A Glimpse of Stephen’s New Book

He calls it The Second Book of the Tao. The book is now available online and in bookstores everywhere.

Here Stephen reads an excerpt from the book:

Chapter 8

How do I know that loving life
isn’t simply a delusion?
How do I know
that when we’re afraid of death
we aren’t like someone
who left home as a young child
and has forgotten the way back?
How do I know that the dead
aren’t so happy that they wonder
why they once clung to life?

You may dream that you’re at a banquet
and wake up to find yourself miserable.
You may dream that you’re sobbing your heart out
and wake up to find yourself at ease.
How, in the middle of a dream,
can you know that you’re actually dreaming?
In the middle of a dream, you may even
try to interpret the dream;
only after you wake up
do you realize that you were dreaming.

Someday there will be
a great awakening, when we know
that all this was one big dream.

And when I say that we’re dreaming,
of course I am dreaming too.


How do I know? Well, I don’t. So that settles that.

But loving life isn’t a problem. Preferring life to death: that’s what causes the confusion.

It could be (if there were such a thing as departing) that death is the return to a presence the wandering mind has long forgotten. It could be (if there were such a thing as separate beings) that the dead look upon our attachment to life like fond grandparents watching a teenager’s first tumultuous love affair. It could be, in fact, that the dead are nothing but their own delight, there (if there were such a thing as space) where they know even as they are known.

We are close to waking up when we dream that we are dreaming. All the imagined ups and downs, the hubbub and reversals of fortune, are what most people call life. But before and after, at the point where the end meets its beginning, there is only what has woken up from the cycle of waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep.

As for a “great awakening”: dream on. When do you think that that someday will come, after all? Isn’t it enough just to open your eyes, feel the pillow beneath your head, and see the hands of the alarm clock pointing to this very moment (as if there were such a thing as time)?

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  1. Both of you are blessing. . .Thanks!. . .I really look forward to reading the new book. . .

    Concerning dreams, last year i had a dream where i observed both the right and left brain and as they where participating in the dream in their own unique ways. Right the female was completely into the dream, and left the male was like a little hidden Jung. At one point they became aware of one another and then both slowly turned and gazed at the back of the brain where i was watching with the watcher. I woke up, and since that dream there has been no suffering. Nowadays i still dream but the identification is with the watcher, but there is another watcher,and i move there and watch the watcher watching the dreamers there is always a greater awareness behind the watchers. Byron your comment was like a breath of fresh air and validation. Thank you. I did chance upon a Dr. Suez that captures a bit of what is hard to place into words. Am i nuts or is there only a greater awareness? think we are just awareness. Life is good. Love to both of you.

    Ordinary sparrow

    How Lucky You Are: Dr. Seus

    Oh, the jobs people work at! Out west, near Hawtch-Hawtch,
    there’s a Hawtch-Hawtcher Bee-Watcher. His job is to watch…
    is to keep both eyes on the lazy town bee.
    A bee that is watched will work harder, you see.


    He watched and he watched. But in spite of his watch,
    that bee didn’t work any harder. Not mawtch.
    So then somebody said, “Our old bee-watching man
    just isn’t bee-watching as hard as he can.
    He ought to be watched by another Hawtch-Hawtcher!
    The thing that we need is a Bee-Watch-Watcher!”


    The Bee-Watch-Watcher watched the Bee-Watcher.
    He didn’t watch well. So another Hawtch-Hawtcher
    had to come in as a Watch-Watcher-Watcher!
    And today all the Hawtchers who live in Hawtch-Hawtch
    are watching on Watch-Watcher-Watchering-Watch,
    Watch-Watching the Watcher who’s watching that bee.
    You’re not a Hawtch-Watcher. You’re lucky, you see.

  2. “Preferring life to death: that’s what causes the confusion.” What if you don’t (prefer life to death that is) – is it OK to want to end it? Still a confusion of sorts. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with life, but then you wake up one morning and a thought thinks you: ‘what’s the point of everything? Why don’t I just get out of it all?’ Confused: why this thought? To live or not to live? etc.

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