Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mystic Cab Premieres on June 26, 2008!

Mystic Cab was originally a play, co-written and performed by Kert Peterson and myself at the 2004 Frontera Fest at Hyde Park Theatre. It's the story of Grover, an Indian cab driver and Dick, an investment banker, who keep meeting in Grover's car over the course of a year. As Grover says, "There are no coincidences!"and as we find out, this indeed proves true.

My original motivation was to convey youplusU's temporal essence through a story. The longer title, "Guru or Disciple? YES!" reveals this motivation. Grover's cab parallels Arjuna's chariot in the Bhagavad Gita, but the relationship between Dick and Grover is quite different than Arjuna and Krishna. Theirs is a lock-step dance around a circle of duality, each informing and enlightening the other. It was only a few years later that I realized (much to my delight!) that the story also contained MRE and bootstrapping!

Even though Guru was filmed in the summer of 2006, it patiently awaited its right time for release. First, Brandy Rainey Amstel launched the Bootstrap Austin Film Subgroup in June2007 and this led to the first ever Bootstrap Film Fest. The micro-festival also includes films by Brandy and Jason Howell. and is hosted online by BSide, a Bootstrap Austin company founded by Chris Hyams.

I'm excited that all the elements have come together and invite Austinites to see these films on June 26th at the Arbor Cinema from 6-8:30pm. Advance tickets are available through the Bootstrap Film Fest site.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Encountering daoist masters in the world

Contrary to a widely held belief, Daoist masters are not necessarily cloistered in monasteries, as many of their Buddhist brethren are. In fact, they are great practitioners of the the phrase:

before enlightenment, chop wood.
after enlightenment....chop wood!

They live IN the world, enjoying its pulsations of duality and integration and teaching by the example of their lives and in the particular duality they integrate. One such master is Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer. In actuality, he's also a people-whisperer, as he demonstrates time and again on his show. Cesar's duality is that people treat their dogs like people, when they need to treat them like dogs. Once they understand the psychology of dogs, harmony and balance are achieved. Dogs are simply mirrors for people (thus our own daoist gurus) and tell us about ourselves and how we are progressing on our path. It's perhaps no accident that his book, Cesar's Way, which chronicles his journey from a farm in Mexico to the US, has the word "Way" in it.

And just today, I encountered Zeke (512-478-2181)a daoist master who fixed my broken air-conditioner. Our entire interaction placed a subtle smile on my face.

Tao or Dao? YES!

A friend asks, "Is it spelled "dao" or "tao"?

The answer, of course, is: YES!

In order to translate the phonetics of another language to English, you have to map different letters in the alphabet to the sounds of the language. This is called Romanization:
In Chinese there are anywhere from 5-10 Romanization schemes, depending on how they're counted.

The most popular schemes in the west are the Wade-Giles and Yale:
In both schemes the "dh" sound is Romanized as a "t," thus: tao

The other scheme, Pinyin, (the one I learned growing up in Taiwan and Hong Kong) is actually more popular among Chinese and in pinyin, the "dh" sound is spelled "d", thus: dao.

Thus you get the two different spellings of "Tao" and "Dao," correctly noted in wikipedia.

Of course, there is a great DEBATE about which scheme is "right," but Lao Tzu (or Lao Ji, Lao Tsu, Tse, Tze, Ze, etc!) smiles at all the sound and fury. Isn't it only appropriate that there would be two spellings for a non-dual approach to the world!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

jinba ittai: rider and horse as one

I own a first-generation Mazda Miata. It's actually the second one I own - when I crashed my first one (a 1996 model) in a rare ice-storm in Austin, I replaced it with a 1997, the last year of the first generation.

I first encountered the Miata at Stanford in the early nineties, when a friend took me for a ride and it was an instantaneous connection. Only years later did I come to know that the Miata is based on a design principle, Jinba Ittai, or "rider and horse as one." This concept has been beautifully implemented in the first-generation Miata, where the car feels like a literal extension of your body, from the accessible controls, the short gear-shift, the snug seating and quick responsiveness. Ten years later, there is still an indescribable pleasure when driving the car.

It seems I've been inadvertently drawn towards youplusU for a very long time!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Duality integration happens in spacetime

Often we over-focus on the process of integrating dualities. Perhaps because of the relief and the payoff of doing so.

Whatever the reasons, one must truly know each side intimately before seeing how to bring them together. Dualities integrate in particular ways that have to be discovered. Take:


which integrates energy and matter. It isn't "1/2 e" or "2m." There is a very particular relationship between the opposing elements. To know how to weave two dualities together, it is vital to know them separately first. It took Einstein a decade (if not longer) to come to it. A huge part of this was the integration of light as both a particle and wave, an unresolved duality that caused physicists much consternation. It was not until he could understand both points of view intimately, going around the circle many hundreds of times, that the integration of the duality could finally come about.

In the case of Google, the duality in the Valley of Death was "search with integrity, but no revenue" juxtaposed with "paid keyword search with no integrity." It took them five years to figure out how to integrate it and create two search engines, thus preserving the integrity AND making money.

Finally, the prodigal son first knew "dependence," then knew "independence" only to finally find "interdependence" a journey of many years.

Duality integration is a hard-won prize that cannot be rushed and unfolds in the goodness of time. Before forcing toward it, get to know each opposing element intimately!