Lessons Learnt: Tao te-Ching
Like Dhammapada, Tao te-Ching is a treasury of spiritual teachings. Recently, as I re-read it. As I basked in the richness of its glorious path, I thought of sharing its life lessons with you.
Tao te-Ching inspires us to access our sacred center within and listen to its guidance during the good times and the bad. The inner guide is no one but our original self, what we are capable of becoming-our potentiality, and what we were before we started to put on masks to interact with various people in our lives.
When our gaze is turned within we see the world with a new light. Rather than trying to understand others, we make earnest attempts to understand ourselves. Time comes when we replace the power we think we have over others with the inherent power we have within.
Flow of Life
Our life circumstances change continuously. Nothing remains the same. Some days we face problems and some other days are calm. When we are in the middle of a chaotic problem, we must remember that a solution is on its way, it always is. If the situation is beyond control, don’t try to control it. Keep the ventilators of the mind open. The situation will settle down by itself.
Our Spiritual Origin
Our origin is not merely physical but also spiritual. We know our biological beginning but do we know our spiritual origin? Our spiritual beginning is elusive and mysterious but if we make honest attempts we can feel it. We feel it in solitude, in silence, in nature: watching the sun set or moon rise, listening to trees dance and birds sing or in music, by looking at art, and taking deep breaths and going within each day. Such habits sharpen our senses including our thinking ability. We are not covetous or envious and our days are less chaotic.
This is not an unachievable task. Small steps taken with confidence can result in a great accomplishment. Just don’t push too hard.
Meddling and Interfering
If you tend to control other people’s lives you cannot empower yourself. Interfering with peoples’ lives drains away vitality. It is better to do nothing than meddle, control or interfere in anyone’s life.
If someone’s behavior is frustrating you, retreat into silence and observe yourself. Instead of fretting over why some people upset you explore why you get upset. Remain in touch with your sensations and distressful emotions. This attitude will transform you and make the person who distresses you powerless.
Our Strengths and Weaknesses
Our strengths are obverse of our weaknesses. Our limitations and abilities make us who we are. When we pay attention to (do not boast about and are grateful for) our natural strengths, we cultivate our individuality. The self-dependence starts by knowing our strengths as well as weaknesses.
If you want to know who you really are make stillness the daily part of your life. Let go of selfish thoughts, hurried actions and unkind speech. When you are agitated emulate the quality of water. Sit still. The things upsetting you will settle down. When your mind settles the things around you also settle. Inner calm reflects outer serenity. Those whose minds are settled like deep and silent pools, no longer want to possess people or things, no longer cling to people or things, (more one clings more needy one becomes), no longer think that their way is the right way of doing things, no longer seek approval, defend or criticize.
Those whose minds are at peace feel linked to the inner space, their inner guide. They become sensitive to the elusive mystery that surrounds all and is within all.
Wise people are calm within and calm without. They are guided not by their ego but by their inner guide. They trust the power within and respect its worth. With their minds clear they listen to all that has been said. If they hear ideas in opposition to their own they do not feel conflicted. They are neither self-assertive nor competitive. They are neither after power nor position or possessions. They act without strain, persuade without argument and achieve results without pressure. People are magnetized to them. They are eloquent and adaptable. Because they bend low during hurricanes, they survive to sway in the spring breeze.
Silence and Emptiness
Wise pay attention to what is not–to the empty space within the walls, to the space in a vessel, to the pauses in a speech–they pay attention to the elusive spiritual space within, not just the physical body.
The meaning of your life depends on this elusive space. This space is the core of your being-a link to your spiritual origin. In this link lays the self-awareness that wants you to have convictions and principles, and to be aware of intelligent instincts, intuitions and creative outpourings.
People who know their inner-selves are neither arrogant nor lofty. They are grateful for what they have yet they know they can’t take it with them.
Pay attention when an inner feeling, thought or a dream links you with an actual event, when an inner event coincides with an outer one. Such coincidences will help you grow spiritually. It will make you realize what is inside of you and what is outside of you is inseparable.
By always staying in touch within puts you on an inner path of spiritual growth. Pause and listen to your inner self. Listening to the inner guide and thinking rationally are excellent skills for making common decisions. What ultimately gives meaning to life is when rational mind and guide within work in unison.
This is a wonderful summary, Madhu. Thanks for sharing it.