A Higher Power for the 21st Century

Updated on March 5th, 2018

A Higher Power for the 21st Century

Nature doesn’t remain hidden from us any longer. We have telescopes that look into the far heavens, and scans that unveil the universe inside us. As a result blind faith is no longer possible for those who think. To be able to live both rationally and spiritually, we need a vision of a higher power that is aligned with science. Not opposed to it. Two thousand five hundred years ago, an old Chinese sage revealed such a higher power. He called it Tao.

So, what is Tao? I will answer this question in a Taoist way. So, I need for you to join me in the following thought experiment. Imagine that an alien had visited our planet a few Billon years ago. He would have seen a rock. If he came back today he would see that the rock is covered by water, earth, vegetation, and all kinds of creatures. He would see that since his last visit, something populated the rock with these wonders. That Something is Tao.

Tao is not a thing, and is not a being. Tao is a force. It’s like the Law of Gravity. It’s the force that guides the process by which everything is created. It’s how everything is created.  It’s the emptiness from which everything came. Everything works according to Its design.

And, how do we know Its design? This is exciting—we can know It by studying how creation works. Tao reveals Itself through Its creation. In the same way that an architect reveals himself through a building. When you look at a building you learn a lot about the Architect that designed it. Even if you don’t know his name, or anything else about him. By looking at his building you will be able to know what style of architecture he prefers. You can understand the purpose that he intended for the building. You will know if he intended to design a factory, a home, or an office building. You will learn how to use the building best, following its design. Not using a luxury condo as a factory, for example.

In the same way, when we look at creation. When we study Nature. When we uncover our Human Nature; we understand the purpose of our design. We understand what our Creator/Designer/Tao created us for. And, if we live according to our design, we can reach our full potential.

When we live according to our design, we live aligned with the force that Created the Universe. We share in Its power. When we live aligned with the force that created the Universe, we manifest our full potential. When we live manifesting our true potential we are Whole. We are Holy.

So, any true spiritual path has to be a path that lead us to live in accordance with Creation, and its Creator. That’s where the power is. A path that opposes Nature opposes Its Creator. A path that opposes Creation, and Its Creator, cannot be a spiritual path.

A true spiritual path is enriched by knowledge, not threatened by it. The knowledge of Science, Psychology, and Technology enrich our knowledge of ourselves. It reveals Creation, and move us closer to the Creator without contradictions. A Creator that reveals Itself through science and knowledge is a Higher Power that we can embrace in the 21st Century.

Who’s Bossing You Around?

Updated on February 12th, 2018

Meet the New Boss Same as the Old Boss

People that preach old values say that we shall not eat pork, display skin, or be sexually liberal. According to their traditional dogma it’s unthinkable to go through life without the guidance of a Priest, Rabbi, or Imam. They preach that our human nature is sinful and they sell us “salvation” as the remedy for our sinful selves.

People that preach new values say that we shall not eat carbs, display fat, or be sexually repressed. According to their modern dogma it’s unthinkable to not rely on the direction of a spiritual teacher, Guru, Coach, or Therapist. The New Bosses of political correctness and enlightenment sell “self-improvement” as the remedy for flaws in the political incorrectness of our view and lack of spiritual enlightenment.

And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong

The Who. (1971). Won’t Get Fooled Again. On Who’s Next

If you go beyond the apparent difference in their positions, you will find that they have the same agenda: they both want to boss us around and tell us what to do. In the words of The Who: “Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss.” (1971).

Both Bosses believe that they own the truth. They both promote commandments that are impossible to satisfy—because they are in opposition to human nature. They both see our failure to meet their irrational and inhuman demands as proof that we are deficient and we need them to fix us. They both believe—or want us to believe—that they know how to improve on the process of creation and evolution of which we are the product.

The majority of us have bought the message of one, or both, of these Bosses at some point. We have felt guilty, inadequate, and lacking as a result and have looked to them to save us from our perceived flaws so that we could be ok. When we did so we were scammed. Describing the spiritual scam of all merchants of salvation and spiritual enlightenment, the great thinker and writer Allan Watts wrote “…anybody who tells you that he has some way of leading you to spiritual enlightenment is like somebody who picks your pockets and sells you your own watch” (c.1955). This is a great description of the Bosses and their business practices.

When we awake enough to see through the self-degrading message of the marketers of salvation and enlightenment, we clearly see the obvious and powerful truth that all that is wrong with us is arising out of our mistaken beliefs about who we are—not from our Original Nature.

Our Original Nature was created by God/Tao/Nature/Evolution, or whatever other name you choose to call it. If we have been living hurting others and ourselves, and shortchanging our potential, it’s not because our humanity is sinful or lacking. We bring on suffering when we disown our true Nature, and even come to hate it, because we come to believe that it is sinful or morally defective.

When we buy into the idea that our Nature is sinful and in need of redemption, and we reject it, we reject the true source of our personal and spiritual power. When we alienate ourselves from ourselves we become helpless. When we become helpless we become vulnerable to be scammed by both Bosses.

Here is the real deal—our humanity doesn’t need to be fixed. Our humanity needs to be re-discovered, re-owned, accepted, embraced, and celebrated. A true path to living joyfully is a path that leads to the discovery, acceptance, and celebration of our true Nature—not a path of denigrating and hating it. When we fully accept our humanity we realize that we are a manifestation of the eternal. When we realize our Nature we clearly feel that we are not a mistake.

The awesome and indescribable source of all creation that made us does not make mistakes. We were born with a body, a mind, and a spirit designed to live connected with the force that created the entire Universe. When we become conscious of the fact that we are connected with the whole of creation, wake up to the truth of what we really are, and embrace our true worth, we will stop seeking people who stole our watches and ask to buy it back from them. We will stop being bossed around by any Boss.

My Teacher’s Death Poem

Updated on February 12th, 2018

John Heider

There is an ancient tradition in Taoism and Zen of writing a death poem to leave behind. My Teacher John Heider wrote this poem ten days before he died. His teachings are at the heart and the foundation of Adaptive Center, so I wanted to share this heritage, our heritage, with you.

I love and miss him, and I’m grateful for all his gifts.



I diminish.

I diminish inexorably.

I lose weight as an
iceberg loses weight –
sloughing rivulets off me –
running into the sea.

I lose weight as an unbelled
garden loses songbirds.

I lost 100 lbs and had
to be told to look in a mirror.
I could not feel a difference
in the lightness of my step.

When I did look, I was
shocked to see a survivor of
a camp or a march.

Did I remember how weak I felt?
The missing muscles mass
is simply gone, I don’t know where.

I don’t know where I have gone.
I’ve joined my glacial runoff.
I’ve joined songbirds in another garden.

Can You Escape Suffering? You May Not Want To.

Updated on February 28th, 2018

Taoism is a philosophy that emerged from China 2.500 years ago. This philosophy is beautifully illustrated in an ancient painting called “The Vinegar Tasters”.

The Three Vinegar Tasters – Confucius, Buddha and Lao-Tsu
Rafael Desquitado Jr. – Deviant Art – rndmtask


In the painting you see 3 figures. They represent the 3 great Philosophers of the East. One of the figures is the Buddha. One is Confucius. The third one is Lao-Tsu.

In the painting, the Buddha, Confucius, and Lao-Tsu are standing by a vat of vinegar. This particular vat of vinegar represents the world, and the vinegar represents life. In the painting, each philosopher has dipped a finger into the vinegar and has tasted it. The Buddha appears grimacing after having tasted the vinegar. Suffering is central to the philosophy of Buddhism. Actually, The First Noble Truth of Buddhism is that life is suffering: for the Buddha life was bitter.

Confucius is also grimacing after tasting life. He taught that the world was out of order and this disorder brings suffering. He taught that the only way to bring the world into harmony again was through discipline. He taught that honor, duty, and worshiping the ways of our ancestors would restore order. For him, life was bitter also.

But Lao-Tse is smiling after tasting the vinegar. Why? Because, according to the Taoist view, life can indeed be bitter—but that is not the whole story. On the other side of bitterness, you will find sweetness. According to Taoism everything brings its opposite with it—at the same time. Think about it, if you had never known the bitter, how would you know the sweet?

If you had never seen darkness, how would you know the difference between day and night?


For a Taoist bitter suffering is just one side of life. Suffering doesn’t come alone. It brings its opposites along for the ride. Joy, knowledge, experience, or any number of positive things come on the back of suffering. Taoists believe that if we didn’t know suffering, we couldn’t know happiness. They believe that male and female complement each other. Believe that hot and cold regulate each other. That success and failure educate each other. That gain and loss value each other.

Nothing can exist without it’s opposite. Anything that is one-sided can’t exist. It wouldn’t be whole. Life is indeed suffering and vinegar is bitter. But mix bitter vinegar with its opposite flavors and it becomes a delicious dressing.

Learn to see the opposites of creation. Learn to embrace the opposing forces of creation joyfully. Let creation blend them according to its design. And you will taste the richness of the full spectrum of life. And you will smile like Lao-Tsu.