The Art of Lost & Found (or Forgetting & Remembering)
I was writing a speculative quasi-sci-fi article about the possible futures of AI, Transcendence, and Earth becoming a Celestial Cyborg (view article here). I was completely lost in the task until my laptop died, cuing me to take a break and realize that 5 hours had passed and it was now 1:45 AM. This kind of thing happens to me fairly frequently. I get completely lost in a project. I become so wrapt in what I’m doing that everything else falls away: plans, responsibilities, people, time...even thirst, hunger and exhaustion - sometimes for days. It’s unbelievable to me. I surface from whatever world I’m in, back real world, often to find that I’ve neglected one or many of the things listed above and an immediate need to take care of them.
On this particular night, Tao seeped into my consciousness through an old saying, “Not all who wander are lost” (J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of The Ring). I immediately remembered how frustratingly ambiguous that saying has been for me. I’ve seen and heard it in many times and places. It always seemed to be a cheap way for hippies to justify being aimless in life and bypass any guilt for not knowing what the hell you’re supposed to be doing (I still think it is). I mean, beyond a bullshit ticket to bypass, what does it even mean? How is it at ALL logical or practical advice? Can you be intentionally lost? Should you intentionally go wander around until you “find yourself”? Are there people who already have found themselves and decided the best thing to do is just wander around?
Starting on my midnight stroll, I felt I tapped into the true wisdom of the expression: being “lost” doesn’t mean feeling lost. I personally understood in that moment that while I was writing that article, I was lost in my passion, wandering through whatever interested me. And in being lost in the moment, I was completely found. But it was beyond just lost and found, by not looking for anything, I found everything. By not wondering what I wanted or needed, I was simply being and doing what I wanted and needed, no searching, wondering, or wandering necessary.
Being lost in the moment is finding yourself. Being completely consumed by passion, dedication, love - that is what it is to be found.
I was completely lost in and in love with what I was doing.
Feeling lost is being lost
Losing feeling lost is finding being found
Losing your self in the moment is finding your eternal self
Lose the past and find the future
Lose the future and find the past
Lose them both and find the present
Lose the present and find eternity
Lose your body and find your mind
Lose your mind and find your heart
Lose your heart and find your spirit
Lose your spirit and find God
Lose God and find the Void
Lose your strength and find your weakness
Lose your weakness and find your power
Lose your power and find surrender
Lose intelligence and find ignorance
Lose ignorance and find wisdom
Lose wisdom and find foolishness
Lose foolishness and find peace
Lose your senses and find awareness
Lose awareness and find attunement
Lose attunement and find alignment
Lose alignment and find stillness
Lose stillness and find movement
Lose movement and find being
Lose being and find creation
Lose creation and find origin
Lose origin and find non being
Lose isolation and find solitude
Lose solitude and find connection
Lose connection and find oneness
Lose expression and find understanding
Lose life and find death
Lose death and find life
Tao Te Ching #23
Express yourself completely, then keep quiet. Be like the forces of nature: when it blows, there is only wind; when it rains, there is only rain; when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
If you open yourself to the Tao, you are at one with the Tao and you can embody it completely. If you open yourself to insight, you are at one with insight and you can use it completely.
If you open yourself to loss, you are at one with loss and you can accept it completely.
Open yourself to the Tao, then trust your natural responses; and everything will fall into place.