The Intermittent Volunteer’s Weblog

Befriending People in Dallas Who Are Homeless

Seeing the Small February 13, 2012

Filed under: healing,inspiration,Taoism — Karen Shafer @ 11:48 am

Monday, February 13, 2012

Seeing the small

     is called Clarity.

Keeping flexible

     is called Strength.

Using the shining Radiance

     you enter the Light,

          where no harm

     can come to you.

This is called


~~  Lao Tsu


Twenty-Nine November 25, 2008

Filed under: inspiration,Leadership,Taoism — Karen Shafer @ 7:29 pm

Tuesday, November 25, 2008



“Do you think that you can take over the universe and improve it?

I do not believe it can be done.


The universe is sacred.

You cannot improve it.

If you try to change it, you will ruin it.

If you try to hold it, you will lose it.


So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind;

Sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily;

Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness;

Sometimes one is up and sometimes down.


Therefore the sage avoids extremes, excesses, and complacency.”

                                                                                               ~~Tao Te Ching, Lao Tsu


The ‘Way’ September 15, 2008

Filed under: healing,inspiration,Leadership,peace,Taoism — Karen Shafer @ 7:55 pm


The ‘Way’


“The mystery of the ‘Way’ [in Taoism] can never be explained or named, but we can live it.  No matter what we think, say, or do we are embraced by the ‘Way.’…   [It] is infinitely compassionate, supporting and nurturing even in our ignorance, but we cannot truly be wholly nourished until we forgive ourselves our mistakes along the way and thus cease blaming others for our wounds.  The Chinese I Ching says “no blame.”  The Lord’s Prayer says similarly, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”…


The separation of spirit and nature is based on the subject-object split, the great divide in consciousness that says sense perception and logical thought are objective whereas feeling and intuitive thought are subjective.  In our scientifically oriented Western culture, objectivity is seen as the main criterion of truth, and subjectivity is considered personal and relative.  But an insight, vision, or intuition may be more true than logic and description of objects.  The test is the effectiveness of living the vision.


Once we lose the ‘Way’ in this subject-object abyss, innumerable are the ills that grow out of it.  The abuse of nature for technological exploitation, the resultant pollution, illnesses, and lack of wholesome food, water, and air for life are extreme signs of losing the ‘Way.’  God and the world seem to be antithetical because humans create culture in ignorance of spiritual and natural laws.  Then supreme effort is required to return us to the ‘Way.’…  It necessitates awareness of the earth as a living being, not inert matter to be exploited.  As traditions break down we are forced to meet the ‘Way,’ which is both a mystery and a source for regenerative global culture.  The essence of spiritual traditions can never be lost, for the ‘Way’ is perennial wisdom, eternal truth.


The Tao, the ‘Way,’ is the eternal harmony of heaven, the human and earth in all times and places.  It is ever renewed and yet inexhaustible…”


                                        ~~Rowena Pattee Kryder, Introduction to the Translation by                                                                                     Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English of Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu


The Pheasant June 23, 2008

Filed under: homelessness,hunger,inspiration,peace,Taoism — Karen Shafer @ 8:31 pm


       ‘The pheasant in the marshes has to take ten steps in order to get one beakful of food, one hundred steps for one drink of water.  Yet it doesn’t want to be kept in a cage.  Though it would be fed like a king, it would not be happy.’

                                                                                          ~~Chuang Tsu, Inner Chapters


Chuang Tsu was to Lao Tsu (author of the Tao Te Ching) as Saint Paul was to Jesus and Plato was to Socrates.  He developed the doctrines of Taoism with rigorous logic from Lao Tsu’s more poetic writings.  The seven “Inner Chapters” of his teaching represent the part of his work that scholars definitely attribute to him.


Used, But Never Filled June 16, 2008

Filed under: healing,inspiration,Leadership,peace,Taoism — Karen Shafer @ 3:39 pm



The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled.

Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things!

Blunt the sharpness,

Untangle the knot,

Soften the glare,

Merge with dust.

Oh, hidden deep but ever present!

I do not know from whence it comes.

It is the forefather of the emperors.


~~Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching


Dedicated to Tim Russert, who did great things.


Leadership: Go To the People April 26, 2008

Filed under: homelessness,inspiration,Leadership,Taoism,Uncategorized — Karen Shafer @ 6:28 pm

“Go to the people.
Live with them.
Learn from them…

Start with what they know;
Build with what they have.
But with the best leaders,
When the work is done,
The task accomplished,
The people will say,
We have done this ourselves!”

Lao Tzu (700 B.C.)


Yield and Overcome February 28, 2008

Filed under: inspiration,Taoism — Karen Shafer @ 9:20 pm

‘Yield and overcome;
Bend and be straight;
Empty and be full;
Wear out and be new;
Have little and gain;
Have much and be confused.

Therefore wise men embrace the one and set an example to all.
Not putting on a display, they shine forth.
Not justifying themselves, they are distinguished.
Not boasting, they receive recognition.
Not bragging, they never falter.
They do not quarrel, so no one quarrels with them.
Therefore the ancients say, ‘Yield and overcome.’
Is that an empty saying?
Be really whole,
And all things will come to you.’

~~Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching (22)