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LAO TZU 27

LAO TZU 27

September 21, 2020

This podcast offers a reading of Chapter 40 of the Tao Te Ching. This short chapter deals with the nature of the Tao itself and how it creates all things from nothing. I consider the nature of the Tao as process based rather than thing based. I also draw out resonances between this chapter, particularly with regard to nothingness,  and insights into particle physics as suggested by Fritjof Capra in his book, The Tao of Physics (1975). [Free. 20 minutes.]

LAO TZU 21

LAO TZU 21

July 8, 2020

In this podcast we discuss Chapter 34 of The Tao Te Ching. In this Chapter, Lao Tzu describes the Tao as best he can, emphasising its low key and quietly stealthy operation of supporting, suffusing and embracing all things, including humans. We explore the explicit instructions for mediation that the chapter contains. [Free. 13 minutes.]

HOLLOW SYMBOLS -  INTERESTING TIMES 2

HOLLOW SYMBOLS - INTERESTING TIMES 2

June 11, 2020

In this podcast, we take issue with the complaints from  certain Tory MPs, conservative academics and right wing pundits that the toppling of statues of slave traders and imperialists 'erases history' and  'strikes at our way of life', and that historical figures should not be appraised according to modern morality and values. We argue that, contrary to these positions, obscured parts of history are illuminated by such acts, that 'our way of life' does not exist as a monolith, and that past figures should be evaluated according to modern values if we are to appraise our desires for future generations. We sketch out out symbols need to be understood as both heavy and empty. Warning: contains swearing. [Free. 19 minutes.]

LAOTZU 19

LAOTZU 19

May 3, 2020

In this podcast, we consider Chapter 32 of The Tao Te Ching. Here, Lao Tzu emphasises the ineffability of the Tao even whilst urging the sage/ruler to follow it if he is to be a good ruler who is able to care for the people well. The implications of the ineffability of the Tao for the nature of language, that it cannot exhaust the world with its names or propositions, is suggested in the text and we tease it out. [Free. 29 mins.]

DESIRE & ULTIMATES [YES & NO 7]

DESIRE & ULTIMATES [YES & NO 7]

October 20, 2019

This podcast was recorded earlier this year in February [2019]. It continues with considerations of the matter of desire, in this case focusing on our appetite for achievement. I suggest that our 'spiritual endeavours' almost inevitably fall into the same pattern as our ordinary acquisitiveness and can have a self-defeating tendency. I recommend a light touch with these drives and indicate what this approach opens up. [Free. 17 minutes.]

DESIRE & THE FUTURE [YES & NO 6]

DESIRE & THE FUTURE [YES & NO 6]

June 9, 2019

This podcast, recorded in November 2018, continues with commentary on the Songs of No and Yes, and explores the theme of desire further. As well as asking if determinism universally applies, I ask what would be the existential consequences if it did. I conclude that metaphysical issues, like free will  - determinism are probably undecidable, and, in this case, of no existential consequence. The upshot for meditation practitioners is that they are well-advised to be engaged with the world and to make efforts to make a future of flourishing for self and others, rather than repudiating creativity, politics and altruism because "what will be, will be." (If such is their bent.) The practice of letting be with bright awareness, I argue, should be understood as applicable to all aspects of lived experience, including the active, creative and passive. The role of determinism in the scientific method is briefly considered. [Free. 18 minutes.]

DESIRE, ACTION, TIME [YES & NO 5]

DESIRE, ACTION, TIME [YES & NO 5]

May 26, 2019

In this podcast, I continue to explore the matter of human desire. I relate it to our embeddedness in time, to suffering and to our motivations to act. [Free. 26 minutes.]

DESIRING TRUTH [YES & NO 4]

DESIRING TRUTH [YES & NO 4]

February 16, 2019

This podcast is a commentary on the poem Desiring Truth from Songs of No and Yes. The poem outlines the enormous philosophical difficulties encountered in the quest for the truth about truth and contrasts them with the ease with which we employ our ordinary, common sense, adequationist notion of truth very effectively in everyday life. In the commentary, I draw on Patanjali's account of truth and knowledge in the Yoga Sutra, finding nothing problematic in our ordinary truth telling whilst suggesting that our various encounters with the ineffable, samadhi, have a valuable but unstateable truth content. I also note Patanjali's method of uncompromising truthfulness as an approach to the ineffable as encountered in the microcosm in the practice of self-study. [Free. 28 minutes.]

EMBRACING THE HUMAN [YES & NO 3]

EMBRACING THE HUMAN [YES & NO 3]

December 31, 2018

In this podcast, I elucidate Embracing the Human, one of the Songs of No and Yes. The discourse mostly takes the form of a recommendation against espousing asceticism and passive nihilism in the name of 'spirituality'. [Free. 27 minutes.]

EXPERIENCE [NO & YES 2]

EXPERIENCE [NO & YES 2]

December 10, 2018

This podcast is the second in the series Songs of No and Yes. It revisits the theme of the previous one, that of sitting meditation. The perspective is a little different and there is a strong 'no', or sealing off of escape routes which we are likely to attempt when the rawness of sitting is encountered. It also repudiates metaphysical speculation, grand-narratives, and other such hubris, seeking to point towards the ineffable rather than attempt to 'eff' it. [Free. 17 minutes.]

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