Wednesday, June 10, 2009

View from the sticks

I have been thinking since I posted the brief piece last week about David Carradine how it was that I came to follow the Tao. The beginning was seeing Kung Fu as a kid. I did not care about the martial arts so much as the scenes in the monastery where "Grasshopper" would learn from Master Po and the other monks. That I found fascinating. Then came a book called "Dispatches" by Michael Herr which is probably the best book on the Vietnam War I have ever read. In it he wrote about a war correspondent named Tim Page who was in to Taoism.
The next link in the chain was in the Rangers. I was hanging out with a few other Rangers who were interested in the Martial Arts, especially the power of the mind. I was also reading a little bit of Carlos Castaneda at the time. The Rangers pushes people way beyond what most people would consider their own limits. I had many experiences that could not be explained in a logical, rational manner and followed them where they led. I learned some lessons that could not be learned any other way and trying to describe them I find nearly impossible. I also had a very small Bible that the Military gives out. I carried it in my Rucksack and would read it during the waiting portion of the "Hurry up and Wait" that the military is famous for. I read it cover to cover at least a dozen times over the four years I was in.
After leaving the Rangers came a few years of trying to find a balance between the life and experiences I had left and the new one as a civilian. It was very difficult and I was reading and studying very hard trying to find balance.
A major influence and the writer I give the most credit to as far as discovering the Tao goes, is Alan Watts. I have around thirty of his books and one I read over and over is "Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown, A mountain Journal. Alan is the one who really helped me, post military.
Other books with a major influence were:
TAO, The Watercourse Way by Alan Watts
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu
NAM by Tim Page
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
The Nature of personal reality by Jane Roberts
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams
Illusions by Richard Bach
This is but the very tip of a very long reading list. There are hundreds more upstairs right now that had some influence on me to some extent. I do love my books!
Anyway, there is an old saying that the Tao can not be described but only experienced and as I go along though life I believe that is very true. The books above pointed in the general direction that I should go but the Tao teaches in its own way and in its own time.


Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

Nice post, gives one a good understanding of what's on your mind.
Seems, illusions has gotten to many. I know many people who would pick that book as their favorite one!
I really love Richard Bach.

As for spirituality - I mainly did my own research and if you want - came up with my own philosophy and views of the world.

So you say you would like to write a book some day - about what?
(I'm a writer and a publisher, that's why I'm asking)

Re all your spiritual thoughts: how do you feel about reincarnation?

ExRanger said...

Sarah Sofia Ganborg,
Thank you. I agree with you about Illusions and Richard Bach. I have no idea how many times I have read that book. I have collected everything that I can find of his.
I believe in reincarnation but with a twist. I believe that all of those lives are going on at once and that time is a sort of illusion. Sort of along the lines of the many worlds view of particle physics. When I was in Rome a few years ago I had the strangest feeling that I had been there before and that little of it was new to me.
I would like to take up the challenge of writing a book and I will as soon as I find a topic that compels me to "WRITE IT DOWN,NOW". Sort of like in the intro to Illusions where Richard describes how that book came to be. I have to feel strongly about it to commit that kind of time to a project.

Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

Yes, I also have had that feeling many times: recognizing places, but even more even making sense of a language I never learned or recalling skills I never got aquired this lifetime. Still I remember how it's done, remember the feeling of how it was to experience those things.
But also the crimes I committed in the past - I find them hitting me right into the face this lifetime!

Re the physical universe: I also see it this way, that it isn't nescessarity a reality, just something we have agreed apon - probably pretty much the way you think about it I guess.

May I ask if you have been in combat this lifetime?

ExRanger said...

Sarah Sofia Ganborg,
"May I ask if you have been in combat this lifetime?"

Yes I have. I hope that i have learned not to do that in any more lives.

Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

yep. I can imagine why.
Are you willing to tell me where?
One tour of duty or several?

ExRanger said...

Sara Sofia Ganborg,
I was in for a 4 year tour but it seemed longer. We were on alert 24/7 and had to be ready to board aircraft in two hours. It really burned me out.
Everything we did was classified when I left and I don't know the status now so I just keep it to my self and don't talk about it.

Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

Felt a little spiritual today and since a lot of people have dumped awards on me I thought, i make use of it.
You're lucky! You've been chosen as one of the happy victims!