the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


Return to Path of the Sage

“I seek not to know all the answers, but to understand the questions.”

— Kwai Chang (Grasshopper) Caine, as portrayed by David Carradine on Kung Fu (TV series, 1972-1975)

It has been a while.

The time has come, it seems- to wander, to ponder and contemplate where I went wrong.  A course correction, some time to be alone and try to figure out where my place should be.

I have overstepped.

What is the nature of the Uncarved Block?  What potential lies in being nothing, so that one might have everything to give?

Taoist monks observed the universe, as well as the immediate earth around them; physicists of today confirm much of what they wrote.  Where is my proper place amongst all things?

There has been an imbalance.  I cannot remain secluded, for this is not Tao- but I need time to myself, time to just be, and see if my path will move back to its rightful place.


Journey to the East (The Truth Behind Traditional Chinese Martial Arts)

This is one of the best videos I have seen concerning traditional Chinese martial arts, and probably the best I have seen to date that explains the advantages of learning the internal disciplines (which includes Tai Chi Chuan as well as 7 Star Preying Mantis, as described).

While the term kung fu as it is used in the West refers to Chinese martial arts, I do not use it specifically here, as the term is much broader than that– and can encompass every pursuit a human may undertake.  This is what I love about the Eastern paths; they can permeate and infuse every aspect of life.



meditation on water

water meditation

The highest goodness resembles water
Water greatly benefits myriad things without contention
It stays in places that people dislike
Therefore it is similar to the Tao

Dwelling with the right location
Feeling with great depth
Giving with great kindness
Speaking with great integrity
Governing with great administration
Handling with great capability
Moving with great timing

Because it does not contend
It is therefore beyond reproach

–Tao Te Ching, Chapter 8, via and Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, SkyLight Paths (c)2006.





Zero to Hero Day 2: What’s this blog about, anyways?

The day 2 assignment is to edit the blog title and tagline, and flesh them out more in a widget.

I didn’t really have a title when I started out on LiveJournal ten years ago.  When I slowly realized blogs were expected to have a name, I went with “Set sail with Cap’n Jak”, because I was amused by the idea of a pirate persona in the online game I was playing at the time (and still play, actually).

A short note...When I moved to seemingly greener pastures at VOX, I played around with titles for a while.  First it was “the eccentric world of jaklumen”, and then “the eclectic world of jaklumen”.  But a friend of mine at the time, who I call my Sifu-of-Sorts, introduced me to the Tao Te Ching, and as I was greatly moved by the text, I eventually settled on “the tao of jaklumen”.  As “tao” simply means “way”, I figured it summed up nicely the randomness I wrote about, and it seemed to flow nicely.  I decided to keep that title when I came to WordPress on VOX’s closing.

LiveJournal didn’t have taglines, but VOX did.  Now I was noticing my VOX “neighbors” changed up their titles and taglines– I was told it was fun to change them on a whim, to reflect your mood or whatnot.  So I experimented with that for a while.  I think they changed mostly on whatever headers I decided to use, which VOX called “banners”.  It was “push and pull with the wind” for a while here on WordPress, because I took up kiting as a relaxing hobby, and that sounded Taoist.

Then I read The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, and it really struck a chord with me.  I was amazed that an epic fantasy story I was working on with Cimmorene followed so much of the Monomyth pattern.  I literally said “whoa” over and over again.  The story was slow going, because some of it was therapy dealing with issues of abuse.  I figured maybe I should start blogging about how that idea affected me.  For a while, I made the tagline “Till all are one”, from the Transformers movie (the 2006 animated one, not Michael Bay’s stuff).

Today, with this challenge, I realized that while I thought that “Till all are one” was inspiring and profound, maybe it didn’t tell the passerby what this blog was about.  I thought back to a passage from the I Ching (Book of Changes):

“A place of transition has been reached, and free choice can enter in. A twofold possibility is presented to the great man: he can soar to the heights and play an important part in the world, or he can withdraw into solitude and develop himself. He can go the way of the hero or that of the holy sage who seeks seclusion.” — I Ching (Book of Changes), Wilheim and Baynes translation

Now, the I Ching is an ancient divination text, but I chose to read it in a philosophical way.  I thought that for the longest time, I had walked the path of the sage, being very buried in my books, brooding over endless possibilities of thought, sliding out on tangents in many conversations.  But there were signs that maybe I was meant for something more.  And if I was writing about the Hero’s Journey in particular, and thinking it had meaning to my life, would that not mean that I would need to walk the path of the hero?

I rewrote the tagline a few times, settling on “the path of the sage must become the path of the hero”.

Now the text widget describing this blog, well, I’d never really thought about it until today, either.  I thought maybe that made some sense, because I was getting a lot of visits to my “About jaklumen” page, but not many of them seemed to be sticking around and reading.  I had completely forgotten that many readers might be browsing through a lot of blogs and wanted a quick summary right on my blog’s front page.  I just didn’t think of that, because well, I’m an introverted person and I got used to meeting bloggers by way of interaction.

Oh, and Calamity Rae asked me about a follow by e-mail widget.  She’s self-hosted at the moment, and so I hadn’t really thought about that– I assumed everyone just clicked on “Follow” on the toolbar (which self-hosted doesn’t have apparently) or subscribed to blog feeds in a feed reader.  So, I added that widget today.

I'm a Zero to Hero Blogger!

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The warrior-priest of the sagebrush steppes

I am fighting off terrible pain today, as well as nausea and other consequences of that pain. Here’s a post from the archives– something I wrote when I was still blogging at VOX.

the tao of jaklumen

Read this as an epic tale, or a real life account, as you will.

Once, I was an Idealist, but not in the Platonic sense.  I still believe in the spirit element of all things material, but I was as Troile’s children, who fought for the ideals of an ancient kingdom, or even a world, like Caprica.  I was wont to despair if others did not share my ideals.  I was prone to pontificate, or at least to preach those ideals boldly.

But I was to know pain.  Seeds of destruction planted in my youth began to grow to fruition, and my dreams seemed to shatter against the rocks.  Although I wrestled with demons and claws of damnation, I had vowed to never forsake the Light that had shone in my soul, though I might chase through clouds to get to it again.  But a growing sense of iconoclasm…

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I want to hope, too, just in a different way

This is a response to mudlips’s post I want to hope.  I thought about what she had to say over and over as I had met and knew people with similar reactions of sadness and anger over human environmental degradation.  I was writing a comment and realized it was much too long and needed to be in a post of my own.

I was an environmental studies student, and I worked with an environmental educator at city hall. I was a Boy Scout. I have talked with friends that have shared knowledge with me about geology, archeology, anthropology, and how flora and fauna live both in wild and domestic contexts. I am LDS/Mormon, but also consider myself a philosophical Taoist. I suppose I am of the stewardship school as far as the Earth.

I am reluctant to see the Earth overall as nuturing, comforting, although it can be all those things in particular instances. Mostly, I suffer from nerve damage and other health concerns that have me howling and groaning in pain when the temperature drops, the humidity rises, or there is other clashes of weather. I am grateful for the rain when it comes out here– it waters my humble garden and orchard, but it often hurts like hell these days.

I have seen examples that lead me to believe that Mother Nature is impartial, and will slay any wanderer that is not prepared and vigilant. I love technology, yet find some respite in observing nature, and even what view I can get of the cosmos.

I see myself as an Indigo Man– I want to know my place in the universe, and have a sense of that place. My wife calls me a “seeker of truth”; as my soulmate, she knows of my ancient quest to know the song of the stars, and the interconnectedness of all things throughout the senses, and the artistic expressions of such. She remembers my friendship with an old music-loving soul that admired my thoughts, although much of the world knows of him much more than it does of me.

What does that mean in my context here (my blog theme, currently) of the Monomyth?  While I think this mortal existence is beautiful, I still see it as a journey.  I reject Platonic implications that our universe in tangible form is an imperfect copy of concepts and ideas.  Nor do I think that spirit is superior to the body, as some early Christians in the Hellenistic world surmised.  No, I look forward to a day when spirit is fused to body more perfectly, not with blood, but with light.  I look forward to the day…

…till all are one.


The path of the hero.

I am not sure how to put this into words, because so much of it is intensely personal.  So personal and so precious, that I cannot bear to have it mocked.

I read Dad’s last revision to his personal history a few days ago.  There is a certain portion that he is worried about– worried how family will receive it.  It is indeed sad, and lays bare some of the spiritual wounds and sufferings of his parents, his brothers, and his children.

But for me, for the first time, the path is clear.  For at least twenty years, I brooded about how I could connect my past to my future, to make a foreordination a destiny.  Now I understand what I must do.

I think my mother-in-law is right.  There has been hurting for too many generations, traditions that festered and destroyed from within, but a chance to heal has come, a chance that I can take.  I wouldn’t be so arrogant to assume it is all on me; I’ve implied above that my father recognizes it.

“The son becomes the father, and the father becomes the son.”

Her eldest daughter, who is my wife, suggests that the change must come within me, starting with myself.

I must trust in my Master.  Trust that He knows the way for me.  Trust that is complete and unconditional, right down to laying everything I have and am right on the line.  There is so much contention and discord about Him… but I know what I have seen, felt… remembered.  I will be true despite the mockery, hoping and waiting for the day of reunification.  The rifts that were suffered will at last come together.

Till all are one.