Every religion has something unique and valuable to offer. I have taken to reading about Taoism lately and I find it to be more of a philosophical text which leans towards helping individuals live in harmony with the world.
The word Tao means the way.
Taoism founder is Lao Tzu or Laozi. He is a Chinese philosopher who lived and practiced at around the same time as Confucius in 6th century BC. Lao Tzu is also the author of Chinese’s sacred text called Tao Te Ching. He may be from China and his teachings around 2500 years old, but they are still relevant today, not only in China but across geographies.
Here are some top teachings from Taoism.
Everything You Need is within You
How well do we know ourselves? Do we know our strengths, weaknesses, principles and the things that trigger anger among others. According to Lao Tzu, knowing yourself is true wisdom while knowing others is intelligence (nothing more than data). While you could master others is strength, it takes real power to master yourself.
We need to work on getting a solid understanding of who we are, reflect on our thoughts and enjoy being without having to do anything. By doing this, we have stored the power storage that we can draw from as and when we need it. All this while we head towards achieving our life’s dreams.
In Hinduism too, the concept of Aham Brahmasmi focuses on the inner self and the god within rather than seeking external things to hold onto.
Free Yourself by Letting Go
Holding onto things makes us more materialistic and consumed with it, rather than winning what is beyond it. It is important to not get attached to stuff and believe that things will work out on its own by letting it go. According to Lao Tzu, the world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.
The word enlightenment is a sort of buzz word today and the meanings change depending on who does the explaining. According to Lao Tzu, it means to lighten the burden of life in this world and to lighten the darker aspects of human character. How do we do it? Examine ourselves to find what we are attached to. What is it that causes pain to ourselves and to others?
According to Taoism, we are normally are attached to:
Relying on the power to achieve what you want to achieve means that you aren’t relying on the way of Tao.
Being unattached does not necessarily mean that you are uncaring or callous. By removing attachments, you will be unburdened to watch the world from a higher perspective and to get a perspective that is not shaded in biases and bondings.
To be content is to be happy with what you have, and to be happy with what you have is to be rich.
Let Go of Your Labels if you Truly want to know Yourself
Lao Tzu says, “He who defends himself can’t know who he really is.”
Labels box us in. By trying to put labels on ourselves, we try to limit what we can achieve and what we might potentially become.
The problems of labels is that we only see fragments of what you have faced. It reminds you of the past flaws that caused great grief. By not labeling yourself, you can flow freely from experience to experience and emotion to emotion without being chained down to one way of thinking.
Pay No Attention to Evil and it will Wither Away
Lau Tzu says, “give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.” According to Taoism, there is an spiritual planetary body called Yuensun. It takes in pre-heaven essences and processes them and pushes it into our soul and soul will push it to your physical body, giving you your full potentiality. There are two things that you must target:
- Strengthen and repair the bridge between yourself and Yuensun. Through this we can have a better life.
- Conclude by giving back to Yuensun so we get it back in the future. Good flows with way of the Tao. Anything that flows with Yuensun is good.
Evil is opposite, it puts resistance or damages the way of Tao. Knowing evil is good for yourself. Then you will know what not to do. If you live for the betterment of yourself or others, then evil can’t touch. Remember that evil never disappears.
Kindness and Compassion for Others will always Win in the End
Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness and kindness in giving creates love – Lao Tzu.
Here’s a beautiful metaphor of unconditional kindness – a river flows across the land. It nurtures plants and helps animals grow without awaiting recognition. People must be like the river. They must practice compassion and seek nothing in return. Expect nothing and what you gain is a great insight into yourself. You will know who you really are, and this is the greatest joy in life.
The way of Tao says that one puts others before self and by doing that, they put themselves first. When one puts himself first showing compassion, it gives them great insight into their own nature. It strengthens relationships and deepens the connection to the world at large. It seems a sign of weakness but in reality, its true strength.
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