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The Dao of getting lost | James Kiefner | TEDxTufts

  • Published on Jul 28, 2015
  • Between training at the Wudang Kung Fu Academy and trekking 1200 miles through rural China on a motorcycle, James Kiefner discovered the imperfect route through the Taoist ideal of the perfect, uncarved block.
    James Kiefner is a Tufts University senior from Concord, NH, majoring in Psychology and History. He is also a cadet in the US Army ROTC, destined for Ft. Rucker, AL shortly after graduation.
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at ted.com/tedx

Comments • 26

  • Mrinal Dharmik
    Mrinal Dharmik 4 years ago +30

    A traveller with no destination can never get lost

    • Nancy Sutton
      Nancy Sutton 2 years ago +1

      But perhaps can also never get anywhere?

  • pugher0
    pugher0 2 years ago +5

    That was amazing. Thank you so much for this talk. :)

  • D grau
    D grau 2 years ago +3

    Amazing experience and teaching.

  • Black Opal
    Black Opal 2 years ago +19

    Dude, I don't get it. You were there!, on the cusp of the greatest journey, THE journey, that only few people will ever experience and you ended up in the US military?!??!? I'm sure there is a way that Taoism reconciles military service, but I can't see it here, for you. The military is void of potential, and individual experience and interpretation. It is structured and tells you who to be and what to value, and, most importantly, it commands you to defend those values, even if you fail to see the wisdom in them. And to do so by participating in operations which will compel the murder of other beings and damage Chi and its greatest sanctuary, earth.. "All I wanted was a little control over my life", again, I don't get it, how does that lead you to the military? peace

  • ciaran
    ciaran 2 years ago +6

    my master once said to me go and u will find your way , grandmaster Murphy was a wise man...

  • Rosie S.
    Rosie S. 10 days ago

    Wow, thanks for sharing an amazing insight! I love your sword, glass that you for to keep it.

  • James Miller
    James Miller Year ago +2

    Expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed.

  • ewoknroll
    ewoknroll 5 years ago +3

    How did he pay for it? Most people don't have rich parents.
    That said, he is completely right and experienced wu wei. Anyone can do this from anywhere.

  • Punkkus Martyrus
    Punkkus Martyrus 2 years ago +1

    Sounds like you studied the blade... ;) Thanks for posting.

  • xi kano
    xi kano 2 years ago +3

    Dude...BRA...VO!!! 👏👏👏

  • kickboxer1391
    kickboxer1391 5 years ago +9

    In Buddhism, they teach you that physical attachments bring about great suffering.... too bad you didn't study at Shaolin because they probably would have told you to just ditch the sword so you that you can go home hahaha

  • Black Opal
    Black Opal 2 years ago +3

    I've been carving you
    Just to see what form you'd take
    You were hiding in ivory
    I just wanted to free your shape
    - Gordon Downie

  • Adam Hardaker
    Adam Hardaker 4 years ago +2


  • Black Opal
    Black Opal 2 years ago +1

    I watched again because I still wanted to understand why you decided to enter the military. I still don't, lol. Something else occurred to me this time though. Becoming aware of the restrictions and dams created by the ego and the need to take it out of the equation is an important realization that took intelligence and a dedication to Truth. Being able to do so is the next and separate step, that requires a both of those things again, but it also requires a great deal of effort, experience and strength of character. I've no doubt you have enough of all of these, except maybe experience, but who knows. What I know is that this talk is mostly about your ego, not the subject matter itself, but the fact that this subject is a TED talk, and that it is meant to teach something you don't yet fully understand. You are putting your partially carved block on display and suggesting it as an example to be followed. What could be more about you?
    I'm just trying to help and learn, dude, but I'm not a Dao master. Peace&Love

    • Black Opal
      Black Opal Year ago +1

      @MitzyCasanova I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic, as suggested by the word 'ever', but, no matter, I'll answer either way because that is the way of Truth, which is what it is, regardless of your intention.
      My perception is, in fact, ever changing. I would hope anyway. That is the path to Truth. To hone your perception, to develop it, is our duty, to our self. Only this is the way to Truth.. One facet of perception is knowledge. As we take in more knowledge our perception changes. As I say, the path to Truth, so to fight it I see as mental illness, really. We should always be challenging our perception, scrutinizing it, and striving to align it with Truth, which means resolving hypocrisy.

    • MitzyCasanova
      MitzyCasanova Year ago +1

      I like that you're okay with ever changing your perception. Much respect.

  • Pampered Projects
    Pampered Projects Month ago

    It is here. You are here. And need to understand where you are.

  • Max La Menace
    Max La Menace 2 years ago

    Almost too funny.

  • Dyvel
    Dyvel 3 years ago +6

    Conclusion: If you're rich, you don't have to worry. If you're not rich, get rich and aquire time to spare and you'll have the resources necessary to find wu wei.