89 Comes After 88…Makes Sense

As some of you may know, and probably many of you don’t, about eight months ago I became a student of Taoism and have dedicated to living my life in The Way. This came about when I picked up and devoured a book that changed my life. That book, appropriately enough for the kind of person I am with my interests, was Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh. What this book is, for those unfamiliar, takes the basic fundamentals and building blocks of Taoism and applies them to the characters and situations of A.A. Milne’s lovable tubby little chubby all stuffed with fluff and the Hundred Acre Woods. I always knew I had a much more laid back approach to life and that always felt right to me. I never saw the point of exerting unnecessary energy towards things that I know I have no control over. Things were going to be as they were supposed to be. That’s always been the case and will continue to be so, no matter how much we as mankind will try to exert our assumed force on Nature. But when I opened this modestly sized, 176-paged book, my philosophy on life and daily status quo was finally given a name: Taoism. And this excited the hell out of me. Cause, like everyone else out there with a pulse and breath in their lungs, I would stray from myself and become a different type of Dave. A stressed Dave (which has since brought on a couple dozen pre-mature gray hairs in my beard, which is filling in nicely I might add). A neurotic Dave. An anxious Dave. A snappy Dave. And all of these Dave’s were, I am sure, hard to be around cause they were all certain hard to live with. But I never had anything to sort of ‘help’ stay focused and show me my Way.

Now, I am not here to evangelicalize Taoism and ring on your doorbells and ask you if you’ve found your Way. I am here, as I always have been, to ramble about something cool or worth rambling about that has happened in my life in hopes that something might be taken from it. So please, get out of your heads any thoughts that I am pushing my beliefs on you. That is not at all my point.

I recently started reading a new book called The Zen Experience by Thomas Hoover which stories the evolution history of Zen through its great masters (The Buddha, Lao Tzu, Bodhidharma, etc.) and there is one passage that really caught my eye and got me thinking about everything that I have learned inside the past year, both in my studies and it’s daily application. It comes in the form of an anecdote told by Chuang Tzu, the second most important figure in Taoism behind it’s supposed creator, Lao Tzu. In this story, he tells of a wheelmaker describing his method of making wheels to his Duke. I won’t recount the whole story for you, but the section that lays highlighted says:

“The right pace, neither slow nor fast, cannot get into the hand unless it comes from the heart.”

Before this statement, the wheelmaker says if he goes either too fast or too slow in carving his wheel, though perfect in one area, it is largely imperfect in another area. My interpretation of the above statement is a basic principle of Taoism: don’t fight what is innate, do what is supposed to be done as it is supposed to be done without tension or resistance, and all will turn out as it should. Do only what you need to do to appease yourself and don’t try to do too much.

Like my mantra says, ‘To Thine Own Self Be True.’

Why this stuck out to me? That’s an easy answer to what could be a rhetorical question. In October, I decided to start the process of establishing my own theatre company here in New York. This is a company that found its birth back in 2009 while I was in school and I always wanted to bring to New York from the day I arrived, but I knew the time wasn’t right. But I was confident there would be a right time, I just had to wait for it to arrive. I wasn’t to force this hand or speed it along, cause then it wouldn’t materialize as it should. Finally, come late September 2013, and I can’t really recall the exact circumstances that surrounded this all, but the right time had arrived, just as I thought it would. Since then, there has been non-stop action to assure the success of my company and every day it continues to grow and create more and more puzzle pieces that, once all are collected, will create a magnificent image. That is what I have faith in and that is what I believe will come to be.

So I say this to close out this entry: if there is something you know you are meant to do or have happen, do not urge its arrival. If it is too happen, and I am confident that it will for you, you must have trust in the Way Nature has been laid out in your puzzle. Just like riding down a highway and passing exit number 30 and you need to get to exit 89, it will happen when it is supposed to, right after exit 88. Not an exit or mile sooner. Just keep living your life as it feels right, from your heart, and it will all come into your hand.

Abide and ramble on,

‘Stealing Time’ by Gerry Rafferty
‘Can’t You See’ by Marshall Tucker Band
‘I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise’ performed by Iss Van Randwyck
‘Cripple Creek Ferry’ by Neil Young
‘Joe Avery’ presented by The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
‘Belfast to Boston’ by James Taylor
‘The Blood of Cu Chulainn’ (The theme to The Boondock Saints) by Jeff Danna and Mychael Danna
‘California’ by Joni Mitchell

Like what you read? Give Dave 'Stish' Stishan a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.