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People tell me that they like my essays on the chapters of the Tao Te Ching. If you are new here and you haven’t read them yet, you can see the entire list here. Since this blog is called Tao Te Ching Daily, I am always looking for ways to weave the chapters back through our lives but in unique ways.
So I have decided to do an experiment.
If you are a fellow blogger and you enjoy reading my essays, how about posting one of your own? I have posted the first chapter of the Tao Te Ching and a Mr. Linky entry box below. I invite you to read the chapter and then post your own response to it on your blog and then come back here and add your link. If I get enough response on this experiment, I will do it again. I might even make it a regular thing.
I think Lao Tzu would have wanted it that way…
The sage leads quietly indeed - Accomplishing deeds in order that the people will all say, “We did it”.
~Chapter 17, Tao Te Ching
Chapter One of the Tao Te Ching
The Tao that can be told is not the Eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the Eternal Name.
Nothingness is the Origin of Heaven and Earth. Beingness is the Mother of the Ten Thousand Things.
When you are free of desire, you will understand the Essence of your life. When you identify with your desires, you will observe the manifestations of your life.
Both contain the deepest secrets arising from the dark unknown, the Doorway to the Mysteries of Life.
A few months back, I came across a blogger that combined Taoist philosophy with sales. I was intrigued. His website is called Tao Te Ching of Sales and he offers sweet little prose on selling. So I reached out to him and invited him to do a guest post on my blog. Although it may seem that this is just for business owners, I believe that the concepts of selling can be applied in all areas of life and business and are good for everyone to know. I did a guest post once for Nanette Levin’s blog called The Tao of Marketing and it was remarkable to me how Taoist principles can be so helpful to us in developing good business practices.
No blue, no pink, no orange. It is the differences that allows us to know the colors. If the entire world was white, we would all be blind. It is the contrast that give things meaning for us. So the Sunday driver that is driving so slow in front of you is helping you to understand that you are driving too fast. She is your teacher. That annoying screaming child in the grocery store is reminding you of the beauty of silence. All things exist in contrast but disappear in likeness.
“The sage lives by non-action, teaches without words.” (Chapter 2)
Without all the words, we can experience the timeless beauty that is there with more words than we can ever express.
This is my rendition of the character, “dao”. In Chinese, dao means path or way. It is the symbol used for Tao.
A Personal Touch
I love reading Suzanne McRae’s blog because she is always so personal in her posts. Her writing is so raw and full of everyday life. She is a great model for me of how I want to write. She shares very personal stories and I think her readers really connect with her on that.
So in honor of Suzanne and her beautiful sharing, I’ve decided to share my bucket list with you. I hope that it will grow and change as time goes on, crossing things out as I go. It was a great exercise for me and it is so fun to now have one that I can add and cross off items.
Writing a bucket list makes you think about what you want to do with your life and helps you define what is important.
My list contains lots of travel and home stuff because that is important to me. It also contains some adventure items because those make me feel very alive. I was talking with my daughter last night about her favorite vacations and realized that we both loved beaches. Vacations with beaches are always good. I mentioned the vacation to Branson when we went ziplining. That really stands out to me. I have my husband to thank for that adventure. He loves that kind of stuff and I don’t think that I would have been so bold to plan it, but he did and so I can now cross it off my list.
This summer we are going to Maui.
Visiting Hawaii is definitely on the list, but when I was talking about it with a colleague of mine he mentioned that there is a tour that takes a bus to the top of a mountain and then drops people off at the top with bicycles so you can ride down the mountain on a bike. You do it very early so that you see the sunrise on the mountaintop. Eric kinda poo-pooed that one. He is not much of one for either early mornings OR bike rides, but I put it on my list. I almost turned it down because Eric didn’t want to do it, but then I thought about both ways and realized that I would be disappointed in myself if I did not take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I will be doing it without Eric.
Bucket Lists are Desires Yet Manifested
I wrote about desire recently, which generated some discussion about the topic and what it really means to desire something. Is it good or bad to desire? I think it is both. Like anything, desire has two sides to it.
In one perspective, desire lights the way to our path in life, our own tao. (Dao/tao means “path” in Chinese.) Desire helps us to make our dreams manifest. If we don’t dream, we can’t create. We desire things to draw ourselves forward.
In another perspective, desire can represent those things that we wish to have but somehow feel that we have failed in achieving. Human beings are rather complex creatures and many times we don’t do it right. Desire in this case can remind us of what we don’t have yet.
Both definitions are for the same word, but they will manifest completely differently in our lives.
As I created this bucket list to share with you, I felt that this list represents the things that I am most proud of in my desires for my life. Yes, I wish to go to the grocery store to buy ingredients to make a cake but I won’t put that on the list. What does go on the list is the big ticket items. The things that I desire to accomplish before I “kick the bucket”.
“When you are free from desire, you will understand the essence of your life. When you identify with your desires, you will observe the manifestations of your life. Both contain the deepest secrets of the dark unknown , the doorway to the mysteries of life.”
I think that both of these aspects to desire have been addressed in these lines. Both contain the mysteries of life.
I am on an adventure.
It is both a spiritual adventure, unlocking the mysteries of life, and a physical adventure – seeing what this world has to offer. I want to live my life fully and I hope that you will too. If you have a bucket list posted somewhere, please post a link in the comments! We would love to see it!
This is part 1 of a series on Humility. I have written three other series so far – Awareness, Stillnessand Discipline. Please check those out as well if you are new here.
This series on humility is the fourth series in our Tao Te Ching Exploration Project. Throughout this project, we will be discussing some of the basic principles brought up throughout the Tao Te Ching. The principles we will cover are Awareness, Stillness, Discipline, Humility, Flexibility, Consistency, Connection, Service and Leadership. I am sure that there are many other principles that have been discussed throughout the text, but these are the nine topics that I am choosing to focus on over the next several months.
I relate to each principle by focusing our attention on each of the nine chakras, based on the Q’ero Shamans’ chakra system that is explained in depth in Dr. Alberto Villoldo’s book, Shaman, Healer, Sage.
In this system, the chakras extend outside of our human form, which allow us to recognize our greater aspects of being. With nine chakras and nine disciplines, we will end up with 81 essays on living with the Tao in mind throughout every aspect of our being. (Since there are 81 chapters in the Tao Te Ching and nine is a completion number, I felt this was a fitting tribute.)
I hope that you are enjoying the series and will continue to explore with us throughout the rest of the project.
First Chakra: Survival
We are all familiar with humility.
We all went through puberty, which can be a crash course in humility. Life hands us situations to get through and many of them expose us in all our glory. It can be, well, humiliating. Even saying that word brings up visions of unhappy memories we would all rather forget.
To fully understand humility, we need to embrace it. Most of us haven’t done that yet. It is rare that someone does. I am actually a little frightened to start this topic because with each of these explorations, I dig deeply into each principle. As a Leo, humility is something that I would rather avoid. LOL. I am sure that I am not alone in that. So this is going to be an interesting topic.
I had my first taste of it the other day when I got a call from my Mom, who was very upset. It was a few days after Mother’s Day and she had called to say that none of her daughters had called her on Mother’s Day. I felt awful. I would have done anything to wind back time and redo that day, but there was nothing I could do. I was humbled by my own failure. Nothing I could do or so would take away the fact that I forgot to call her.
I often talk about failure on this blog. If you’ve been reading along, you know this. Facing failure is a huge part of growth. We all fail sometimes. We all make mistakes.
This first chakra is about survival.
That basal instinct. Survival has us wanting to not be humble. If we are to survive, we have to come out on top. Survival of the fittest. We have to be prove ourselves to be better than other people. This is completely instinctual. The weak do not survive. This is our mind’s way of keeping ourselves alive.
Not only is this not necessary in our everyday lives, but it can be a detriment.
If we flip it around, we could say that our survival depends on letting go, letting things just be the way that they are. There is a humility to that. We can’t really survive as a planet until we accept where we are right at this moment and that we have failed. We have failed miserably in many many ways and we have all done this. Until we can accept that, until we can accept our failures and our humility, that is what humility is – that I have failed.
You need to become humble to who you’ve been.
Our instincts are to stay and fight to be on top. In the higher chakras, we learn about love but in this first chakra, we are in our animal instincts. In some ways, this is about the humbling of our own humanity, our own first chakra. We are animals. We are evolved animals. There is a part of us that has that urge to defeat people and to overcome. We need to accept that as a part of us and allow ourselves to be humbled by it.
We spend a lot of energy hiding our mistakes. I think that it is time that we look them straight in the face and give our mistakes a hug. Look at them as a parent looks at a child. We are growing and learning. We do dumb things sometimes – so what? We need to sit with our mistakes with a compassionate eye and ask ourselves what is happening that we would behave that way? I try and do that with my daughter but I don’t always do that with myself.
Facing our own humility is about honoring its place. Give it a spot at the table and ask it how it’s day has been. Let it teach you something.
Desire can’t exist without the belief that we don’t have it. What do we really need? Do we need to have all those things we desire? The object of our desire is indicating that we don’t have it already. We feel that we need that thing so we desire it.
Desire comes from lack.
We can’t desire something that we already have because the very act of desire is to want something that we don’t have. Even in a case where we have a lover and you desire them, you are desiring something that you feel is not there. You are desiring a connection that you are not feeling yet.
You can desire connections in other ways too. I have a desire to be closer with my daughter. She can be right in front of me and I just want her to be closer. My desire comes out of a feeling of not having something.
That something is unnamed.
We can live our whole lives without naming that something but the Tao Te Ching challenges us to look more deeply at desire. In the very first chapter, Lao Tzu talks about examining our desires to help us unlock the mysteries of life.
Everything comes out of being. Everything. As you run around and get crazy and wonder why nothing is happening, it is because being comes out of stillness. The being is stillness and everything comes out of that.
We need to return to Source.
We need down time. Everything has to cycle back to this quiet yin space. That is why I think we crave it when we have busy lives. We know we need it.
Our culture in the U.S. is very yang. Go! Go! Go! Live fully! Do this, do that. Soccer, hockey, choir. Be super people. But we need the beingness. We need that quiet space. It is a vital part. It is what everything comes out of.
We ARE a part of this cycle, whether we want it or not.
We can’t say, “No. I only want the yang stuff.” It just doesn’t work like that. What happens instead is that we crash. We get sick. Our relationships fall apart. Our jobs end. It can be a big wave or a small wave – which do you want? The big waves are when we ride up and up and up and up. We don’t want to come down, so we keep going up. We think that it will never end. But it will. Because that is what waves do.
Or we can have small waves.
We can go up a bit and then rest. Then go up a bit and then sit back and take care of ourselves. In some cultures, Sundays are a day of rest. (Or Saturdays.) In many parts of the world, this concept of resting is not lost. We can have that too. We need it.
This is part 9 of a series on Discipline. To read the other parts, please visit our Discipline Page. We have also have a series on Awareness and one on Stillness, so please check those out as well if you are interested.
This series on discipline is the third series in our Tao Te Ching Exploration Project. Throughout this project, we will be discussing some of the basic principles brought up throughout the Tao Te Ching. The principles we will cover are Awareness, Stillness, Discipline, Humility, Flexibility, Consistency, Connection, Service and Leadership. I am sure that there are many other principles that have been discussed throughout the text, but these are the nine topics that I am choosing to focus on over the next several months.
I relate to each principle by focusing our attention on each of the nine chakras, based on the Q’ero Shamans’ chakra system that is explained in depth in Dr. Alberto Villoldo’s book, Shaman, Healer, Sage
. In this system, the chakras extend outside of our human form, which allow us to recognize our greater aspects of being. With nine chakras and nine disciplines, we will end up with 81 essays on living with the Tao in mind throughout every aspect of our being. (Since there are 81 chapters in the Tao Te Ching and nine is a completion number, I felt this was a fitting tribute.)
I hope that you are enjoying the series and will continue to explore with us throughout the rest of the project.
You are an expression of Tao, of God.
Everything that you observe in your world, you have some responsibility of it. Everything is a piece of you. If you see something that you don’t like, it is some aspect of yourself. You can forgive it and allow an experience of it to wash over you and recognize that it is a part of you. The discipline with that is to keep coming back to that acceptance, continuously moving back into forgiveness of everything that is in your reality.
Judgements will come up.
You might say that these things are not acceptable. You don’t like some of it. It raises your shackles and makes you angry. You feel this as energy. It is all just energy. It is not personal, in a sense. It is totally personal in one way and not at all personal in another sense. It is all just energy. You can even say that with your life.
I am a human being. My name is Amy. This is my life. I am a separate being.
All of our language (in English, at least) is based on the idea that I am separate. The discipline with the ninth chakra is to really own this experience that is Tao. When you have someone that bugs you, it is an opportunity to recognize that person as a part of you that you have not forgiven. They are raising that energetic quality just for you. There is something there for you, particularly if that is something that is really affecting you emotionally. The stronger the emotion, the more it is something for you to learn.
The intensity increases as the lesson increases.
If we are a drop of water in the ocean and another drop of water is offensive, that is just part of the ocean. There is a forgiveness that comes with that. It is forgiving others and forgiving ourselves because we are the same. There is no other.
We influence each other all the time. How do you want your world to be? Our world just gets better all the time. Improving our world is something worth doing. In the meantime, until we reach that point where we understand everything, in the meantime we can work on forgiving those things that come into our realm needing our forgiveness.
Our children are a good example here because, no matter what they do, no matter what choices they make, we care about them. That is really how we ought to be with everyone, with the planet. If we hold that space of love and we just be that, the energetic waves of what is going on diminishes. If you are in the water splashing around, you are going to get splashed. But if you settle yourself, the space around you settles and everything tends to follow how you are being.
You can try this in your life.
Today I am going to just be calm. Notice how your world changes when you commit to that. Notice how your entire experience shifts to match it. As we sync, we can create the energy and we can sync with the energy. You choose what you want to do. You can react to what is out there or you can say, “No, I am going to create calm. I am going to create love.”
That is the discipline right there.
I am going to create the energy that I want to see in the world. It will change. Everything in the world has a natural inclination towards peace. There is a natural movement towards love. There is a magnetic attraction towards light. As we shift, everything automatically shifts. If you have someone in a space who is really loving and strong and not allowing anything to shift that, and someone comes into the space that is negative, the loving will overcome that. If you are in a really good mood and someone comes up in a bad mood, they can’t sway you to be in a bad mood. They just can’t. But if you are acting happy but are really sad, they can sway you. That is what I mean by a strong positive energy.
You are not going to leave your good mood to go to a crappy mood, you just aren’t going to do that. There is a flow, like water flowing downstream. There is a flow towards that state. If you hold that state strongly, everything around you synchronizes to that. That is just how energy works. Patterns sync up.
The post I wrote on Wednesday was the last essay of the Tao Te Ching chapters.
Like a kid after the end of a really fun summer camp, I feel both happy and sad at this occasion. I am both sorry to see the essays go and relieved that I have completed them. My dear friend, Michele Bergh, always reminds me to CELEBRATEso today’s post is a celebration of my accomplishment.
I was tempted at first to go into all the things that I am doing next, but that is not really living in this moment. For now, I am merely celebrating that I did it. So instead, I would like to give you some links to some of my favorite chapters… if you want to review the entire list, you can visit our List of All Verses page.