The Three Treasures of the Human Spirit

Reflections on Chapter 67 of the Tao Te Ching:

sunrise at Nan province,North of thailand

The world says these teachings of the Tao
are great, unlike anything else.

It is because of this uniqueness, that it is great.

If it were like everything else,
it would have disappeared long ago.

I have three treasures that I hold dear –

The first is called love.
The second is called simplicity.
The third is called humility.

With love, one has the power to be brave.
With simplicity, one can afford to be generous.
With humility, one can let others be first.

Therefore, one can develop to one’s true potential.

If you disregard love and remain brave,
if you shun simplicity and are wasteful,
if you try to get ahead of others,
it is surely fatal.

If you fight a battle with love, you will conquer.
In defense, you will be impenetrable.
Heaven protects and guards
those who live the principle of love.


The Three Treasures

We just talked about love in our Stillness series on the 4th chakra. It all comes down to the basics when you really look deeply at your life. What’s important?

Love. Simplicity. Humility.

These are the three treasures. The basics. Love is so important. A Course in Miracles talks about there being two basic tenants: love and fear. If you look at all your thoughts throughout the day, each one contains one or the other.  Taoist principles are basically about the love.

How can you be the most loving?

How can you love yourself and humankind, your neighbors? That is where the humility comes in. Everyone wants to be brought forward. It is a universal tendency to want to move forward and to be lit up. It is part of our human condition. So if you can take the high road and be humble about it, it is all the better for everyone.

Everyone can gain from being humble to some degree. 

Humility is not about “you are greater than I am”. Most of that is just self-esteem issues. I think that is where we struggle with being humble. We don’t want to be viewed as less than other people. No one does. The humility is more about allowing other people to teach you things because you can’t know everything. If you can allow other people to live into their strengths, to play with them and make them real in their lives, that is huge. It empowers them.

Empowering other people empowers you.

It makes your life better to empower people. If you are humble without throwing yourself down as a doormat, you can actually boost your self-esteem instead of lessen it.  Being humble is about being open to learning and being open to not having the answers. It’s about being OK with failure. It is about having a good relationship with failure and recognizing that failure is something that you have access to all the time. Failure can teach you tremendous things if you acknowledge it, but if you try to hide it, it can’t teach you anything.

Simplicity is truth.

We build up these lives that are so involved, so complicated.  We are constantly trying to escape them! The more complicated our lives are, the more we want to escape it! It’s true! lol… The things that complicate our lives are money and people and activities and causes and things. Granted, a lot of it is good but we spend so much of our lives chasing after these things that make life more complicated.

Relax into simplicity. 

Anthony Bordain did a show once where he was in some small country in Africa, I think. He was with this group of refugees that were living in this camp and their homes were made out of oil drums that had been cut apart and straightened out to make walls and roofs for simple shacks that they lived in.  They had dirt floors. They had nothing, really.

Anthony Bordain said these were the happiest people that he had ever seen.

It was an amazing story of the human condition. We always have choice. Even when it seems like we don’t, we really do. Sometimes when you are brought back to simplicity, if you look back at your own life when you had nothing (if you’ve ever had that experience), life was pretty simple then. We often get a bit nostalgic for that part of our lives because that simplicity is so appealing. You don’t have to manage all the stuff. There is a big movement across the globe right now for people to get back to simple living.

A lot of the lifestyle design stuff is not about making money.

It is not about becoming independently wealthy. It is more about getting down to the basics of what you really need and just being satisfied. I think that is why I like it so much. (See my section of links on Lifestyle Design in the sidebar for sites on that topic.) We don’t need big homes and lots of stuff and activities that are keeping us running around so fast. Those things are there because we have allowed that complexity to run rampant.

So these three treasures are worth thinking about. If we can just do a little bit every day to focus on these three things, our lives will just get better and better.


So what do you think? Did any of these treasures ring true for you? Which ones? Do you have any stories you want to share with us about that? We would love to hear from you. If you like this post and want to share it with your friends, I would LOVE that! There are some social media buttons in the upper right corner of this page. Feel free to share! Thanks for stopping by!




  1. Great points. Definitely sharing this one, Amy.
    Arwen recently posted…Laughing, Death + EeyoreMy Profile

  2. A lovely post and so true. funnily enough I aske my hubby today, what is more important to you material things or experiences and memories? then we decided that for anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions we would collect memories rather than things. We both love travelling and we said instead we would book a cheap 3 day trip to somewhere we had never been before. So we can experience different cultures. For Valentines we are going to Amsterdam and not even on the right date because it is cheaper to go before, we come back on the 14th. You can make your life fit you, it is not about bragging I did this or he brought me that. It is a series of experiences and memories that make you grow as a person and expand your love for your fellow woman/man. I have also taught him the power of random acts of kindness and how they are even more powerful when done anonymously. As it takes the attachment to results/praise from the receiver away.
    Athena Brady recently posted…What is self-love and why is it so important?My Profile

    • That sounds like a great idea, Athena! My husband and I love traveling too. This summer, we are going to India! Neither of us has ever been. Super psyched. I love your idea about the random acts of kindness as well. That is really something to consider. I am creating an ecourse on leadership and one of my stories is about the Nine Nanas. Have you heard of them? If not, Google them. They are really cool.

  3. Being of service and being humble is so important when it is easy to get wrapped up in making money.
    Catherine Doucette recently posted…Take My Advice. I’m Not Using It.My Profile

    • OMG. I just read your post in this link and you so have to come back and read today’s post! I was working on it yesterday, just finishing it up today, but I had to laugh when I saw yours because we are saying somewhat the same thing! lol…

  4. Pingback: The Study of Stillness: Part 6

  5. We do create and overstuff our lives with material things. When we become aware of that and start unravelling what we have created, then we find simplicity again and it’s wonderful. Simplicity is what brings us happiness and calm. I also believe that the only way to see everything is through love. We have to become more conscious and realize when we are living in fear and know that we have a choice in every moment to turn it into love no matter what the challenge we are faced with. Wonderful post Amy. Thank you! xo
    Suzanne McRae recently posted…Let the Painting BeginMy Profile

  6. First post here. This is my favorite chapter of the Tao Te Ching and continues to be an inspiration. My beloved wife of 30 years passed on last month. Love helped me focus on her benefit and the fact that she has been freed from intense, chronic pain, sparing me (for the most part) from the grief that might otherwise have been my natural response. Simplicity has allowed me to gift and donate many items in our home which her meaningful to her but which I knew would benefit others without being necessary for my own happiness. Humility opens me to letting this new beginning in my life unfold as it will.

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