The Dwelling Within

Reflections on Chapter 72 of the Tao Te Ching:

Mountain Mist


When people are not expecting it,
disaster happens.

Do not reduce your life.
Do not dislike your choices in life.

When you appreciate your life fully,
it never grows weary.

The sage understands herself
but never shows arrogance.

She takes care of herself
but does not distinguish herself.

She therefore leaves the outer dwelling
for the dwelling within.

Enjoy your life.

Are you appreciating that your choices make your life? They do. Even the toothpaste that you choose in the morning is a choice that makes up who you are every day. Our lives are so intricate. The more conscious we can be, the more we are able to really absorb what is happening in our lives and in our world.

We need to forgive ourselves.

The more we are able to forgive ourselves and have the ups and downs, appreciate ALL of life, the happier we will be.  Gratitude is a hot topic these days.  There’s a gratitude movement going on. The gratitude is really important and the gratitude is what will keep you going. Gratitude can be part of every day, appreciating the things you have and the people that make up your world. That is happiness.

It’s remarkable.

By that, I mean worth remarking about. There are a lot of very positive things that are happening in the world. We all kind of go negative sometimes. That’s all part of life. You are going to have moments when life sucks. That is a normal part of experience.

Some people say that life doesn’t suck anymore and they have eternal happiness.

It’s not like you have spiritually developed people and they have sweet lives and everything is great and all that, but this is somewhat true. It’s really more about your mindset. Happy people don’t let some little blip in the system throw the whole system. They just ride the wave. They know fully that life is just like that – it’s a roller coaster. It’s all good. I think that is why the Buddhists speak about suffering.

Once you’ve handled suffering, once you’ve got that down
and have fully absorbed it into your system, it’s not suffering anymore.

I listened to this book recently called Mighty Be Our Powers. It is the life story of this woman, Leymah Gbowee, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for the work she did in her country, Liberia, on gaining peace for her nation. Her story is incredible. If you have not read her book, I definitely recommend it. At the end of her book, I was literally sobbing. I was driving and listening to it on my car stereo and I was sobbing. I was so moved by what she had done, but more so that she made me realize that world peace is happening.

Peace is happening in the world and I was missing it because I had my eyes shut.

It’s all about facing the beast. That is what he is talking about here. We are so world focused right now with the Internet. There are so many different cultures and so much going on. It can be overwhelming, but it is also incredibly beautiful.

The thing that really touches me about the Tao is that it gives us the tools for facing this life. That is the reason I am here. I want people to see the way life can be. People can be peaceful. We don’t have to have people aggressively try and outdo each other. We don’t have to have this huge consumerism that we have in some parts of the world. We can have peace in the world. REAL PEACE is possible. We just need to stand together in that place of love and compassion and lead others to do the same.


  1. “She therefore leaves the outer dwelling
    for the dwelling within.”

    This made me think of the constant drive to be “beautiful” in the Western eye. I found peace when I let go of that. When I leanred how to be beautiful in my own skin. Of course, I do still struggle but that’s normal given the continual media barrage of what beautiful looks like if you spend enough money. 😀
    Arwen Lynch, Professional Joy Seeker recently posted…Art, Permission + StuffMy Profile

    • I love that song, Big Girl by Mika. My daughter and I jazz to that one all the time. What you said reminds me of that song. If you haven’t heard it, Arwen, look it up. It’s awesome. We have such a strange view of beauty in our current culture. To me, beautiful is when you are beautiful inside, always.

  2. Crying for joy is so precious. Our emotions are signals. Beauty is important and it is there for us to admire but we often limit what we consider beauty. Thanks for the post.
    Sheila Skillingstead recently posted…Valentine’s DayMy Profile

  3. The Tao te Ching keeps coming into my awareness these days. I think it’s time for me to pick it up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. Our choices really do make up our lives — it’s all about choice. Great reminder!

    And thanks for sharing the book recommendation. I’ve written the title down and will look for it at the library. I love the idea that peace IS happening; we just need to be more aware. I talk about awareness a lot in my work.
    Cindy Jones Lantier recently posted…Deciding to be Happier — Part TwoMy Profile

  4. The more I read your posts on the Tao, the more I am loving it. I very much appreciate that you decided to be here on this blog to share these tools that help us all face our life a bit better. You are a wonderful teacher. Blessings! xo
    Suzanne McRae recently posted…A Grandmother’s Fighting Spirit!My Profile

  5. Well, isn’t that interesting…I have spent much of the last two days, amidst some very enjoyable moments, beating myself up in my free time. Seeing choices I’ve made as mistakes and then here you are in all your glory, sharing this post 🙂 Thank you! It was exactly what I needed to hear. Beating up is done…moving on!
    Michele Bergh recently posted…What’s the Deal with Mobile Responsive Websites?My Profile


  7. Love this Amy. Yes if we just focus on the externals and forget to ‘come home to ourself inside’, we miss the point because we never feel at home! 2 things have happened to me recently, a fall where I hit my head on concrete and a fire truck coming 6 inches from wiping me out in my car that have been big wake -up calls!
    Live your life in each moment as much as possible, as disaster can hit at any time and be peaceful, happy and contented and help others wherever we can. And if we can’t, love ourselves anyway!
    Sherry Marshall recently posted…Democracy By-Pass as The World Turns.My Profile

    • Wow, Sherry. That is a big deal! I am so glad that you are OK. Yes, life can give us wake up calls sometimes and we had better listen when they are big ones!

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