Our minds create nonstop. That is their job. The trick is, rather than attaching to our opinions or the stories our brains spin for our amusement, we instead, pay attention and acknowledge we are more than our thoughts. For the most part, to observe and adjust our perception is a full-time occupation. However, mindful awareness holds us in the moment, on task and hence, in the now. Bil Keane, creator of the cartoon, The Family Circle, depicts this esoteric idea into a simple quote, “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” By using the Tao Te Ching and applying its themes, we have yet another tool or means for seeking self-fulfillment and quieting our minds.
My favorite lines appear in verse number 51:
“Every being in the universe is an expression of the Tao. It springs into existence, unconscious, perfect, free, takes on a physical body, lets circumstances complete it. That is why every being spontaneously honors the Tao.
The Tao gives birth to all beings, nourishes them, maintains them, cares for them, comforts them, protects them, takes them back to itself, creating without possessing, acting without expecting, guiding without interfering. That is why love of the Tao is in the very nature of things.”
I immerse myself in the flow of the Tao.
THINK ACTION: Check the references at the back of this book. Find one or two copies and different translations of the Tao Te Ching this week at the library. Skim or browse through them. Pick one or two verses to contemplate and write in your journal why the stanza or passage spoke to you. The duet of phrases in the chapters show the duality of nature, the yin and the yang, the pull and the push. Where do you notice the paradoxes in your career, in yourself, in your relationships? In your view, do you resist or flow with life? Would you consider referring to the Tao Te Ching as a meditative exercise or ritual? I once wrote the numbers 1-81 onto tiny squares of paper and filled a box. Each day, I retrieved a number and read that verse. It was a fresh way to re-examine the passages. I suggest you turn this custom into writing prompts or for discussions in a spiritual study or reading group. You may similarly identify your favorite lines, transcribe them and place them on a corkboard or reproduce them in fancy calligraphy and frame them. What a wonderful gift for a like-minded friend or yourself.