Taman Negara – non-doing

We are hiking in Taman Negara, Malaysia, the oldest rainforest in the world.

Lao tsu writes (chapter 3, Tao te Ching):

“The Master leads
by emptying people’s minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.

Practice not-doing,
and everything will fall into place.”

You don’t have to agree with everything that Lao tsu says — but his wisdom is worth consideration. His philosophy was devised in the 6th century BC. — he faced stressful situations that differed from those that you face but he provides guidelines for the inner path, a reality that is universal.

Human physiology is basically the same in all societies and eras. The inner pathway — the route meditators discover — has similar elements everywhere.

Practice meditation every day for all your life and you will discover the result of “non-doing” is emptiness. “Doing” is a quest for fullness and the typical way that the mind works is a process on “constructing” thoughts, emotions, sensations.

We hike in Taman Negara, keeping our eyes open. “You can observe a lot by watching,” says Yogi Berra.


As with meditation, the jungle has featureless aspects but we are taking note of what we see. Thoughts come and go.

We see a moss deer — it is hard to see, about the size of a large rabbit (slightly below center screen). You can detect it when it moves.

Within the mind, there is movement and non-movement — and you can note thoughts, sensations, emotions when they arise, change, decline.

A family of monkeys jump from one tree to another. Our minds leap from sensations, thoughts, emotions — the monkey mind.

We watch the monkeys in a tree.

Thoughts are connected to other thoughts, emotions, sensations — and we create inner stories — memories, fantasies, planninng. We form habits of reviewing specific stories.

Can you see the lizard?

We see excremental from an elephant — but no elephant.

We moved out of our Nusa Village cabin and live in a chalet in the village of Kuala Tahan. I look at chickens above the river and turn to view Karen and our chalet.

We leave the jungle — taking the bus toward Kuala Lumpur and changing buses in Jerantut. We walk around in Jerantut, waiting for the bus to Kuala Lumpur.


Why would anyone engage in meditation, a pathway that leads to emptiness? Most people seek power, satisfaction, pleasure, fullness. Their lives consist of a quest for fullness.

Those exposed to trauma or deep sorrow, those who are intensely curious, and those with a proclivity for compassion follow the inner path toward emptiness.

The inner path, a non-doing, leads to discovery of hidden realms — what Lao tsu calls the Tao.

This inner path is not for everyone. It is not easy but it can lead to happiness and mental health.

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