


Today our quote is the opening paragraph from an essay by J. C. (Jean) Cooper in Studies in Comparative Religion on “The Symbolism of the Daoist Garden,” appropriated for Earth Day. Posted below is a link to the complete essay. Have a Happy and Peaceful Earth Day.

“The development of the typical Chinese garden with its full yin-yang symbolism was essentially Taoist in origin. The Han Emperors had earlier created vast artificial landscapes or parks with mountains, ravines, forests, rivers, lakes, and open spaces to provide a habitat for hordes of game for hunting, but during the time of the Six Dynasties and the T’ang, when Taoism prevailed, there developed the quiet intimacy of the Taoist garden, intended to reflect heaven on earth. It became a symbol of Paradise where all life was protected and sheltered. The park had been given over to the grandiose, the artificial, extravagant, and luxurious, to the hunter and aggressor; the Taoist garden was a place of naturalness and simplicity, a haven for the sage, scholar, and nature lover.”


Today’s quote is from J. C. Cooper. Born and raised in China, she wrote and lectured extensively on comparative religion and symbolism, including works on Daoism and Alchemy. Today’s quote is her take on Chapter 8 of the Tao Te Ching…

“The highest goodness is like water.
Water is beneficial to all things but not contend. It stays in places which others despise. Therefore it is near Tao. The weakest things in the world can overmatch the strongest things in the world. Nothing in the world can be compared to water for its weak and yielding nature; yet in attacking the hard and strong nothing proves better than water. For there is no alternative to it. The weak can overcome and the yielding can overcame the hard. This all the world knows but does not practice. This again is the practice of ‘wu-wel’ and nonviolence. Water may be weak, pliable, fluid, but its action is not one of running away from an obstacle. On the contrary, it gives at the point of resistance, envelopes the object and passes beyond it. Ultimately it will wear down the hardest rock. Water is a more telling symbol than land… crossing the river to get to the other side is, again, attaining the state of enlightenment.”
― J.C. Cooper

Speaking of the highest good, you can get no higher than the work UNICEF is doing for the families and children of Ukraine.


Today, Darrell Calkins gives us his interpretation of “rest” from his book “RE:”

“I look at the idea of rest as rotating one’s qualitative focus, not just doing less or changing activity. The role of rest is recovery. If you keep pushing the same quality button (fast or slow, concentrated or dispersed, hard-working or lazy…) for the same component all the time, of course it’s going to become depleted, just like if you keep working a single muscle in the same fashion or don’t use it at all.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

And now we lay Darrell Calkins to rest, well, at least his quotes for a time and give some other writers a chance to express their thoughts and inspire us with their quotes on Taoism. However, we will return to Darrell Calkins and “RE:” from time to time.

Speaking of rest, I certainly hope the courageous heroes and suffering victims and refugees of Ukraine will be able to get some much needed rest sooner rather than later.


“People generally believe that stress is responsible for depletion, but apathy and uninspired systematic repetition are equally responsible. Or rather, systematic repetition produces as much or more stress and anxiety as anything else.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

On that note, have an inspired weekend. Happy Easter, everyone. And hopefully a peaceful one in Ukraine.


“The essential dynamic underlying almost every elite and esoteric physical art is work with the breath, so there’s information available. I would only add that it’s unfortunate that so much work is done with it, and not much play. Laughter has got to be the single healthiest activity one can perform. Just think how healthy you would be if you could sincerely laugh at that which now oppresses you. I’ve mentioned before that one good measure of someone’s depth of spirituality is how long it takes before they become offended. Imagine laughing hysterically at the criticisms, complaints and impositions you receive. At the least, you’d be breathing well.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

So, practice hard and laugh hard – from the belly. Of course, what is happening in Ukraine is no laughing matter. Have a Happy Easter, everyone.


Yesterday, Darrell Calkins’ quote mentioned an unwell lifestyle. Today’s quote from Darrell tells us how to correct it…

“If I were to make a list of focus for well-being, I would begin with lifestyle (the totality of one’s circumstance and how that is engaged, including job and relationships, and proximity to nature), attending to the physical functions correctly (posture, breathing, exercise, food, rest, etc.), consistent expression of your natural range of qualities, working and playing well and hard, and designing things so that you are doing what compels you. Obviously, you can’t give this list out as a prescription for physical problems and diseases, but then again, it is probably the correct prescription. If one were to follow it, any specific problem, even extreme, would almost certainly resolve itself.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

So, work and practice well and hard, folks. And give some thought to Save the Children and their work to help and heal the young victims of the War in Ukraine…


More from Darrell Calkins and his book “RE:” This one is for all of you gym rats and morning latte drinkers…

“Getting down to the gym a couple days a week and having low-fat milk in your morning latte isn’t going to make much of a dent in a system or lifestyle that is essentially, well, unwell.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

Very true, indeed. So, people, practice hard but don’t overdo it. The same goes for your everyday life – don’t overindulge. In other words, limit your self indulgence and, instead, try to focus on others, especially those in need like the people of Ukraine.


“I look at the idea of rest as rotating one’s qualitative focus, not just doing less or changing activity. The role of rest is recovery. If you keep pushing the same quality button (fast or slow, concentrated or dispersed, hard-working or lazy…) for the same component all the time, of course it’s going to become depleted, just like if you keep working a single muscle in the same fashion or don’t use it at all.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

Practice hard, folks. But don’t forget to rest easy – very easy. Take a look…


Continuing with more quotes from Darrell Calkins and his book “RE:” that relate to Daoist philosophy. This one concerns diet, that is, food for thought…

“A balanced diet” is not so much about protein/fat/carbohydrate ratios. The real ratios to consider, at least for the typical American or European, are energy consumption/expenditure, pleasure/actual need, food/everything else.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

The way Putin and his army are waging his war of world-wide starvation by cutting off the Ukranian grain production, we need to be concerned about our consumption.


Today Darrell Calkins has a quote that is very specific to Tai Chi, Qigong and Neigong, as well as Yoga – the health of the spine…

“Besides having been identified recently as the single most important factor in what men find sexy in women, the list of how correct posture influences internal organs and systems, and also mood and general energy, is very long indeed. Your internal environment depends on the efficiency of the flow of elements within it. Obviously, this includes oxygen, blood, hormones and nutrients, but also all interaction between nerves and the brain. The spine, which is your foundation and support, has a natural position that guarantees the efficiency of movement and interaction of the related elements. Your internal organs are all right alongside the spine and depend on its correct position to function well. Any prolonged restriction or deviation from this natural position will result in some, at least partial, dysfunction. Over a long time, the results can be devastating.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

Great quote to remember when you are practicing and even when you’re not – which is harder to remember. Let us remember, too, the courageous heroes and suffering victims and refugees of Ukraine.


They say ignorance is bliss, but maybe we are too ignorance about too many aspects of life. Here is an important take on our ignorance from Darrell Calkins and his book “Re:”

“If you’re ignoring a high percentage of the elements of your entire being, and the range of qualities they can naturally engage, there will be no real recovery or progress until you do. The typical relentless worker is just as lazy as the typical indulgent idler; they’re both just going through the habitual motions. To break the repetitive pattern, and discover more energy and effectiveness, one simply must stretch out in all directions, rotating focus and application of the qualities that make up one’s natural versatility.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

You can begin reaching and stretching out in all directions rotating your focus onto the sufferings in Ukraine.


More wisdom from Darrell Calkins and his book “Re:” This one is short but very sweet. Chew on it for awhile.

“It’s highly refined stuff—holding to one’s purpose and focus, but also intuiting the value of being a piece in a larger design and evolution. The balance between these two rhythms is where and when true harmony is achieved and magic happens. Often, just the release of the obsession for personal preferences and to personally gain opens the door.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

Think “Give” rather than “Gain,” especially now that the refugees and victims of Russian violence in Ukraine need so much help.


More from Darrell Calkins and his book “Re:” Right now, What are you yearning for?

“Yearning often does not provide a sense of attainment or “peace,” as it is fuel for one’s personal purpose, to in some specific way give or create; to do that is not necessarily easy or peaceful.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

Here’s something you may have been yearning to do – donate to help the suffering people, especially the children, of Ukraine. Here’s a great way to do that – and it’s easy…


Another heart-felt gem from Darrell Calkins and his book “Re:”

“If one follows what is in one’s heart (let’s leave out mind for the moment), one ends up with what one truly values and loves in life—and one acts accordingly. One’s own private indulgent cyclic habitual reactive subjective transitory feelings are, hopefully, not at the head of that list.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

Be sure to check your list for those indulgent cyclic habitual reactive feelings. Hopefully the sufferings imposed upon Ukrainians are somewhere near the top. Here’s a great way to support the children of Ukraine and their families…


More from Darrell Calkins and his book “Re:”

“Well-being, or wholeness, implies integrity and harmony between all existing elements, providing freedom for the whole.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

Definitely a good point to not only keep in mind but to apply as well. Here is something else to keep in mind: the suffering citizens of Ukraine and apply your generous compassion. Chef Jose Andres and his World Central Kitchen is a great place to start. Check out their #Chefs for Ukraine.


We are currently reviewing quotes from Darrell Calkins and his book “Re:” that are in line with Daoist philosophy.

“Every brilliant theory in physics, for example, has been proven mainly wrong, except for the most recent ones, which will be. The big players, like Newton and Copernicus, gave us answers that were later proved more wrong than right. What they did—and why they are valued—is direct our attention to more piercing and compelling questions or possibilities. (I’d suggest the same holds true for the big spiritual players, but that’s a different letter.)”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

Something to mull over: What is existence and do we really need it?

Have a great weekend, everyone. See you Monday. And remember the distressed people of Ukraine. Chef Jose Andres and his World Central Kitchen is a great place to start. Check out their #Chefs for Ukraine.


We ended March and the first quarter of 2022 with Sheila Burke. We will return to her down the line. But for now I’d like to introduce you to Darrell Calkins for those of you who are not familiar with him or his work. Darrell is a writer, essayist, teacher, philosopher, and lecturer. He has written two books: “RE:” and “In the Midst of Things.” Most of the quotes we will be posting are from “RE:”

“Truth, or mystery basically, seeks the expression of itself. That is, evolution exists to create more mystery, not to answer or end the existing mysteries. This is why with every “truth” revealed, or every answer given, all that actually occurs is the creation of yet a more complex and mysterious question.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

Enjoy practicing and cultivating, everyone. And remember the distressed people of Ukraine. Chef Jose Andres and his World Central Kitchen is a great place to start. Check out their #Chefs for Ukraine.

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