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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14: Positoning

Day 14
Heron stands in the blue estuary,
Solitary, white, unmoving for hours.
A fish! Quick avian darting;
The prey captured.

Deng Ming-Dao states that, "Actions in life can be reduced to two factors: postioning and timing. If we are not at the right place at the right time, we canot possibly take advantage of what life has to offer us."

This is very similar to the existentialist view offered by Franz Kafka: "It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet."

If you going searching for "it", whatever "it" is - a new job or a fish, it doesn't matter. What matters is not to search for it, but to let "it" find you. How can this clever little idea be applied to a modern condition such as esculating unemployment? Having recently been involved in an Unemployment Insurance debacle, it came to my attention from two employees of this government agency that 80% of all jobs available are unadvertised. So, here you have thousands of people looking for jobs of which only 20% are made known to them via newspapers, career finder sites, etc.

So, when in doubt of your postion in life you can just practice Wu-wei: A key principle in realizing our oneness with the Tao is that of wu-wei, or "non-doing." Wu-wei refers to behavior that arises from a sense of oneself as connected to others and to one's environment. It is not motivated by a sense of separateness. It is action that is spontaneous and effortless. At the same time it is not to be considered inertia, laziness, or mere passivity. Rather, it is the experience of going with the grain or swimming with the current. Our contemporary expression, "going with the flow," is a direct expression of this fundamental Taoist principle, which in its most basic form refers to behavior occurring in response to the flow of the Tao.

Deng Ming-Dao deems another aspect of this taoist meditation necessary: "...but we must be vigilent and prepared. Even if the time and the place are right, we can still miss our chance if we do not notice the moment, if we act inadequately, or if we hamper ourselves with doubts and second thoughts. When life presents an opportunity, we must be ready to seize it without hesitation or inhibition. Postion is uselss without awareness. If we have both, we make no mistakes."

So, you can be like a heron and stand in the water awaiting the fish, hang out in Wu-wei, or you can take a Kafka stance and allow the universe to present itself to's all the same gig.

I take no postion on the position of position.

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