Tao Inspiration – The Path to Serenity

grayscale photography of man holding phone

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Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

~ Mitchell, Stephen. Tao Te Ching (Perennial Classics) . Harper Perennial. Kindle Edition.

“Do your work, then step back”. So simple, yet not easy to do when we are caught up in demanding jobs and the chaotic busyness of our techno driven lives.

We all need time to pause, reflect and replenish.Only then will we find true balance and the serenity in life.

Namaste

Tao Inspiration – Be as nature

agricultural agriculture cars clouds

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“Think of the dirt beneath your feet and the skies above.
Do they give any thought to death? Of course not.
What one does not have cannot be taken away.
Therefore the sage pays no mind to status or rank,
and so is always in the perfect position;
Is not drawn off by any one thing, and so remains amongst them all.
True self-fulfillment arises in the absence of the ego.”*

~ Lao Tzu

Words to inspire us on our journey.

Be as nature. Without attachment or fear. Pay no attention to status and find fulfillment in simply being a part of it all.

… and don’t listen to your ego, who will tell you otherwise!

Namaste

 

*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David. Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 168-176). Kindle Edition.

Inspiration – the Source

I came across this translation of the Tao Te Ching by Stephen Mitchell, and am really enjoying the fresh language and approach to the wisdom of Lao Tzu. A part of me also wonders, could it be that I have changed over time, and it is more than fresh words that open up new insight….

Let me know which version resonates with you today.

Tao Source

 

“Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don’t realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.

Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.”

~ Lao Tzu*

* Mitchell, Stephen. Tao Te Ching (Perennial Classics) (Kindle Locations 373-383). Harper Perennial.

Here is a translation of the same verse 16 by John Braun Jr..

“Seek the reality of emptiness and stillness,
The great constants of existence.
Though life abounds, its creations rise and fall.

Eventually all return, in their own way, to Tao.
To return to Tao is to embrace stillness,
The relentless way of nature.
The flow of nature does not change.
To see its constancy is to know the intricacies of the ordinary,
Revealing patterns of the grand.

To ignore this constant is to mistake the eternal for the mundane, Bringing unharmonious selfish action and discord,
Pathologies to humanity.
Accepting the constant means opening the mind.
This leads to compassion and impartiality,
A respect for all that Tao provides and takes away,
And an understanding that all return to the ultimate reality of Tao.
Life is fleeting, Tao is constant:
An eternal emptiness, full to bursting.”

~ Lao Tzu*

*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David. Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 269-284). . Kindle Edition.

Inspiration – Knowing

This repost just about sums it up for me today. Its one of my favorite passages from the Tao Te Ching.

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“Knowing the world is intelligent.
Knowing yourself is enlightenment.

Bending the world to your will takes force.
Willing yourself to bend is true strength.

Succeeding in the world yields riches.
Being content with what is yields wealth.

Apply Tao to the physical world and you will have a long life.
See past the physical world to the enduring presence of Tao and death will lose its meaning.”*

 

New to Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching? Read more about it here and here.

* Translation by Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David (2012-12-02). Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 492-499). . Kindle Edition.

Tao Wisdom – Water

Tao wisdom on water

Source: © Boris Djuranovic ID 1337543 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Water teaches the wisdom of Tao:
It takes no pride in sustaining life.

Live near the flow.
Let the mysteries of life wash over you.
Be transparent.

Give part of yourself to everyone,
And remember every part is whole.
Allow natural order to lead the way
And do what must be done.

Do not fight the current,
And your head will remain above water.*

~ Lao Tzu

The wisdom of this passage from the Tao Te Ching touched me today. Water is a powerful  metaphor for living life in harmony.

Pause and dive into the many layers of this wisdom 🌊

 

*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David. Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 177-186). . Kindle Edition.

Spinning Compass

“Allow things to flow naturally,
And evil will have no power.
That is not to say that evil loses its power…
Better, perhaps, to say that evil itself is lost.
Without a “good” to point away from,
Evil’s compass spins aimlessly.
And so, the sage leaves things to be what they are,
Leaving evil unharmed,
And in turn being unharmed by evil.
The spinning compass
Becomes a cycle of natural virtue”.*

~ Lao Tzu

Could it be so that our resistance to what we perceive as “evil” is what is feeding the distressing spinning compass we find ourselves living?

What would it take to leave evil unharmed and let it lose its power…

May the spinning compass becomes a cycle of natural virtue instead.

 

*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David. Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 812-821). . Kindle Edition.

Potter and Space

The potter knows she plays with clay but works with space,
For the use of the bowl is its empty space.
It is the same with the room,
Made whole by the emptiness between the walls.
Remember that something is not everything.
Nothing is also essential.*

~ Lao Tzu

Without space there would be no substance. Substance is not everything, although our mind likes to think it so.

I remember a time when I was painting watercolors, and learning about negative space. This is the space or background that the subject is set against.  Imagine choosing a tree to paint, and rather than painting in the tree, you paint the space around it.

watercolor trees

Source: Pinterest

Space must be considered in order to allow the subject to shine forth from the paper. Its brings harmony to the piece.

When we consider that nothing is essential, it turns inside out how we see things. I know it also reminds me how limited our thinking mind can be.

Nothing is essential.

 

 

*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David. Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 211-215). . Kindle Edition.

Tao Inspiration – a way of holding things

Express yourself completely, then keep quiet. Strong winds do not last all morning, And the heavy rains do not last all day. What causes them? Heaven and Earth. If Heaven and Earth cannot make things last forever, How can we? Lao Tzu, Tao te Ching Filed under: Be fully present Tagged: balance, Be fully present, impermanence,…

via A way of holding things — Mindfulbalance

Tao Inspiration – True Wisdom

book of knowledge

True wisdom is a loss of misconceptions rather than an accumulation of knowledge.
Do not hoard facts and call yourself wise.

Sages realize they have always had enough,
And so do not seek more for themselves.  *

~ Lao Tzu

These words made me pause today. Gathering more and more knowledge doesn’t make us wise.

Wisdom comes from within us, and through our experience of life.

If you are always seeking more knowledge, then you may be missing out.

… You are enough.

Tao symbol

*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David (2012-12-02). Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 1067-1071). . Kindle Edition.

Tao Inspiration – for the times we live In

river rocks

River Rocks by Silvia Hart

Water is unquestionably soft and yielding,

Yet it can carve massive canyons

And sweep away entire cities with ease.

This is because it does not rise up in solid fragility like the structures of humanity,

But flows in low places, fluid and flexible like humanity itself.

There is great strength in what seems weak,

Great instability in what seems strong.

The creation of grand structures implies their inevitable destruction.

Humble, flexible, transitory existence implies true continuity.*

~ Lao Tzu

I find these words somewhat reassuring for the times that we live in. Continuity comes from flexibility and the ability to be fluid to meet what comes along.

There is great strength is what seems weak. Let us go with the flow, and be like water.

 

*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David (2012-12-02). Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 1028-1036). . Kindle Edition.

* Tao Inspiration – Push and Pull

 

push and pull

Photo from Pinterest

“The way of the universe is a symbiotic flow.
As one part pulls, another part pushes.
A part that has excess will lose. A part that is lacking will gain.

Presently, society acts against this flow.
Where there is abundance, there is power to acquire even more.
What is it when excess is freely offered, rather than accumulated?
It is the way of Tao.

The sage works without expectation of return:
Achieving without need for recognition,
Doing without dominating.” *

~ Lao Tzu

 

How relevant to society today. Yet the Tao te Ching dates back to the second century BC.
The wisdom is never ending as the universe continues to flow. May we find understanding in the balance of yin and yang in all things.

 

 

*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David (2012-12-02). Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 1015-1026). . Kindle Edition.

* Tao Inspiration for our Times

winder weather

Sometimes a passage from the Tao te Ching comes to light at just the right time. With the storms in the Western US and the upcoming change in government, this seems to be a timely share.

Water is unquestionably soft and yielding,
Yet it can carve massive canyons
And sweep away entire cities with ease.

This is because it does not rise up in solid fragility like the structures of humanity,
But flows in low places, fluid and flexible like humanity itself.

There is great strength in what seems weak,
Great instability in what seems strong.

The creation of grand structures implies their inevitable destruction.
Humble, flexible, transitory existence implies true continuity.

In this way, things imply their opposites.

We all know this, because we have seen it.
Somehow, in living our lives, we forget.*

~ Lao Tzu

“Things imply their opposites” yet we make judgments, along with our plans. Are we  really ready for the unexpected?

The future has yet to unfold.
Be open. Be ready.

Be ready to be fierce. Be ready to be kind

 

*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David. Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 1028-1041). . Kindle Edition.