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Keeping my daughter company last night as she packed for a canoe trip, I began reading aloud from a book that was on her camp’s reading list, The Tao of Leadership.  This is what I read.

Tao means how:  how things happen, how things work.  Tao is the single principle underlying all creation… All creation unfolds according to Tao.  There is no other way.  Tao cannot be defined, but Tao can be known.  The method is meditation, or being aware of what is happening.  By being aware of what is happening, I begin to sense how it is happening.  I begin to sense Tao… The method of meditation works because principle and process are inseparable.  All process reveals the underlying principle.  This means that I can know Tao.  I can know God.  By knowing Tao, I know how things happen.¹

I stopped and shouted, “This is Yoga!” Substitute Shakti for Tao; they are different words for the same thing.  Shakti is the single principle underlying all creation.  By being aware of what is happening when you give birth, you will know Her.

Practicing Yoga before you give birth will make it easier to feel what is happening during the intensity of the birthing process.  A practice isn’t essential but it is very helpful.  I think “being aware of what is happening” is a great way to describe meditation.   Any preciousness associated with the concept is dropped.  When you are aware of what is happening, you are meditating.  It is that simple. 

I also love how Lao Tzu says, “There is no other way.”  He isn’t worried we’ll misinterpret his clarity.  The painting of  Tzu that accompanies this post is a co- creation of Huang Xiang and William Rock.  Xiang is “one of the greatest poets of the 20thC and a master calligrapher.” He was imprisoned for twelve years in China for his advocacy of human rights and now lives in NYC using his art as a bridge between the East and West.  Rock is an Irish American artist who has studied with Tibetan and Chinese monks over the last fifteen years.  Together, Rock and Xiang are a voice for freedom, the only way.

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¹ John Heider, The Tao of Leadership, Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching Adapted for a New Age (Atlanta: Humanics Limited, 1985) p.1

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