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Towards an Anarcho-Taoist Approach to Therapy

Thirty spokes meet in the hub Where the wheel isn’t is where it’s useful.

Hollowed out, makes a bowl, Where the pot’s not, is where it’s use is. ---------- Tao Te Ching Book 1 Verse 11

I didn’t encounter the Tao Te Ching until I was 25. Of course, it was alluded to by so many mystics and teachers, but it wasn’t until I was in college, studying philosophy and religion, that I actually sat down to read it.

This enchanting book, saying so much with so little, elevating the paradoxes of life to holy status in all its subversive, ironic and untranslatable charm, became an instant, settled worldview.

While studying in college I was able to construct my own independent studies, looking deeper in to the Tao. A different path would have led me to study Traditional Chinese Medicine, but instead I studied the lore of Lao Tzu, the enigmatic and perhaps female (or even non-existent) writer that the text is attributed to. I rifled through dozens of translations of the book and even scribed my own rendition using Paul Carus’ 1898 translation, which printed the original chinese characters next to rough translations of their meaning. And I was only able to try my hand at this because Ursula Le Guin’s translation was my favorite and only existed because she used Carus’ book in 1997.

This text became central to my world, I noticed I started to move around in the world differently, and navigate life in new ways because phrases like the bowl metaphor popped into my mind at random moments.

I learned language is flawed, and juxtaposition and contrast is best, paradoxically I learned when to use brevity and plain language as well as when to be egregious with poeticism.

I learned to really sit with a tree and feel its energy, whatever I know, or don’t about Qi gong, I’ve probably learned from sitting in a field with a plant. Anyhow, you get the picture, the poetry of the Tao Te Ching has been the ost influential text of my life, I return to it often and with regularity. I no other book I have recommend more often to others.

Anarcho exists as a hyphenate to this term. This term may immediately insist political influence, I use it not for this implication, but for the wider lens of intimations; rejects coercion, authority and hierarchy, and favors collaboration, consensus and mutual aid.

In my life as a therapist, I have explored many modalities and systems of thought, and some have heavily influenced my work. But I’ve never been able to say I am 100% “this or that” kind of therapist with perfect congruency. Anarcho-Taoism is the only term that is close enough, so now let me tell you how it shows up in my work as a therapist.

Anarcho-Taoism recognizes everything is made up and that there’s no authority. We like to attribute authority and explain away our own power and ability, with this system we see these structures for their inherent absurdity and return power to the individual, the group or community, the couple and yes, the child also.

Anarcho-Taoism follows the cadences of the natural world. Taoism is an animist philosophy, meaning everything including thought is an expression of spirit, or Tao. So we practice spontaneity and reverence of our own consciousness and the consciousness of the flied of awareness.

Anarcho-Taoism uses language, and also doesn’t need to. We practice and learn Wu-Wei, and health returns.

Anarcho-Taoism is playful, weird and cherishes novelty, absurdity, laughter and fun.

Anarcho-Taoism practices recognition of alignment and mis-alignment. Whether this expresses itself in the body, emotion or relationships, the (Yin) intuitive, emotive, intangible, receptive and sensitive is curated toward harmony

Anarcho-Taoism values expressions of energy, and our hope is to find the right course for all energy, be it emotional, somatic or spiritual. The process of therapy is lingual, which is why, we always keen on poetics showing up, anything that absracts modernity is likely useful, so all narratives are subject to skepticism. In Anarcho-taoism we explore cycles and elipsis, we look for pattern recognition and moments of chaos, escape and eruption.

I don’t know what exactly Anarcho-Taoist therapy looks like in full, but here’s a few fragments of the constellation. I do know that in my life the deep philosophical wisdom of the Tao is what I follow in all things and it has made my life more layered, interesting and interdimensional.


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