Every so often, I receive a letter from someone who signed up on my email list to receive my Tao Te Ching chapters. A few weeks ago, I got such a letter and it made my day! I asked the sender if she would be OK if I posted her story on my blog because it was such a great story of truly living the Tao and I believe that sharing it with you would help her to connect with the rest of my readers.
She said yes, so here it is:
I had read a few Lao-tzu quotes in various books and on line, but I never felt inspired to actually read the Tao Te Ching. But, apparently I had a strong enough attraction to it to make it manifest in my life anyway. A couple of years ago, I was at Books-A-Million looking for meditation CDs because one of my students had given me a gift card (I’m a Kindergarten teacher’s assisstant), and the only two meditation CDs they had were Wayne Dyer’s “Wishes Fulfilled” and “Change Your Thoughts”. Well, I had recently become interested in Wayne’s work, & seeing how these two CDs were all I had to choose from, I concluded that I was meant to have them. I decided to listen to one of them as I drove home, so I closed my eyes & picked one. I picked “Change Your Thoughts.” I have a Volkswagon Beetle that has a CD player in the very back of it that holds up to six CDs, & I could have put both of them in, but, I didn’t. Like I said, this CD player is in the back of my car, so, once I started driving, I couldn’t change the CD. Well, I started driving, and the CD started with Wayne’s calming voice explaining what the Tao Te Ching is & who Lao-tzu is, & that was all very interesting. I hope you’re familiar with Wayne’s “Change Your Thoughts” CD so that you’ll understand what I’m about to say – after the introduction, Wayne started to read the Tao. ” I choose to enjoy living the great mystery. The Tao that can be named, is not the Tao,” I heard him say in his calming voice with soothing music in the background. So far, I was enjoying my new CD & having a relaxing drive home. But then, Wayne started to chant, “Tao – Tao – Tao”. Well, I had only recently gotten interested in meditation & hadn’t developed an appreciation for the whole chanting part (in fact, none of the meditations I had been practicing involved chanting), so that threw me off just a little. Since I felt like this CD manifested into my life, though, I kept listening. I will not lie & say that I was hooked by the time I got home, but I did feel a desire to actually meditate to it (as opposed to listening while driving, which I don’t recommend, BTW!). When I did, I found it very calming, & Lao-tzu’s wisdom (as interpreted by Wayne) deeply resonated with me as if it was an old song I might have heard a very long time ago but had forgotten until hearing it at that moment.
I loaded it on my iPod so that I could listen to it while walking or riding my bike or whatever, & then I made playlists that contained my favorite verses. As time went by, the truths that are in the verses started to unfold in my life, & that’s when I really felt connected to it. For instance, one day our deep freezer door was not closed all of the way, & by the time we realized it, a lot of the food was so thawed that it had to be thrown out. Our freezer is out in our garage, which is also where our dogs sleep. We had a big 10 x 6 rug that they slept on that was ruined by what leaked out of the freezer that also had to be thrown out. Needless to say, as my husband & I spent several hours cleaning up this mess while thinking about all the money it was going to cost to replace the rug & the food, it was difficult to view this as good fortune. However, towards the end of the day, things changed because we discovered that a good bit of the food was actually ok but would need to be cooked that night or the next day. So, we texted our neighbors & said, “The first ones here get to take whatever they want,” & so several of them hurried over. We had some really nice steaks & fish my husband had caught (grouper & snapper) that we could have auctioned off if we wanted, & we joked about doing that when the neighbors were gathered with their mouths watering. Joking around with the neighbors helped our moods quite a bit, but we still weren’t happy about having to replace the rug. BUT, after laughing with the neighbors & feeling good about how thankful they were for the free food, my attitude about our circumstances improved enough for me to suddenly remember that we had a spare rug that size under the bed in our spare bedroom. This was a rug that didn’t match when we got new furniture but that was still in good shape, so we put it under one of our beds just in case someone might want it someday. When I reminded my husband that we had this rug, he was very relieved! But, here’s the best part : when we moved the bed in order to retrieve the rug, we found a box of old love letters he had written me 33 years earlier before we were married. I had forgotten they were under that bed. Before we even got the rug up, we started looking at the letters & reminising (& laughing & crying), & that’s when I suddenly thought about verse 59, ” Bad fortune has good fortune hiding within it, & good fortune is what bad fortune hides in.” The impact of that verse at that very moment made me feel connected not just to the Tao Te Ching but to the all powerful Tao itself – that which can’t be named – that which does nothing, but leaves nothing undone.
I signed up on this list because my heart has been urging me to connect with others who believe in that which exists whether we believe it or not & who’s lives are growing in such beautiful ways because they have awakened to the Tao that lives within each of us. Most of my family members are Christians who I feel are afraid to doubt things that Christianity holds as truths (which I’m ok with if they’re ok with). I used to be afraid, too, until my heart finally convinced me that I wasn’t being my authentic self. I could feel the God/Tao/all knowing source part of me saying, ” I’m all knowing, so stop trying to fool me. When you feel something coming from your heart, trust it because that’s me guiding you. Believe what your heart tells you is true & not what your ears tell you or your eyes tell you. If you follow your heart, you will be lead to the truths that your eyes & ears & heart will all agree on.” Some/most of what I have read in the Tao Te Ching are truths that my heart feels & my eyes & ears have experienced.