A Review 
of the Pulitzer Prize nominated book
"Tao of the Surfing, Finding Depth in Low Tide"

By: Michael A. Allen the Author



Tao of Surfing is a way of healing, a way to understand the meaning of our existence. It explores our interaction with nature, and what happens when we become disassociated from it. It explores the nature of reality, the nature of life, and the nature of death. Finding depth at low tide allows us to uncover meaning from the most difficult times. Whether it is pleasant or painful, every event is significant towards enhancing our continuous growth. Pulling forth meaning and reshaping our lives from these experiences nurtures our existence. Tao of Surfing will take you on a journey to wind swept beaches along the California coast and for a brief, but symbolic period, into the deserts of New Mexico. But ultimately, the journey will be into the self, exploring your inner being and the recesses of your most profound memories. Issues that have not been resolved, you will suddenly once again face. But this time, you will face them with a new understanding that will help you to finally resolve these issues once and for all. You will realize that it is time to go forward, to reflect on the past, and finally let go. Like so many things in life, we must learn to let go. Never forget the moments that brought us to where we are today, but break free from those things that bind us further from the truth.

Tao of Surfing emphasizes "nakedness" exposing that which is so often covered up.

"Truth lies below the surface, beneath the rhetoric. Waves are formed by the contour of the land that lies below the surface, rarely seen, rarely touched. Without inhibition, innocence is revealed. Paddling over the ocean toward the sun as it appeared behind the forest covered hills, I looked back toward the beach only to see a woman slowly entering the cool and seemingly motionless early morning waters of the bay. The tide low, the reef was exposed as was she in all her beautiful nakedness. In an instant, like a sudden flash of insight, I perceived the beauty inbeing naked. Therein lay spontaneity and fearlessness that revealed underlying truth. The power of the moment lay bound in the fearlessness to present what is most often hidden, an ability to go beyond the rigidity of structured norms that only bind us farther from deeper meaning. This total exposure also allows us to return to the natural state. No barriers, no walls to inhibit the pure interaction with nature itself. Nakedness stands as a metaphor and symbol of the raw material that gave rise to our sensitive nature. I realized too that it was this sensitivity from being vulnerable that brought forth a pure understanding and awareness necessary to go beyond societal walls."

Tao, pronounced "Dao," is a term originating in the Chinese Language usually associated with the philosopher Lao-tzu. The word itself, however, is undefinable. To attach a name to it, to attach a label to it is to notice the
name and not the entity. As the famous Zen saying goes, "One may point his finger toward the moon, but once the moon is recognized, the finger is no longer needed." It is as Being was to Hegel, true undefinable existence which
ultimately must remain nameless if it is to retain its own pure essence. But for purposes of communication, we ultimately do name it.

Taoism also emphasizes simplicity, avoiding complication. Simplicity itself in its pure form is the natural state. To return to the "natural state" is to return to the uncarved block, the uninhibited Self that is free from worry and
fear, walking through life without rigidity, with minimal needs and concerns. Hence the discourse on nakedness as a metaphor symbolizing the stripping away of external baggage that eliminates our ability to truly "interact" with our


Michael Allen holds a Master's degree in philosophy as well as a certificate in Asian Studies from the California State University at Long Beach. While serving as President of the Student Philosophy Association, he chaired the session, "Medical Ethics," for a seminar on Applied Ethics. He has presented numerous papers on Chinese Philosophy. In 1989 he lectured on Taoism at the International Society for Chinese philosophy at the University of Hawaii.

His interest in Chinese Philosophy led him to travel extensively through the People's Republic of China while attending the International Society for the Philosophy of Science. Upon his return from China, he published his Master's thesis on East-West comparative philosophy. He then packed up and headed for the central coast of California, where he was able to teach philosophy and begin intense work on Tao of Surfing. Still feeling the need to be back "on the road," Michael decided it was time to see America. Spontaneity winning over his rigorous schedule, he took Amtrak across the country, finally returning to finish writing the book.

He continues his studies in the Chinese language and is avidly working on completing the screenplay for Tao of Surfing. Michael Allen has been surfing for over 25 years. He and his wife live along the central coast of California.

Tao of Surfing is available through Amazon.com and your local book store. web site: http://home.pacbell.net/taosurf