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Born and raised in Maryland, USA, and attended the University of Maryland, but now living in Pennsylvania, RTByrum is an author and publisher of 9 books but does not make a living at it. His places traveled include Britain and China. His past marriage was to a Chinese woman for 3 years. He since claims to have found the secret to happiness and hopes to share that happiness with someone special, and through his blogs, perhaps also with you.
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Winter Taoism

By RWByrum
872 Views | 31 Comments | 4/25/2018 9:09:51 AM

Cover of An Introduction to Chinese Civilization edited by John T. Meskill

            When I was attending the University of Maryland, one of the classes I took was History and Culture of China.  Naturally, the material covered in the course included Chinese philosophy and Taoism was featured with some prominence.  The main text for the course, An Introduction to Chinese Civilization edited by John T. Meskill, included a brief synopsis of Taoism.  According to the book, one of the central precepts of Taoism was "Do by Not Doing".  I have to admit that this concept completely escaped me.  My ex-wife later assured me that I could not possibly understand Chinese philosophy unless I could read it in the original Chinese.  I came to accept this simply because I could not conceive how one could ever do something by not doing it.  My mind just could not conjure a scenario where that was even remotely possible.

            Thirty years later, I believe that I've finally gained some insight into this whole "do by not doing" business.  Despite the freight train of nor'easters that have been pummeling the northeastern United States over the last few weeks, Chambersburg actually experienced a rather mild winter.  The overall snowfall which we received this season seemed abnormally low.  In a rather ironic twist, we received our largest snowfall on the vernal equinox, a day usually referred to as the first day of spring.  It snowed all day on March 20th and into the night.  By the time the snowing stopped, six to eight inches of snow had fallen on Chambersburg.  It was one of the few significant snowfalls we received this year and the only one which exceeded two inches.

            While my neighbors were all busy removing the snow from their cars, I decided to just leave it there.  As fate would have it, I did not have to driver anywhere in the immediate aftermath of the snow storm.  Without a rather pressing reason to remove the snow, I gave in to my natural inclinations and did nothing.

           The weather soon changed.  The sun shined, the temperatures rose, and the snow melted off of my car.  Thus, my car was cleared of snow without any expenditure of effort on my part.  Suddenly, "do without doing" made a great deal more sense to me, though I seriously doubt that Lao Tzu had that in mind when he wrote the Tao te Ching, but it did work for me.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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(Showing 1 to 10 of 31) 1 2 3 4 More...
#2018-04-25 09:09:41 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

I like this topic of discussion. While I have read a little bit on Taoism, it was far too little to refer to it as studying the subject in anyway. In addition I've forgotten what little knowledge I had gained from my reading. However, in reading your blog I immediately thought about how applicable the phrase "Do by Not Doing" suits almost all aspects of human relationships. I think that it is especially suited to dating, romantic relationships and marriage. 

Here are a couple of examples, based on my own opinions only:

Dating: You've met someone special and on your first date you have the best time you've ever had with a woman you've just met. You are incredibly attracted to this woman, and you are certain she shares the same feelings about you. DO improve your chances of turning this date into a great long term relationship by NOT DOING the thing that you want so much to do, which is call her as soon as you get home to declare your unbelievably strong feelings for her and your belief that you were meant for each other.

Why? Because if you're right and she does feel the same way, leaving it sit for a day leaves her wanting more and anxiously, then calling her up and saying you enjoyed your date and wonder if she's up for another outing next Saturday puts you in the driver's seat. She knows you're interested but does not know she can wrap you around her little finger.

More importantly, if you're wrong and she does not feel as strongly about you matching as you do, but did enjoy the date and is somewhat interested in you, then you will not appear to her to be a potentially crazed stalker and still will have a chance to overwhelm her with your attractiveness on a second date.

Marriage: You have a collosal fight, screaming on her part, shouting on yours. Things were said by both of you that you never dreamed you would say to, or be told by, even your worst enemy, nevermind the love of your life. You part for the night in fierce anger. When you next come together, DO preserve your relationship and marriage by NOT DOING what you immediately feel you must do, which is to apologize.

Why? Because if you apologize you are telling her you were wrong and she was right, but in reality, you were both wrong and both behaved abysmally. An instant apology tells her you were wrong and she was right, which suggests her behavior was ok. Instead, after a moment of silence in case she wants to apologize, act as if nothing happened and do whatever you would be doing if nothing had happened. Put it away and let her do the same. As soon as things feel like they are back to normal, but not before then, tell her you love her and you hope that neither of you will ever act that way again.

I welcome everyone who reads this blog to offer other examples in any aspect of life in which "Do by Not Doing" is applicable.

I also welcome you to disagree with me as to my examples. 

What say you RWByrum?

#2018-04-25 09:10:37 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

I like this topic of discussion. While I have read a little bit on Taoism, it was far too little to refer to it as studying the subject in anyway. In addition I've forgotten what little knowledge I had gained from my reading. However, in reading your blog I immediately thought about how applicable the phrase "Do by Not Doing" suits almost all aspects of human relationships. I think that it is especially suited to dating, romantic relationships and marriage. 

Here are a couple of examples, based on my own opinions only:

Dating: You've met someone special and on your first date you have the best time you've ever had with a woman you've just met. You are incredibly attracted to this woman, and you are certain she shares the same feelings about you. DO improve your chances of turning this date into a great long term relationship by NOT DOING the thing that you want so much to do, which is call her as soon as you get home to declare your unbelievably strong feelings for her and your belief that you were meant for each other.

Why? Because if you're right and she does feel the same way, leaving it sit for a day leaves her wanting more and anxiously, then calling her up and saying you enjoyed your date and wonder if she's up for another outing next Saturday puts you in the driver's seat. She knows you're interested but does not know she can wrap you around her little finger.

More importantly, if you're wrong and she does not feel as strongly about you matching as you do, but did enjoy the date and is somewhat interested in you, then you will not appear to her to be a potentially crazed stalker and still will have a chance to overwhelm her with your attractiveness on a second date.

Marriage: You have a collosal fight, screaming on her part, shouting on yours. Things were said by both of you that you never dreamed you would say to, or be told by, even your worst enemy, nevermind the love of your life. You part for the night in fierce anger. When you next come together, DO preserve your relationship and marriage by NOT DOING what you immediately feel you must do, which is to apologize.

Why? Because if you apologize you are telling her you were wrong and she was right, but in reality, you were both wrong and both behaved abysmally. An instant apology tells her you were wrong and she was right, which suggests her behavior was ok. Instead, after a moment of silence in case she wants to apologize, act as if nothing happened and do whatever you would be doing if nothing had happened. Put it away and let her do the same. As soon as things feel like they are back to normal, but not before then, tell her you love her and you hope that neither of you will ever act that way again.

I welcome everyone who reads this blog to offer other examples in any aspect of life in which "Do by Not Doing" is applicable.

I also welcome you to disagree with me as to my examples. 

What say you RWByrum?

#2018-04-25 11:21:09 by Barry1 @Barry1


@JohnAbbot

 

"I welcome everyone who reads this blog to offer other examples in any aspect of life in which "Do by Not Doing" is applicable."

 

From my experience, I've found that the harder I try to meet someone, the more impossible it becomes.  I have a gnawing feeling that if I simply stop or at least slow down my search for a partner, then things will then fall into place naturally.

 

Do by not doing.

 

Achieve by non-action.

 

Success via default.

 

It's all very simple really, isn't it? 

 

Or by not doing, is this just adopting a whipped dog attitude, cowering in sullen defeat?  :^)

#2018-04-25 13:09:18 by RWByrum @RWByrum

@JohnAbbot

I certainly don't disagree with either of your examples, John.

#2018-04-25 16:15:42 by melcyan @melcyan

Do by not doing. Don’t just react, take time to choose your response. Sometimes the patient pause allows you the time to see that your first impression was wrong and no action is necessary.  

#2018-04-26 08:57:32 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@Barry1 - "Or by not doing, is this just adopting a whipped dog attitude, cowering in sullen defeat?"

In answer to that question I would say it is not applicable to one's "doing by not doing" until that moment when he/she starts to question if it is applicable, and from that moment on it is.

#2018-04-26 09:13:05 by RWByrum @RWByrum

@melcyan

Your response makes a great deal of sense, at least as much as anything else I have read on the subject.  But considering that this was one of the guiding principles of Taoism, I suspect that it is something that is meant to be practiced all of the time, in every situation.  I suspect that much more was implied than simple fatalism.

I will say one thing, however.  This article was not meant to be taken seriously.

#2018-04-26 20:49:37 by melcyan @melcyan

I googled the meaning of "Do by not doing" and found interesting responses in Quora. After reading responses on Quora I would like to offer another response to the meaning of “Do by not doing”.

 

Flow is everything. Fear, worry, anxiety and doubt take us out of the natural flow of life and result in our doing requiring a great deal of effort. Everything we need to know about life can be found in the flow of a single breath. If you are inside the natural flow of life (free from fear, worry, anxiety and doubt) your doing is effortless.

 

Meditation is very powerful but is it doing? I know this is a question but it may also be the answer.

#2018-04-26 22:22:45 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


@Barry1

I wrote a whole blog about this. You're NEVER going to find a $50 note on the footpath if you go looking every day.

Instead, you'll find it once you STOP looking.

I met a couple, yesterday, who 'met' while he was fishing, and she was jogging. She tripped over him as she jogged under a bridge.

I remember meeting a couple, a few years ago, who 'met' because he, quite literally, 'ran her over' with his car.

If there's just ONE thing I have learnt over the last 15 months or so, it's this.....

 

EVERYTHING.......and I mean EVERYTHING, happens for a reason !

We may not know what that reason is at the time, but we will, eventually.

That, my friend, you can 'take-to-the-bank' !

 

#2018-04-26 23:03:32 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@RWByrum



Doing by not doing' is not just a Taoist principle, but a much deeper one.



Ask and it shall be given', or 'Knock and the door will be opened', are ancient parables that have the same meaning.



We are spiritual beings having a human experience.



We all operate on the same level, (frequency).



A good example is 'Karma'. You 'get back' what you 'give out'. I have proven that to myself on many occasions, so I know it to be true.



Our TRUE history has been hidden from us. You live in a land that was once owned by indigenous people. They were 'raped-and-pillaged' in the name of 'progress'; to allow YOU to live the life you have become accustomed to.



When you get 5 minutes you should do some research into the 'megalithic structures' around the world and ask yourself 'who built them?'



Monoliths that were built out of tonnes and tonnes of rock, in ONE piece, then transported across miles and miles.



Look at a picture of 'Devil's Mountain', (and others), it's a fossilised TREE STUMP! (There were giants in the Earth in those days).



Doing by NOT doing' is an extremely easy principle to live by......and it WORKS !


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