What is Taoism?

By: Sandra Prior

More a philosophy than a religion, Taoism is concerned with finding a balance between the way we live our lives and the demands life places on us. Translated literally as 'The Way', following the Tao means practicing a form of 'minimal' action called the 'wu wei'. This is described in Taoism as the practice of going against the stream not by struggling against it and thrashing about, but by standing still and letting the stream do all the work. Thus the sage knows that relative to the river, he still moves against the current.

To the outside world the sage appears to take no action, but in fact he takes action long before others ever foresee the need for action. In other words, Taoism is a form of passive resistance, of making sure you are prepared for every eventuality and going with the flow as things happen.

The Tao of Browsing

Use your Online Time Effectively

That may mean taking ten minutes to make a note of what you intend to do when you get online, but that time will be tripled in terms of results.

Check your Mail less Often

Your workflow and focus on the task in hand will be interrupted by constantly checking for new mail. Get into a pattern where the first thing you do online is check your mail. Decide which can be binned and which need attention. Get offline and compose your replies, then send them off next time you reconnect. Now forget it - with one small change in your routine you've significantly reduced the amount of clutter in your life.

Follow the Footsteps of the Masters

Using search engines is recommended for finding more obscure material, but your first stop should always be hierarchical index. Why? Because someone else has already done the hard work for you. Concentrate on browsing, rather than searching.

Not everything needs to be Done Straight Away

Prioritize activities for the appropriate time. Search for material when your energy levels and concentration are at their peak level (usually when your online session starts). Bookmark the interesting stuff in a folder - then take a break. When you return, you can start browsing through your booty, feeling refreshed.

Use Waiting Time Effectively

We all know the Net is slower than we all want it to be - so turn it into an advantage. Save up tasks that will tie up your connection, like long FTP sessions, for a time of the day when the Net is going to be faster and phone charges cheaper. Set your client to retrieve the file, then go and do something else away from your computer. Trying to browse while you are downloading will increase the time it takes to transfer to your hard drive, while staring at the status bar is simply a waste of your energy.

Resist Materialism

Banner advertising slows down your connection and tempts you to divert from your path. Remove them by running a program that prevents banner displays.

Bigger is not Necessarily Better

Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox are the most popular browsers but they are also bloated and buggy. Taoism preaches that the path to enlightenment begins within the self, and free will is an important component in this. Try a smaller, speedier browser like Opera, or another. Your computer will love you for it.

Know Yourself

By now you've probably established a predictable pattern in your online life. Use this to your advantage and organize your bookmarks or favorites by adding folders that categorize your interests, file bookmarks you use frequently and delete those you don't.

Opt Out

Most of the spam in your mailbox is self inflicted. Remove yourself from mailing lists that have little of interest to say and remove newsgroups that are flooded with nonsense. If you must keep up with developments afterwards, check the list's archive on the Web and search through Usenet. Make sure you use a program to automatically remove junk mail. But don't make the mistake of removing yourself from our online newsletter; otherwise you'll never achieve Net Nirvana.

Switch Off your Computer

If you're tired, turn it off. If you're bored, don't bother turning it on in the first place. Go for a walk, get out with your mates, or read a book. Channel your energies into positive activity - that way, when you want to go online, you'll enjoy it.

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