Choices and Conundrums

It’s been a week full of choices and conundrums.

I’ve been reading a book called, The Second Book of the Tao, written by Stephen Mitchell. We all know that the first book of the Tao is the Tao Te Ching, written by Lao-tzu (6th century B.C.) The conundrum is that there is no second book of the Tao. None was ever written. But I’m reading it. How can I be reading something that doesn’t exist? If you can understand how something that doesn’t exist can exist in another form than in the form that we believe that it should exist then you are far along the (non)-path towards being a Master.

It is in understanding the Tao that we come to know that life is really just a conundrum.

def. Conundrum


  1. A confusing and difficult problem or question
  2. A question asked for amusement, typically one with a pun in its answer; a riddle

Yes, life is a riddle. My life is a riddle.

I was going to start writing this, after much procrastination, delay, or maybe, the time just wasn’t right to write, when I decided to moderate some comments that were waiting to be posted to some of my prior blog entries. Instead of moderating I decided to re-read one of my entries from May 2009, Sorcery, Monsters…and Jesus!

I’m reading what I wrote and I’m thinking about my recent past. I’m thinking about me and Pranee. I’m thinking about what happened between Pranee & I. I’m thinking about how what I wrote two and one half years ago because of someone else, could have also been written at any time in the past few months because of Pranee. The situations were different but the outcome the same. Same same, but different!

I am where I am because of the choices that I’ve made in the past. But, is that correct? What if it’s our future that decides what happens in the past? My friend Deb goes to these seminars put on by a group called Landmark Education. I attended one of the evening sessions(for friends of the participants) and remember them emphasizing that point, that it’s our future that impacts our present. As an aside, I was trying to find their website link when I came across a search find about the group being a cult or a scam. Here’s a link to a well written blog on the Landmark Forum.

How does our future impact our present? Think about that. Think about the choices that you make every single moment of every single day. The decision you make now isn’t based on what you want to happen in the past, the decisions you make today are being made to decide what you want or where you want to be in the future. That said, is it not, then, our future that decides our past? Is the present not tomorrow’s past?

What about events that are out of our control? What about that car accident you were just in. Did you just choose to be in that car accident? Being diagnosed with cancer? Choice? Fate? Our future self controlling our lives? Some higher being deciding what’s “best” for us?

Yesterday I went for a walk along the waterfront in downtown Nanaimo. There, as I’m walking along the pier, I get asked for some change from Jack. Jack doesn’t lie. He mustn’t be. He kept on insisting that all that he was saying was the truth. Jack isn’t homeless since he lives in a cheap motel. Receives a $900 per month disability pension. Doesn’t drink or do drugs. When he was 10 his dad bought him and his brother a BB gun. His dad said, “Be careful, you could lose an eye!” Well, guess what happened? Yes, he lost an eye. Had a glass eye most of his life but it was uncomfortable so he took it out. He showed me his eye socket. We chatted for about an hour about Jack’s life. Jack is quite intelligent. His daughter lives in northern Ontario and makes over $40 an hour. I ask him why he doesn’t live with her instead of alternating between the street and budget motels. He says, “We all need to live our own lives”. Choices!

Less than $2.00 in change gave me some valuable information. Jack’s life had an unfortunate accident, a ricocheting pellet that took his right eye away, that stopped him from working in the mines in Sudbury where he grew up. That accident allowed Jack to have had some life experiences he never would have had if he had stayed in Sudbury, such as being a radio announcer in White Horse, NWT.

The question remains, “Choices! Is it our future that decides what happens in the past?”

My choices. In Nanaimo for 2 weeks now applying for accounting jobs. Over a dozen job applications and no responses. I am a trained accountant. But I worked all my life for the Federal government in the tax department. All the jobs I’ve applied for require public practice or industry experience, which I don’t have. I also don’t lie. My resume shows that for the past 5 years I’ve tried making a living as a writer, photographer. and world traveler. I’ve also indicated that I left the Federal Government job for health reasons.

How do you prove to someone that you can do a 9 to 5 job, 5 days a week, when, for the past 5 years, most of what I’ve done is do stuff when I feel like it? I wouldn’t hire ME!

That’s the conundrum. I am at a point in my life where I cannot do anything different than what I am currently doing. I see it, though, I doubt anyone else can see that because they’re missing information and/or don’t see things as I see them. And, What am I doing?

I once told God/The Universe that I wanted to follow in Jesus Christ’s and Buddha’s footsteps. That I wanted to be the 21st Century version of these enlightened Masters. As I read through the Second Book of the Tao, I listen to the sage advice of Master Chuang-tzu and Master Chung Yung and I know, I see, I feel, that the knowledge of days long past is within me.

This knowledge makes no sense to the logical, common sense person that I am. But that is why I know that I am right and that I am also wrong. The Master knows what cannot be explained. It makes no sense.

Jack, Jack Smack (he said he doesn’t lie so that must be his name), has to leave and says, “Paul, you are a very nice guy”. Plus a few other accolades. Yes I am, because I have no problem spending an hour or two talking with a “homeless” person, or anybody else. But then, I am also very selfish. Balance!

Life is about Balance!

Think It! Feel It! Live It! Love It!

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