Learn Mandarin Newsletter 11
Latest Update, Tao Te Ching, & Productivity
你好! Ni Hao!
It’s been a while since I’ve written last — most of my attention has been focused on writing my next book :) To help me with my book writing process, I interviewed best-selling author and productivity expert, Tiago Forte, which you can watch on YouTube here. He uses a very interesting framework for personal knowledge management.
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One of the books that I enjoy coming back to over and over again is the Tao Te Ching - 道德经. It’s one of those books that upon each re-read, I always find new insights.
The Tao at its simplest is movement. Everything down to its atomic level is always in movement. Everything around you is always moving. Part of it is about syncing your own movement with the movement around you. About harmony between you and nature; between you and the universe.
A central idea of Tao is Qì - 气 - Breath (“chee”)
It can also mean vital energy or life force.
Without breath, there is no life.
Oxygen is what enables organisms to grow, reproduce, and turn food into energy.
Qi is universal. Qi is forever in a state of continuous flux.
There’s a Chinese expression, 人活一口气 — Rén Huó Yī KǒuQì which means that we live on Qi. It’s our essential life energy.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Qì is the vital energy that circulates through the body at all times.
A healthy person according to TCM is a harmonious composition of all the elements of Qì. The body is thrown off balance by an excess or deficiency in the yin or the yang.
For those interested, there’s a Taoist documentary made by fellow Australian, Jason Gregory, called The Art of Effortless Living:
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