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Supercharged Taoist: An Amazing True Story to Inspire You on Your Own Adventure

by The Barefoot Doctor

The following excerpt is taken from the book SUPERCHARGED TAOIST: An Amazing True Story to Inspire You on Your Own Adventure by The Barefoot Doctor. It is published by Hay House (January 2010) and is available at all bookstores or online at: www.hayhouse.com . 


I’m a supercharged Taoist.

And that’s a crazy way to start a book.

I do so because no doubt I’m partly crazy but also to grab your attention. I have a story to tell, and I believe it could be inspiring for you. I tend to suffer from compulsive liberationist tendencies—in other words, I’m a natural-born liberator—so I hope reading this book serves to set you free of anything holding you back from transforming your own life into the most magnificent adventure imaginable.

Telling you this story now is especially poignant for me.

Although I was born in London, England, in 1954, I always felt geographically and existentially displaced. From my earliest memories, I could never understand why I hadn’t been born in America. I grew up on a diet of The Lone Ranger and 77 Sunset Strip, and pretty much any movie Hollywood sent over the Atlantic. I developed an early penchant for cheeseburgers and fries, and cried my young heart out the day JFK was assassinated.

In my teens, the initial burst of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin filled my ears. But when all that simmered down, I got hooked on American country and country-rock music: Guy Clark; Jerry Jeff Walker; Michael Murphy (with whom I became friends); Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; and even the Dillards, whose album Tribute to the American Duck with its single “What’s Time to a Hog?” still reminds me not to take life and the passage of time too seriously.

In my late teens, I headed over to New York and then to L.A., fell in love in Mill Valley, California, and ran back to London. But every day I yearned to return to the United States. The trip had only made my feeling of displacement more intense.

After I felt I’d learned all I could in London, I went back to America. This time it was to the Southwest, following a powerful inner pull to live with the Native Americans. I’d always identified more with Tonto than the Lone Ranger, and I found myself living in New Mexico for four years. There I underwent a radical personal transformation from an English city boy to an honorary New Mexican mountain man.

When Spirit finally bade me to move back to London to share the fruits of my experience in the American Southwest, I followed that directive with a sense of supreme grief. I cried for three days and nights as if leaving the love of my life.

My friend and spiritual brother, Sonny Spruce, assured me that my journey was only so I could “collect something useful and then bring it back here.” What I collected took me 25 years and turned out to be a facility for explaining ancient spiritual arts in a way in which people could relate to them.

Supercharged Taoist’s publication in the U.S. represents my spiritual homecoming. It’s my way of letting you know who I am in the hopes that you’ll welcome me into your bosom, metaphorically speaking, and let me share my gifts with you. This is the start of my humble contribution to what is still, and will continue to be, the greatest country on Earth.

So thank you for reading this. This is where it all begins.


I say I’m a supercharged Taoist because for more than 35 years I’ve been training in Taoist martial arts, chi gung, and meditation. Just as it promised in the instruction leaflets, these practices have generated an accumulation of supercharged energy that courses through me and everything I do. This makes my life exciting, endlessly varied, and full of adventure. Using the ancient Taoist wu-wei manifesting methods—focusing on being, not doing, and intending things into existence rather than trying to force them—I’m able to create reality as I wish it to be almost instantaneously. I say this humbly. Also, by letting the Taoist philosophy underscore everything I think, do, and say, I’ve learned to be flexible in my thinking. Flexibility lets me enjoy all aspects of the ride to the fullest, whether in an up phase or a down one. I feel blessed by all this and want to share my good fortune with you. I want you, in your own style, to be blessed in the same way.

I’ve always had a desire to share the wonder of the Tao with others. That’s been my motivation for as long as I can remember. I have an enthusiasm for it, a childlike exuberance that carries me through life in a way that uplifts and cheers me. I’ve found that over the years my exuberance has helped others feel exuberant, too. That is how I want this book to leave you feeling, and I want all of America and the whole world beyond to feel exuberant, too.

In order to paint a clear picture of what I do, I’m never really sure where to start, so I’ll start here for now and see how it goes: I’m a writer (which is how the two of us got into this pickle in the first place). I’m a communicator. I’m a healer. I’m a public speaker. I’m a martial arts and meditation teacher. I’m a coach. I’m a workshop leader. I’m a philosopher. I’m a broadcaster. I’m a music producer. I’m a DJ. I’m a Website content provider. I make TV programs. I’m even a perfumer.

Physically speaking, though, I spend a lot of time interacting with circuitry and chips, tapping my fingertips onto small squares of sprung plastic on a keyboard—up and down and a bit to the side for hours and hours almost every day. When not doing that, I’m sometimes pressing smaller plastic squares and talking into other bits of plastic. When not doing that, I’m rhythmically pressing, plucking, or strumming steel strings; tickling the ivories; or slapping drum skins. When not doing that, I stretch and flex my vocal chords to make sound come out of my mouth into microphones on stands. Amid this tapping, plucking, tickling, and all, I move my person and various bits of clothing through time and space and keep myself clean, fresh, and nourished; and can regularly be found waving my arms in the air slowly or fast. Often when I’m doing much of this, I’m walking or sitting—sometimes with my eyes closed—on floors or in chairs of various descriptions, and in a multitude of diverse settings: in the air, on the ocean waves, but mostly on dry land. And generally there are lots of other people involved in what I’m doing, directly or indirectly.

Existentially speaking, I’m constantly exploring new, creative, and innovative ways of transmitting not just the message of the Tao, but the love that informs it, to as many people as possible. And while I’m doing it, I have as much fun with as much human warmth and color included with as many people as I can.

My desire is to encourage the whole world to relax a few degrees more. I believe this simple alteration is all that’s required to enable us to communicate more freely, honestly, and intelligently with each other; and in that communication find the way to live in peace and plenty on this glorious planet of ours for many generations to come.

It seems clear enough to me that when we humans (all the way from grass roots to leadership level) are more relaxed, we tend to rise less quickly to anger and are more willing to talk sense with one another. We’re more likely to negotiate from a place of fairness rather than one of greed, and to honor each other’s differences rather than use them as cause for suspicion. It seems blatantly clear to me that the more we relax, the more lubricated the wheels of our global society will be, and so peace and plenty will be facilitated by and for all of us.

As we all can see, the need for this is becoming increasingly more urgent in the face of the unprecedented, multileveled survival crisis we now face. This desire for global relaxation causes me to travel all over the planet on a fairly consistent basis: writing, filming, recording music, giving talks, holding workshops, arranging musical events, working on creative collaborations, meeting with business people, and working on all other means of getting the love—and its supercharged energy—out there.

I’m blessed to have the practical tools to help make all this a reality for people. The Taoist system I practice is possibly the most comprehensive and practical method of relaxation, energy production, and mental-sharpening skills in the world today. I’ve spent most of my life living, breathing, eating, and sleeping it; practicing every day and teaching others how to do so, too. And it works.

But I wouldn’t want to force the Tao down anyone’s throat. I appreciate that it’s not for everyone, this way of the Taoist “warrior.” It appeals to the maverick, the rebel, the individualist, the person who isn’t willing to succumb to all the pretensions, lies, and obfuscation of the everyday world. It’s for those who seek the truth in all situations and want to feel authentic, relaxed, loving, and beautiful in the midst of it all—connected to the spiritual source, yet fully engaged in the world, with its muck and mess, as much as with its miracles.

I grew up with a natural mystical tendency. I learned aikido at 11, became a hippie at 13, was drawn to Eastern-flavored philosophy, and got into yoga and tai chi in my late teens. In my early 20s I studied what I can only inadequately describe as life wisdom and consciousness with British psychiatrist R. D. Laing. When I lived in New Mexico in my mid- to late 20s, I studied acupuncture, Chinese medicine, Taoism, and shamanism; and taught tai chi. In 1983, I started a healing practice in London, taught workshops, and participated in experimental music events. I was, as far as I know, the first person in the U.K. (at a gig in London in 1985) and possibly the USA (at a gig in Greenwich Village the same year) to ever get large groups, sometimes with thousands of people, drumming together. It started off that whole tribal-drumming-for-enlightenment thing they use in corporate-bonding sessions now. I taught tai chi and baby massage and kept the healing practice going up until 2000. After that, I got full-time into promoting the message through the media, making music, writing books, creating body products, and coming up with all sorts of other offerings to spread the love.

In 1989, I started calling myself The Barefoot Doctor and inadvertently became a brand and someone with a profile as well, doing my level best to remain a regular person—or perhaps I should say an irregular one. Because although I have met real characters in my time and have hung out with mavericks of the highest order, eccentrics of the nuttiest variety, artists of the greatest originality, and masters (and mistresses) of the most supreme wisdom and enlightenment, I’ve rarely met anyone with a life as varied, bizarre, unlikely—and as far as I’m concerned—as fulfilling and fun as my own.

And none of it would have happened or be happening now had I not been blessed to encounter such an unusual array of teachers.

Rather than being a self-centered biography, this book is an account of my interaction with those startling teachers, and how they taught me to be the master of my own life. It’s my sincere hope that my accounts of them serve to inspire you equally on your own path.

*** ***

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