The barbarian stands up from beneath the maple tree where he spent the day napping. He walks to the edge of the lake's water and gazes up at the moon hanging high in the sky. He takes time to stretch his weary arms and legs, before kneeling to slake his thirst from the cool, crisp water by cupped handfuls. When he is finished, he rolls up the deerskin leggings and dangles his feet in the water, soaking up to his calves. As he relaxes, he draws out his book from his weathered rucksack and reads patiently. After some time, he replaces it and begins to scribble in a battered journal. Finally, he sets it aside and leans, stretching his back and watching the moon. Hu - the Chinese character for Tiger Today's reading talks of those who can tap into the pure energy of Tao, that they become like tigers; strong, graceful and resilient. The message, though, is not on how to do this, but rather, as many tend to be, it uses the tiger as an example. The challenge is not in discovering how to tap into or reach Tao, but in how the person uses that knowledge. Like anything in life it speaks of people, Taoist, who took that knowledge and used it for greedy, selfish, indolent purposes. They mastered the teachings and used them to control, enslave and destroy. Just as a tiger can be violent, bloodthirsty and predatory, so too can the tiger be caring, nurturing and protective. As a Taoist my focus will not be consumed by gaining knowledge, safe guarding my health and striving for immortality, but also on the direction that I use what I have gained. LIke the tiger I have the propensity to indulge my ego, to be selfish. Instead I seek to balance myself, as in all things. Maintaining my power, my ferocity, while nurturing and caring for everything around me. I am glad that some of you have found these inspirational. I am posting them, mostly, to keep myself doing it. I enjoy journaling and these readings, but many times I find that I let other things, work and such, get in the way. I tell myself, I'll do it tomorrow, I will make sure. And then I forget, or let it slip by again. I don't want to do that. I want this to be a habit that I build and keep. Psychology says it takes 6-8 weeks to shed a habit and 8-12 weeks to build a new one. So, that is what this is, me building this into a habit. Writing it down like this, also helps me to reinforce what I have read. I like the idea of the tiger, there are so many similarities and metaphors that can be used. By the Chinese zodiac, I am a tiger, so it makes sense. As I am preparing to make a major life change (leaving the military and heading back to school) these habits that I am building will help me deal with these changes. I hope this helps you as much as it does me and more.