10 Life Lessons From The Taoist Master Lao Tzu (Taoism)

Lao Tzu, is a Chinese legendary and historical
figure who is considered to be the founderof Taoism. Taoism is the philosophy that teaches
us how to live in harmony with the world. The word, tao, itself means “the way”,
the pattern and substance of everything thatexists. Tzu is also credited as the writer
of Taoism’s most sacred text, Tao Te Ching. It is packed with his remarkable wisdom and
messages of peace, resilience, and livingcohesively that reminds us what really matters
in life. He is a central figure in Chineseculture, but his words can apply to people
YOU NEEDLao Tzu says “Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom. Masteringothers is strength; mastering yourself is
true power”We live in a culture that’s geared toward
doing, succeeding, “crushing it”, makingmore weather its money or of ourselves. These
actions, from the Taoist perspective are consideredyang and are based on outwards and external
movement. The Chinese concept of yin and yangdescribes nature in dualities with two opposite,
complementary, and interdependent forces. In other words, two halves balancing together
that make a whole. Yin and yang always flowsand changes with time. One aspect increases
as the other decreases, and this balance continuesas a pattern in nature. Just like nature,
human life too is all about balance and tomaintain this balance we need to spend time
cultivating our yin which is our inner experience. We need to slow down, reflect, and just enjoy
“being” without having to do anything. Practices like meditation, qigong, and mindfulness
can help us slow down, so that when we doneed to act, move in the world, and create,
we have a deeper and more valuable reservoirof energy and balance to draw from. 2. BY LETTING GO, YOU BECOME FREEAccording to Lao Tzu “By letting it go it
all gets done. The world is won by those wholet it go. But when you try and try. The world
is beyond the winning. ”Enlightenment means to lighten the burden
of life in this world and to lighten the darkeraspects of human character.
But how then do we lighten ourselves? Howdo we lighten our burdens and lighten our
characters? The key is to examine our attachments,those things that we cling to in our minds
so strongly that we cause pain to ourselvesand others. This examination, this self-watching,
can begin with understanding the three kindsof attachment: attachment to recognition,
attachment to security, and attachment tocontrol. Relying on power to achieve what
you want to achieve means you aren’t relyingon the Tao. It’s important to understand
that developing a stance of non-attachmentis not the same as being calloused or uncaring.
In fact, losing your attachments makes youfreer to open your heart up wider. It is like
being able to see the world from a higherperspective. Instead of only loving those
to whom you are most attached – yourself,family, your religion, your political group,
and your country – your heart can grow toembrace the whole world. To be content is to be happy with what you
have, and to be happy with what you have isto be rich. 3. Let go of your labels if you truly want
to know yourselfAccording to Lao Tzu’s teachings “He who
defines himself can’t know who he reallyis”Labels are what you call yourself in your
head. They are tags that you attach to yourselfto describe the person you think you are.
We have labels for ourselves such as a superdad, a successful businessman, a loser, a
good for nothing and so on. We put ourselvesin boxes trying to define who we are. We do
it to others, and we do it to ourselves. Whetherpositive or negative, what we whisper to ourselves
every day has a great influence on our senseof self, and dictates the direction of our
thoughts and actions. The problem with labelingis we only see fragments which have been defined
by your own experience and perspective ofthe outer world.
Let’s say you or someone else may have givenyou a label you don’t want anything to do
with – maybe because it reminds you of pastmistakes you’ve made, or “flaws” you’re
trying to coexist with. By not labeling yourself,you can flow freely from experience to experience,
emotion to emotion, without being chaineddown to any one way of thinking.
It’s so much easier to move on from a mistakewhen you don’t carry it along with you. 4. Pay no attention to evil and it will crumble
awayAs Lao Tzu teaches “Give evil nothing to
oppose and it will disappear by itself”According to Taoism, we all have our personal
spiritual planetary body which they call YuenSun. It takes in Pre-Heaven essences and processes
it, pushing them into your soul, and the soulwill deliver it to your physical body here,
giving you your potentials for your life inreality. A Taoist cultivates mainly around
two things. One is to strengthen and repairthe bridge between the Yuen Sun and themselves
here in the physical world. By doing so, theycan live a better life and reach their full
potential. The second part of Taoism cultivationis to conclude by giving back to the Yuen
Sun for more to come in the future. Good isanything that flows with the way of the Tao,
meaning the Yuen Sun’s flow to your body. Anything that helps and flow with what your
Yuen Sun is doing or leading you toward isgood.
Evil is the opposite, which is anything thatputs resistance to, stops, interfere, drag,
or damage your flow from the Tao is evil. Good things help you to grow and empower you.
Bad things will destroy you or break you upinto pieces and push you to death. Evil or
good is not always good or bad, we must seethe whole situation to determine is it good
or bad. Knowing what is evil to you is importantas a Taoist because you will then understand
what is not good to do for yourself, and whatis going to harm you in the long run. If can
live your life purely and devote yourselfto the betterment of yourself and others around
you, evil cannot touch you. However, evilnever disappears, and you can’t ignore it.
The best thing you can do is be stronger thanthe evil temptations around you, and you will
ALWAYS WIN IN THE ENDTO QUOTE LAO TZU “Kindness in words creates
confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love”
There is a beautiful metaphor from the virtueof unconditional that we can learn from water.
As a river flows across the land, it nurturesall living things that it comes across. All
the plants and animals benefit from the waterof the river. Once it’s done its work, water
moves on without waiting for recognition orpraise.
When one practices compassion they gain greatinsight into themselves. The Tao Teh Ching
says that the Sage puts others before himself,and by putting others before himself, he put
himself first. When one puts others beforethemselves, showing compassion to one and
other, what they get out of it, isn’t justa deep insight into the nature of suffering,
but also deep insight into their own nature. The practice of compassion helps to strengthen
our relationships with others, it helps todeepen our connection to the world at large.
It’s something that seems to be a sign ofweakness, but in fact is a sign of strength. 6. BE YOURSELF WITHOUT CARING WHAT OTHERS
THINKLAO TZU SAYS “Care about what other people
think and you will always be their prisoner”Nothing can be more time and energy wasting
than being overly concerned about what otherpeople think of us. There is nothing wrong
in wanting others to like us or to think wellof us, but it should not be done at the expense
of our integrity. We have to get on with thetasks in life and take our own decisions based
on our highest thoughts, not the thoughtsgenerated through the filter of approval seeking,
and people pleasing. If we take our own decisionbased on our highest intuitive thoughts and
certain people disapprove, we shouldn’treally pay that much attention to them. Our
business to get on with the business of lifeis guided by our own consciousness, not by
the opinions of other people in our circle. When you are in accord with the Tao, you will
do your own job, and then stop. Leave othersopinions alone. Don’t go against the current
of the Tao. Instead, go with the flow of it. Accept yourself! Believe in yourself! Because
if you did, you wouldn’t have to try toconvince others. Be content with yourself!
Because if you were, you wouldn’t need others’approval. 7. WISDOM AND STRENGTH COME FROM REMAINING
one who, knows, what he does not know”There is a story in the “Lieh Tzu,” a
book of Taoist parables written around thesame time as the “Te Tao Ching. ” It’s
the story of a pair of twins. They look thesame, talk the same, belong to the same family
— but one is loved, trusted, and promotedby others while the other is not. He wears
nicer clothes, eats better food and livesin a nicer home. The successful twin treats
the unsuccessful twin with undisguised arrogancebecause he falsely believes he has earned
his success, saying, “Maybe there is justmore in me than there is in you. ” They both
meet Master Tung-kuo, who says, “When yousay that one man has more in him than another,
you mean only that they are not equally gifted. What I mean is something different from this.
The unsuccessful twin has more worth thanluck, you have more luck than worth. Your
success is not due to wisdom, nor is his failuredue to foolishness. Both are from heaven and
not from man, yet you are presumptuous becauseyou have more luck, while he is ashamed though
he has more worth. Neither of you perceivesthat things must be as they are”. The truth
is that the great power of Tao can only beobtain with great love and great humility.
One should always be impeccably humble becauseit’s the humility that guarantees great
victories over oneself. It’s the basis ofthe correct achievements in the transformation
of the soul! You should agree with Tao completely. If you do this only partially, this will result
in a dangerous breakdown because only completehumility is the cure for the disease called
pride. Sadness and anger are companions ofpride whereas Calm and joy are companions
of impeccable humility. 8. CHANGE IS INEVITABLE, SO EMBRACE IT, EVEN
IF IT SEEMS UNCOMFORTABLE. In the words of Lao Tzu “New beginnings
are often disguised as painful endings. ”We resist and often resent the changes. But
change is key to life, because, despite changebeing seemingly painful, it’s forever necessary.
Most of us tend to settle in our comfort zone,we are afraid of change or something new.
We tend to get used to the rut and routineand begin to love that as the sole option
available to us. A sort of mental complacencysets in and we don’t want to alter that. Maybe
because we no longer hope for better things,or maybe because we live in the belief that
every ending is painful and doesn’t leadto something better. Every change is important
and every change is meaningful in and of itself. What seemed negative or painful in the beginning
may turn into something new; in a new beginning,in a new way, in a new direction, a new opportunity,
a new life, or even a new you. Change oftenpaves the way for something better – and if
not better, at least different. In difference,lies life’s momentum and progress. 9. LEARN TO FOLLOW FIRST IF YOU EVER WISH
TO LEADAccording to Lao Tzu “If you want to govern
the people, you must place yourself belowthem. If you want to lead the people, you
must learn how to follow them”To understand this let’s look at Lao Tzu’s
comparison between rivers and seas and thehundreds of streams. Rivers and seas are more
powerful than streams. They are larger, deeperand stronger. Without water flowing in from
hundreds and thousands of streams, riversand seas wouldn’t be what they are.
Rivers and seas can be powerful, because theyare ready to receive.
Similarly, from the perspective of Tao leadership,a leader is more powerful than their people,
but their power is derived from their people. They need their people to feed them both physically
and metaphorically. Otherwise, they only havetheir own resources to draw from.
Just like rivers and seas, a good leader mustbe ready to receive. .
To receive water from streams, rivers andseas stoop low.
To harness energy from their people, a leaderpositions lower as well, in order to receive.
They pays attention and listen. A leader follows, before they are followed. 10. Always go with the flow
In our final piece of wisdom from Lao Tzu,we learn “When nothing is done, nothing
is left undone”Wu Wei is a Chinese concept central to Taoism
which is roughly translates to ‘action ofnon-action’ or ‘action without intent’.
It says that rather than fighting againstthe conditions in our lives, we should allow
things to take their natural course. Whilemany of us wake into our day with multiple
‘to-dos’ stacked on our list and a senseof urgency to get things done, it’s powerful
to consider that there is a natural orderin everything we do. If we tune in and follow
the order, things get done effectively, efficientlyand without extra effort. If we go against
the order, it takes extra time and energyto get things done and in some cases nothing
will get done, no matter how hard we try. Let us take writing for example. If you feel
uninspired and tired, don’t force yourselfto write a perfect chapter. Instead, recognize
the direction of the nature and take careof yourself, maybe go for a walk. Then, when
you feel inspired and motivated, take advantageand write with great ferocity and determination.
This is what Wu Wei means – recognizing theforces of nature and acting accordingly. Some
people intuitively interpret ‘non-doing’as something passive, laid back or lazy. In
the eyes of Tao, there are often times foraction, but if no action is needed based on
the laws of nature, then doing anything maybe overdoing it. It’s all about realizing
when our efforts are being useful and whenthey are being wasted.
If you like this video, please do make sureto check out our Stoicism playlist and for
more videos to help you find success and happinessusing ancient philosophical wisdom, don’t
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