Lao Tzu – How To Be Spiritual (Taoism)

Lao Tzu, literally translated as ‘old master’
was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writerwho is known to be the founder of Taoism. Taoism is a philosophy which emphasizes living
in harmony with the Tao. The word “Tao” is defined as a path or
way of virtuous conduct that, if followed,leads to a life of harmony. He is also credited as the writer of Taoism’s
most sacred text, Tao Te Ching in which hespoke of four cardinal virtues that when embraced
would reveal the truth of the universe. He believed that living and practicing these
teachings can open you to higher wisdom andgreater happiness and that they bring a closer
connection to our innate spirituality. The old master’s teaching, even after 2500
years are world renowned, studied and practicedby millions around the world and in this video
we will be talking about how to be spiritualby using Lao Tsu’s 4 cardinal virtues. Reverence for lifeLao Tzu says “Living in the moment brings
you a sense of reverence for all of life’sblessings”
This virtue manifests as having unconditionallove and positive regard for all creatures
in the universe, starting with ourselves,this will then naturally flow out to all others. Taoist monks are said to have absolute reverence
for life. They refrain from taking any life, even the
life of a cockroach. They believe that the killing of weaker, relatively
insignificant creatures is a greater wrong. Unlike lions and tigers, small creatures have
no ability to defend themselves, so we needto be even more compassionate toward them. This teaching holds that all life is sacred,
so one must never kill or do any harm to anyliving being. The world in which we live, often forces us
to ignore this virtue. If there’s one word that defines our modern
lives, it’s excess and in the name of profitand excessive consumption, we have not only
been extremely cruel to all the other lifeforms on this planet, but we also have been
stepping on our fellow humans for the sakeof our own selfish motives. We strive to be the very best and loving version
of ourselves, the version that looks goodon the surface. The one that makes for fast-paced, exciting,
Instagrammable lives. How often do we put up an image of our dog
on instagram for likes, yet eat meat the verysame night?How often do we pass homeless individuals
on the street without acknowledgement?Between the business of our daily lives and
going from one task to another, we forgetthe world around us and others in it. We must understand that we are dependent on
other life forms for our sheer survival, andthis means we must treat them with respect,
kindness, and gratitude. Living in harmony with the natural world and
thus respecting all forms of life is achievedthrough balancing our Yin and Yang energies. Put simply, Yin and Yang represent the opposite
forces of the natural world. Night and day, man and woman, birth and death. In symbolic terms Yin is represented as feminine
and yielding, while Yang is represented asmasculine and more aggressive. In order to live with reverence towards nature,
both men and women must balance their Yinand Yang energies. The integration of these two conflicted forces
makes for a healthy soul, since there is noYin without Yang just like there’s no shadow
without Sun. This means that if we want to live in harmony
and show love and respect to others and otherforms of life, we must learn to make a conscious
effort to love and respect ourselves first. When we come to see ourselves as the pure,
wonderful and unique creations we are, wefind it difficult to ignore this purity in
others. Further to this, we seek to understand and
appreciate them rather than judge and criticise. In doing so, you will find you can show unconditional
positive regard not only to people you likebut also to those you find irritating or people
you don’t deem to be deserving of your loveor respect. All living creatures are equally important,
and they require equal respect. Trying to dominate and control all life only
leads you away from enlightenment and youwon’t find peace in the midst of a struggle
for control and furthermore, a truly spiritualperspective would tell us that love is freedom. Natural Sincerity
In the words of Lao Tzu “When pure sincerityforms within, it is outwardly realized in
other people’s hearts”This particular virtue manifests itself as
honesty, simplicity, and authenticity. It basically states to stay true to who you
really are, and not to allow outside forcesto sway you. Lao Tzu suggests that the only way to live
harmoniously with the Universe is to tellthe truth which can be anything but pleasant. In our modern world, we are often so caught
up in the daily grind, that we tend to easilydisconnect from our true selves. It is very easy to get emotionally deprived
in this fast paced society with a lifestylethat leaves very little time for making truly
deep emotional bonds. In order to fill this gap, we tend to go around
pleasing people while losing ourselves inthat process. This is the exact situation in which some
of Lao Tzu’s wisdom can truly help us growand heal. Being true to yourself means making choices
that reflect a respect and affection for yournature. We often make choices that do not honor our
nature, which Is the real you. In Taoism, these are called dishonest choices. It’s easy to go with what others think or
want as opposed to what you feel you shouldbe doing. However, as soon as you make a dishonest choice,
you start to feel an inner discomfort andbefore long, you are worried, anxious and
resentful. This is because caring too much about what
other people think of you goes directly againstthe flow. By doing that we are trying to bargain with
the sacred universe by forcefully and perhapssubconsciously trying to manipulate others
into liking us, so we can get our emotionalneeds met. The only right way to go about things is by
being sincerely able to walk the walk andtalk the talk, meaning being able to live
out what you believe in with your speech andyour actions. Being sincere and telling the truth might
not get you many friends, but it will getyou the real ones, and only real friends can
satisfy your emotional needs for belongingand intimacy. Lao Tsu also thought of sincerity as the most
important attributes of leadership. He thinks that if the leader of the people
is sincere and truthful, it will reflect inall of the community. He thinks that if the people disobey their
leaders and rebel against them, it is purelybecause their leadership is not sincere enough. A good leader preserves the ultimate reality,
embraces the Tao and thus promotes sincerity,and so the whole world follows him joyfully. The inspiring leader doesn’t tyrannically
impose orders, but he rather clarifies theinstructions on how to act to reach a common
goal that serves the greater good. The goal of Taoism is to be true to yourself. By accepting the truth about ourselves and
others, we not only find peace in this life,but we can help others along their paths as
well. 3. Gentleness
To quote Lao Tzu “The first is gentleness;the second is economy; and the third is shrinking
from taking precedence over others. ”Gentleness means simply being kind to all
life, and not coming from a place of egotisticaldesires. When we practice gentleness, we give up the
need to be right, because being kind is moreimportant than being correct. Lao Tsu put gentleness before everything else
and thought that a spiritual person is theone that does not interfere with the natural
flow of the Tao. To understand this natural flow, Taoists often
use the metaphor of water to observe its effortlesscapacity for following its own pathway, formlessly
and shapelessly adjusting to whatever it meetsalong the way. Water also sustains life. For humans and animals alike, water has a
cooling effect on the body, dissolving impurities,driving nutrients and waste around the body,
replenishing the balance within its energysystems and its reserves. Similarly, gentle people are often therapeutic
people, less punishing of others, more empathetic,flexible and adaptive. As with flowing water, they can preserve their
own character. On the other hand if you have been going against
the flow, acting on ego and trying to fightthe will of the universe, then you will most
probably find yourself in a very dark cornerfeeling desperate and depressed. Since there is no happiness without sorrow,
as the Taoist principle of Yin and Yang wouldsuggest, Lao Tzu emphasized that every spirited
individual who has come out of the dark periodhas embraced the Tao and as a result has the
capacity to understand other people that arestuck in their own trials, hence the gentleness
arises as the core virtue in relation to otherpeople. If you scour the writings of Lao Tzu and Taoist
monks, you will come to a conclusion thatgentleness is the umbrella term that encompasses
forgiveness, acceptance and love. As an individual who accepted the ways of
the universe through your own trials and tribulations,you will be much more ready to forgive because
you understand the suffering of others. You have been there!You will learn to accept the differences and
treat every person as the messenger that conveysa spiritual message with their own mission
in life and treat them with respect they deserve. In today’s world we get so easily carried
away with our own ego and desires that weforget to be gentle and attuned to other people’s
needs. With all of the social media attention we
get, we turn into mini false celebrities eachwith our own spotlight that allows us to broadcast
our idealized phantom selves, while losingtouch with real life and continuing to inflate
our own egos. Since power, influence and number of followers,
or Facebook friends is the currency we respectand the language we understand, we can oh-so-easily
forget to tune in into other people’s needsbecause we are encouraged to be so self-centered. To be truly emotionally healthy and happy
you need to form close bonds with good peopleand the best way to do that is to be gentle
and understanding of other people’s needs,struggles and tribulations. We as modern people are also often guilty
of thinking that gentleness is weakness sincewe do not grasp the concept of sensitivity
the way we should do but we need to understandthat the key to true strength, the one that
dissolves the limitations of our own ego issensitivity itself. Again, as the staple of Taoist ideas, the
Yin Yang symbol would suggest, there is nonight without a dawn, so therefore, to be
truly strong you need to be vulnerable andsensitive first and without all those qualities
integrated, we cannot be truly spirituallyhealthy. The key to global change begins with the individual,
so start with your own life and surroundings. Be gentle to the planet, recycle all of the
plastics we use in our daily life. Go and donate some of your less used clothes
to the people in need. Instead of fulfilling your superfluous consumerist
desires, go and donate some money for a goodcause. But first, start with the small steps. Be gentle to yourself and your loved ones. If you happen to get in an argument, do remember
that kindness is more important than beingright and when you remind yourself of this,
you will no longer have a strong ego-inspireddesire to dominate or control others, which
will allow you to move into a rhythm withthe universe. 4. Supportiveness
As we learn from Lao Tzu “Giving to othersselflessly and anonymously, radiating light
throughout the world and illuminating yourown darkness, your virtue becomes a sanctuary
for yourself and all beings”This virtue manifests in your life as service
to others without any expectation of reward. This virtue is the basic tenet of humanity
as it is about cultivating the spirit of serviceto others. Instead of thinking only of one’s own good,
supportiveness is about channeling all thegood things you find within yourself and sharing
them to other people so you make their livesbetter. Our modern lifestyle and our connections are
often represented as a ‘’rat race’’in pop culture. We are all guilty of going our own way without
much care for our fellow man. For the first time ever, we have developed
enough technology and scientific solutionsthat we generally have more leisure time and
options than ever before, but despite allof the superabundant goods we have at our
disposal, in doing so we have sunk into selfishnessand self-centeredness, resulting in a counterintuitively
large amount of people reporting feeling depressed. Through the lens of Taoist teachings, the
problem is quite simple to define. In search of their greedy wishes, the people
have turned against each other. This whole civilization was built upon human
interaction and cooperation. Nowadays, that very pillar of our society
is crumbling and people feel more and moredesperate and alienated. The diagnosis is very clear. Instead of letting excuses or selfishness
like I’ don’t have enough money, I amtoo tired, I don’t have time or what will
I get back in return dominate our life, weneed to shift our attention off of ourselves
by asking this one simple question: How mayI serve?When you do so, the message you’re sending
is: I’m not thinking about myself and whatI can or can’t have. Your attention is on making someone else feel
better. Supportiveness is not just related to giving
away your money. It is also about simple gestures like being
there for someone, listening to somebody’sproblems, or donating things that you no longer
need. The very thing that fuels our goal-getting
Yang energy is the nice feeling of belongingand togetherness. There is no better way to belong than to be
supportive of your fellow man. There are many ways you can connect with people
in order to work for a greater non-profitcause. Regardless of your religious beliefs or political
ideology, there is certain common ground wecan all agree upon. For instance, there is a very low probability
of finding someone that disagrees that somethingmust be done in order to preserve our natural
world, and that it has been compromised forquite a long time now. As a result, there are now many eco-activist
groups in the world, known for being a greatsource of adventure and bonding time, while
doing it under a flag of a great cause. When you concentrate on what good you can
do to others without thinking of getting anythingin return, you will find joy in serving other
people. Sometimes, just being there for other people,
is already enough for them. The basic need of human kind is to be spiritually
healthy and you cannot be spiritually healthywithout relying on others and therefore supporting
others. These four virtues, if fully embraced, will
bring much happiness to your life. Each one of them brings a powerful way of
being that illumines a path to happiness. The four cardinal virtues are a road map to
the simple truth of the universe. So, if you enjoyed this video, please do make
sure to check out the full Philosophies forLife channel and for more videos to help you
find success and happiness using ancient philosophicalwisdom, don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you so much for watching.

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