An Epistemological Checklist for the Universal Traveler

1. Always err on the side of compassion.

2. The only meaning to life is what we give it, and even that is an illusion.

3. Conflict is inevitable but winning is impossible.

4. Everything, from rocks to stars, speaks. Unless you listen, you will never know what is important.

5. Absence is as important as presence. The most beautiful symphony is only noise without the silence between the notes.

6. The universe is cyclical. Some cycles are so short that we cannot discern them; others so long that we cannot comprehend them.

7. Engage in relentless introspection. Offer yourself praise and criticism according to your needs.

8. Spend a few minutes at the end of each day reviewing your words and actions. Ask yourself if you spoke out of a place of love and acted harmoniously with the times.

9. Give consideration to all to which you attach yourself, whether it is people, places or processes.

10. When in doubt, do nothing. The correct path will become clear if you sit and watch.

11. Value irrationality and rationality equally. The latter gives us bridges, roads and computers to help get us to where we are going. The former gives us a reason to go.

12. From time to time, take off your shoes and walk directly on the earth. Sit motionless for an hour and watch a tree. Nature unimpeded by mind speaks the most profound wisdom.

13. Also from time to time, give your moral compass a good shake. Dirt tends to accumulate there, and it will point you in a false direction.

14. Spend a moment at each meal being thankful for your food and the plants and animals whence it came.

15. Treat each moment with reverence. Or irreverence. It depends.

16. We each stand at the center of an infinite universe.

17. What will happen to me when I die? I dunno. Does it matter? No. Look for me in a dog’s happy dance, the flicker of a trout in the stream, the bend of a tree’s branches in the wind.

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