About the book project

This book project, “The Present Moment,” represents a marriage of two aspects of my life that I had failed to see as intertwined until recently. First, I have been involved in various ways in the business and legal world for many years. I began my professional life working for elite corporate law firms, worked as a financial consultant to a major foundation, served on the boards of local non-profits and global for-profit companies, served as an ethics expert in the Enron civil litigation and for the SEC, and count as friends some of the most successful business people in the country. I am also a University professor with a specialty in professional ethics.

Throughout these years I have also had an unsteady- until recently- but persistent interest in the spiritual life and Eastern thought. This sporadic interest became a more focused one perhaps five or six years ago. I was living through a difficult time and a friend suggested that I read the classic text of Eastern thought, the Tao te Ching. I bought a small paperback copy and kept it in my briefcase. I started reading, and rereading it, often. When stuck in airport terminals, amidst all the hustle and anxiety that swirls through such places, I would often take out the Tao and read, sometimes memorizing one of the short passages. The rest of the world would for a time slip away and I would be at peace.

These two worlds, the business/legal and the Zen/spiritual, seemed dissonant at first. Superficially, the contentious negotiating session in the law firm conference room seemed the antithesis of the Zen monk’s solitary meditation. One seemed a world of action while the other a world of repose. But in recent years I have come to see that this is all a mistake. The essential qualities needed for successful passage in the often frenzied and ceaselessly competitive professional world are precisely the qualities needed for those seeking the enlightenment of the Way.

I will not make false promises to you that embracing the ideas of this book will necessarily make you rich or lead to the CEO’s office. I do believe that living presently in the way I describe in this book strengthens you for the struggles of the material world, yes. I do believe that this way of living demands qualities and attitudes that can help you achieve your material ambitions. I do believe that this way of being gives you power, in the only true sense of that word. But perhaps more importantly, I know- not just believe- that if you struggle to live each moment in this way, you will possess a sense of peace and strength that no amount of material success can provide.

Thomas Ross
April 2012

§ 23 Responses to About the book project

  • julienmatei says:

    Thomas, where do you hide these days? 😀

    • Thomas Ross says:

      Julien,

      Thanks for asking.

      Right now, I’m finishing two weeks+ of snowboarding in the Colorado mountains. So all is good.

      Will probably return to the blog- both reading others- yours certainly- and writing mine.

      We will see.

      In any event, it’s nice to have my absence noted. So thanks.

      Tom

  • janstring says:

    Hi Thomas, Thank you for following my blog. 🙂

  • Interesting how you were able to bring together these two different aspects of your life. Regardless of what happens with this book project, it sounds like you are really benefitting from this self reflection and meditation. Best of luck moving forward

  • Thanks for following my blog Thomas, duly reciprocated. I look forward to reading your thoughts. Wishing you a great week 🙂 Blessings

  • I look forward to reading your book when it comes out. It looks like we have a lot of common with initially seeking fulfillment through academics and the legal profession, and then eventually turning inward for true happiness.

  • Mark Blasini says:

    Best of luck on this project! It’s an interesting mix – but there is a Zen to everything, I suppose. Keep up the great work!

  • Sounds amazing. How is it coming along?

    • Thomas Ross says:

      Sheri,

      For the past nine months I’ve been swept up in the blog writing and in the community of writers and readers here. Never imagined how fulfilling it would be and how much support I’d receive.

      I’m now on the threshold of a six month full-time writing phase. Will return to the book project, although it will take a somewhat different form, reflecting a broader and more spiritual tone, I imagine.

      Thanks for asking.

      Blessings.

      Tom

  • Thomas

    thank you for the compliments you bestow by your ‘follow’ and reading my work.

    You are right about the connection. It is always there, sometimes just more difficult to discover than at other times. We often feel our journey is different, but in many ways it is just the same.

    If you have not come across it already, to you and others with an interest in Zen I recommend:

    The Religion of the Samurai A Study of Zen Philosophy and Discipline in China and Japan – currently free in Kindle edition.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Religion-Samurai-Philosophy-Discipline-ebook/dp/B008471LEA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347134301&sr=8-1

    I’ll be around but not always visible, though you may hear me whistling.

    regards

  • Nikolai Ray says:

    Thomas, I look forward to reading your book, I feel that you will have an interesting story to share with us!

    Please keep in touch, you may follow my blog, I post quite consistently and share as much of my life experiences hopefully catalysing others to discover the paths that lie in front of them showing them that their horizons are far wider than they initially thought!

    We are here, now! Now is always and it is always now, indivisable and universal…

    I would love to hear your comments every once and a while, I myself fall out of the now every once and a while 😉

    • Thomas Ross says:

      Nikolai, I am happily following your thoughtful blog.

      We each fall out of the here and now but each moment gives us a fresh start.

      • Nikolai Ray says:

        Thank you so much. Indeed, the wonderful thing of life is that no matter how many times we fall out of the here and now, we may always get back up and rekindle ourselves with presenceness

  • MindMindful says:

    I think there are relatively few (considering how many there ARE) who see that the ‘repose’ of meditation is useful in all the world’s situations too. It took me a long, long time to realize that it isn’t a case of do one or the other ………. doing either one — internal watching or engaging with the world — can become the other, both, all, one……….. you know:)

  • Thomas…thank you for your comment on my blog http://www.servingothersblog.com I love what you are doing here–all these posts are speaking to me in some way. I left the corporate world recently and with that I came face to face with many buried and repressed issues. I am leaving my old way of being and know I can never go back. But I have not yet discovered what the new version will be. I’m in that in between state, which is very, very hard and unfamiliar. I (simply) am trying to find some level of peace and meaning. I appreciate your insight.

    • Thomas Ross says:

      These two worlds do seem at first so dissonant. But, like you, I now understand that the lessons of Zen and the Tao connect to all places and walks- including the corporate “Type A” culture.

      Peace.

  • Hi Thomas, this sounds like a good journey you are on. How are you doing on your book? Do you know when it will be finished? Are you still in the business/legal world?
    I’ve seriously been enjoying your writing. And it’s interesting to see a person who has been through the hectic world of business turning to this kind of life–seemingly intentionally. All the very best.

    • Thomas Ross says:

      Bethany, thanks so much for the kind and thoughtful message. Yes, I continue my work in the business and legal worlds- board meetings in LA last week etc.

      The book is nearly done. But I want to continue to work on the blog as well.

      You are both a thoughtful reader and a great writer yourself. I’m so glad that we connected.

      Thanks.

      Tom

  • acmeart says:

    Will it make you rich as a person, rather than wealthy? Nowadays too many people only think about monetary wealth, and those that achieve it can’t move on to something else… I like the blog, I’ll be back.

  • clpollock says:

    Thanks for reading my blog. I read your three most recent ones and found them very thought provoking. Sounds like we are similar paths, trying to live more mindfully. I am married to an attorney and we have many lawyer friends so I know where you are coming from. Good luck with the blog: I look forward to reading future posts!

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