The philosophy of Taoism, (pronounced Dow-ism) founded in ancient times by an elusive figure known only as Lao-Tzu (The Old Teacher), holds the key to helping us get rid of the stress in our everyday lives. Taoists throughout Asian history have made a huge impact on the countries they lived in and the lives they touched. They were and are renowned for their ability to triumph over difficult situations without buckling and for their ability to create wholesome and stress-free lifestyles for themselves.
In this preliminary lesson, we’ll be looking at what the Tao of Taoism is, and how we can try to understand it. This will build the foundation of your further introduction to Taoism. The word Tao means “Way,” with a capital W. It signifies the understanding that there is a Great Way to the workings of the universe. Many people take this to mean a belief in predestination or fate, but this isn’t exactly correct. This Great Way is best imagined as a wide river flowing to the sea. Throughout the river are different sorts of flows – fast, strong, weak, eddying, crashing waterfalls. Does the water choose these flows? Does it choose where it will eddy, and how, and for how long? No, of course it doesn’t. It just is.
The flow of the river, from the day the first hints of a river appeared in that place to the time we encounter it as the wide and powerful thing it is today, has not been designed by the river. Like this river, the Great Way, the Tao, is an organic flow to all of the energy and life in the universe. For the most part, it is a subtle undercurrent, moving slowly along beneath all things. It is certainly possible to swim upstream in a slow current and successfully make it to wherever you are headed without being swept away. You will certainly be conscious of the energy you use up swimming against the current. If you were to pit yourself against that slow river and try to swim upstream, against the current, you would need superhuman endurance to go very far, for the river does not tire or even TRY to move you. Even superhuman endurance is weak in comparison to the power of the slow steady river. The Tao can be thought of as a river of life. All living things exist in and are part of the Tao, part of a greater whole. Individual organisms are all part of the ebb and flow of life within the Tao.
Think of yourself as a swimmer in the great river. If you strive against the current to move around, you will greatly increase the difficulty of getting to your goal. This is not to say that you should just float along, since that would be leaving everything to chance – the river doesn’t know where it is taking you; it doesn’t even know that it is taking you. The more you fight the flow, the more tired you become. Now that you know this, you can begin to observe it as it happens in your life. Through the rest of my lessons, we’re going to explore the ways that you can use this Taoist look at the universe to change your life and make it how you want it to be.
Source by James A Kelley