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A Summary of Tao Wisdom in Living

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Tao wisdom is based on “Tao Te Ching,” which is an ancient classic from China. The book was written thousands of years ago by Lao Tzu, a sage with all white hair (a sign of wisdom). According to the legend, the great philosopher was forced to put down his profound wisdom in writing before he was permitted to leave China for Tibet. Reluctantly, Lao Tzu concisely and succinctly expressed his unique wisdom in eighty-one short chapters with only five thousand words all told. As a testament to the significance and timelessness of his eternal wisdom, “Tao Te Ching” has been translated into many languages; as a matter of fact, this ancient classic has become one of the most translated works of world literature, probably only next to the English Bible in popularity.

What accounts for the immense popularity of Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching”?

First and foremost, the language is extremely simple and easy to read. His ideas are intriguing and thought-provoking. His wisdom is not only timeless but also universally applicable.

Despite the simplicity and conciseness of the language, many people find it difficult to understand Tao wisdom expressed in the short text; especially, it seems to have so many different interpretations of the text. Actually, understanding Taoism is not that difficult; all it requires is an empty mind. In other words, we must first empty our minds of any pre-conceived thinking before we can fully and truly intuit its profound wisdom. Just be prepared to expect the unexpected.

Here is a summary of Tao wisdom in living.

“Tao” means “the way” to wisdom-or “the way” to achieving just about anything in life. As opposed to conventional wisdom, the wisdom of Tao is exclusive and subjective. In other words, “the way” is unique to each individual-something like “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” That is to say, each individual has to discover or look within the self to find out what “the way” may look like, unlike conventional wisdom that provides a blueprint for many, if not for everybody. For this reason, wisdom cannot be acquired through knowledge, which is merely an accumulation of know-how from experts, let alone be taught or guided. Wisdom has to be intuited, assimilated, and internalized by an individual based on that individual’s unique life experience.

The key to intuiting the wisdom presented by Lao Tzu is abandoning the ego-self, or “non-attachment to the ego-self.”

Unlike conventional wisdom, which puts much emphasis on “self,” such as “self-esteem” and “self-confidence,” Tao suggests quite the opposite: the “non-attachment to self” because the “self” goes hand in hand with the “ego”-together, they create the “identity” of an individual. Once the “identify” is created, there comes the need to “preserve” or “protect” that “identity” due to the presence of the “ego” Thus, a host of other problems will subsequently follow.

Therefore, the first and the most important requirement is to have “no ego-self”-which is, however, most difficult to attain, because we are taught to be proud of who and what we are.

With “no ego-self,” you then have “no expectation” in life. To illustrate, if you have created an ego-self, such as “I am a doctor” or “I am a mother,” then subconsciously you have to, or you are “expected” to, live up to that image or the ego-self that you have unconsciously created in your mind’s eye.

With “no ego-self,” you will not be too concerned with material things that often qualify or attach to the “identify” you have created for yourself. In other words, you will become “non judgmental”-which is essentially not having to choose what you want and to reject what you do not want, or rather desiring what you think will enhance the ego-self, and avoiding what you think may damage your identity or image of the ego-self.

If you have “no expectation,” you need not exert extra effort to meet your expectations. With less effort, you have more time to yourself, and so you can live in the present moment, which is the essence of Tao wisdom in living. In contemporary wisdom, we are expected to do more in order to get more of what we want; in the wisdom of Lao Tzu, you do “less” for more-it is all about the spontaneity of things; you make nature work things for you, instead of working against the forces of nature, which is “non-doing.”

To conclude, Tao wisdom in living is to have no ego-self so that you can live in the present. With no ego-self, there is no expectation; with no expectation, you become non-judgmental, which is accepting and embracing the desirable as well as the undesirable in life; with non-judgmental, you appreciate non-doing; with non-doing, you can live in the present and in harmony with nature. So, Tao recommends no ego-self to live a no-stress life with no worry, no expectation, no judgment, and non-doing. This is the summary of Tao wisdom in living.

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Source by Stephen Lau

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