Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

wu wei

The Illusion of Conflict

I love the taiji (yin yang) symbol. You are probably familiar with the design in which two curving shapes create a perfect circle. The two curving shapes represent yin (darker) and yang (lighter). Yin and yang are sometimes thought of as opposites, each with various associations–yin with the receptive, mysterious, feminine, earth; yang with the …

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Tao Te Ching – Chapter 79

  A sweet little chapter with a turn the other cheek message. It begins by observing that even after a conflict is settled, some resentment often remains. So how can we bring true peace to a situation?  Using contracts as an example, the chapter says that the sage holds up her end of the bargain, …

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Gone to Ground

People in the United States have traditionally greeted each other with the question “How are you?” It is often intended as a perfunctory politeness, not a genuine question about health and well-being. The typical answer is “Fine thanks. You?” Lately, however, I get the sense when asked, that people are sincerely asking how I’m really doing. …

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Tao Te Ching – Chapter 64 (Part 2)

As I explained in Part 1, this unusually long chapter resembles a string of proverbs. Picking up from the earlier post, here are some key passages from the rest of the chapter. Action leads to failureGrasping leads to lossThus the sage refrains from action and does not failRefrains from grasping and does not lose Once …

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Tao Te Ching – Chapter 57

The theme of this chapter can be summed up like this: Do not interfere. One can rule a country with predictable justiceOne can wage a war with unpredictable strategyBut one can harness the power of the universe only by non-interference We don’t have to look far to see where interference, even well-intentioned, has caused more harm …

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Tao Te Ching – Chapter 43

This short chapter highlights a theme that runs through the Tao Te Ching. What is most softOvercomes what is most hard Two characters are used for “overcome,” literally meaning to gallop on horseback. Having grown up riding horses, I have wonderful memories of galloping bareback across meadows, hands entwined in flowing mane, hanging on as …

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Revealing Gold

In 1954, an insignificant Buddha statue made of painted and decorated plaster was being moved in Bangkok from its modest shed to a new temple. Weighing over five tons, the statue was too heavy for the crane and it fell to the ground. A piece of plaster chipped off the base. When the workers examined …

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Tao Te Ching – Chapter 18

This modest little (four lines) chapter does nothing less than represent the entire debate between Confucianism and Taoism, two major philosophical traditions originating in ancient China. (Confucius and Lao Zi, purported author of the Tao Te Ching, were contemporaries, both living in China around 500 BCE.) When great Tao is lost, there is kindness and moralityIntelligence …

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