Similarly, the Eightfold Path of Buddhism includes
precise effort. (Amateur bodyworkers take forever to accomplish their results.) We can also see an analogy with Abraham Lincoln's tantalizingly short Gettysburg Address. The natural Tao displays great economy of
action. It never does anything more or less than what is required for the moment. (Great salespeople and
shiatsu masters do the same, and they probably don't run themselves ragged to the point of exhaustion.)

Said Lincoln, "Avoid popularity if you would have peace."

Back to the Tao Te Ching: A Tao that is constant does not deem (think too much / rely too much upon belief / be overly opinionated), yet there is no lack of deeming. (It doesn't resist deeming if and when it arises.) One current expression that helps sum up this train of thought is "over-analysis causes paralysis."

If by being in the now we are lent power (a recurring theme in the wisdom of the ages), this same power helps us choose the right moment to apply it. More from the Tao: The effectiveness of activity lies in its timeliness. What works right now may not have worked five minutes ago, nor can we delay at the moment when action
- or even
refraining from action - needs
to be applied. Theodore Roosevelt said pretty much the same thing: "Nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time."

Said General George S. Patton: "A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect
solution applied ten minutes later." From
Romeo and Juliet: "Too swift
arrives as tardy as too slow." Too swift is haste, too slow is fear, and both stem from anxiety.

In 2003 I had a powerful quasi-religious experience that some people would term mystical. In the midst of this I looked at the sink and was upset to see a tray of dirty dishes. Then a sort-of voice told me. "Not a problem. Now is not the time to do them. When they get done, that will be the right time!"

Being in the present moment re-contextualized their meaning.

They weren't this bad

Tapes / mp3s
A train of thought that's less abundant in the literature but by no means not in play is the idea of reactive tapes that our mind recalls during moments of challenge or upset. These tapes often doom us to failure in a given endeavor, recalling to mind
disappointments and mistakes of the past. They say, "No we can't win, achieve, or succeed, just like last time, and the time before that . . . ."

Says Dr. Phil, these tapes (mp3's these days) are never positive, and they run the mind. (Dr. Phil probably stole his whole discussion of tapes lock-stock-and-barrel from Werner Erhard.)

That said, we don't have to over-analyze their presence or take a graduate level course in psychoanalysis to help figure them out. In this regard, there are three positive thoughts we can take regarding tapes:

1) Tapes become less of a factor when we live
intuitively in the present moment.

2) When the body is relaxed, one no longer has to respond automatically to negative beliefs (tapes, actually, which occur beneath the level of belief and are thus more powerful).

3) In the East, trance states (heightened rhythm) are cultivated as aids to overcome outside
influences and to heighten the freedom of the
individual, or from another perspective, to
counterbalance our negative tapes.

To sum up, in our quest for positive results in life,
relaxation and rhythm help level the playing field in our ongoing battles versus the reactive mind, also known as the Demon of Negativity.

Your assignment, Mr. Phelps.

Mind-body / whole body
Action that's appropriate to the moment does not begin in the head. It's a whole-body experience.

Says Eckhart Tolle in his
Power of Now: One of our most essential tasks is to reclaim consciousness from the exclusive domain of the mind. This will free vast amounts of awareness that has until now been trapped in useless and compulsive thinking.

Says Jose Silva, author of
The Silva Mind Control Method, one of the most significant books of 1977: our minds are not confined to our heads.

Next page