Living The Wisdom Of The Tao Te Ching One Year Challenge
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Welcome to my online corner where together we live and share the wisdom of living The Tao Te Ching.
Before going to sleep at night I read a passage from the Tao Te Ching. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the Tao Te Ching is a classic Chinese philosophical text written by Lao Tzu in the 6th century BC. It’s relatively short, consisting of 81 passages. The book can be read in an afternoon but it takes a lifetime to master.
Over the years, its words have shaped my actions, decisions, perception and the direction of my life. At the same time, the simple yet profound words have guided me by giving me an awareness and deeper understanding of life, people and all experiences.
What Is The Tao Te Ching?
According to history and tradition, The Tao Te Ching (pronounced Dow te jing) was written around 6th century BC by the Chinese sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu).
The 81 short verses are a fundamental text for both philosophical and religious Taoism, and have strongly influenced other schools of religion and spirituality, such as Legalism, Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism. Many creative and Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and even gardeners have used the Tao as a source of inspiration.
As more and more people connect to Tao Te Ching, its influence has spread worldwide and is amongst the most translated works in world literature.
The Tao Te Ching was originally written in calligraphy, and the Chinese symbols have been reinterpreted many times – which is why you will find many versions of the Tao Te Ching.
Tao translates to “the Way”.
Te means “virtue”, “personal character,” “inner strength” or “integrity.”
Ching means “great book.”
I have read several versions of the Tao Te Ching and I personally connect with Stephen Mitchell’s translation and the way Dr Wayne Dyer explains the Tao. You can also head over to Taoism.net for the full 81 verses.
The Fundamentals Of The Tao Te Ching:
Tao cannot be defined, perceived, or clearly conceived. Tao is the root of all things, but all things are not Tao. To truly live within the Tao is to be open, unlimited and undefined. There is no need to label anything – rather, choose to see it as ‘just is’.
Tao is the way of the universe; the norm, the rhythm, and the force behind and in all of nature. It is spirit not matter. It is an inexhaustible energy that flows stronger the more it is drawn upon. It is unconditional love and gives life to all things; it is the Mother of the World.
Finally, Tao is the way of human life as it meshes with the Tao of the universe (Smith 126). It is about living in alignment with your own true nature.
The goal of Taoism is to attain harmony with yourself and the world. Taoism is centred around nature, the natural rhythm of life and living in alignment with your own ‘true nature’. It is about reaching a deep sense of inner peace so that your ego is no longer dependent upon wealth, accolades or social realms. It is the only path to true happiness and inner peace.
Tao is not a religion; it is a way of life. It accepts and includes all gods, deities, divine beings, spirits and souls. The deep root of all things has Tao. To embrace Tao is to become Tao. Tao is the source of everything, but everything is not Tao.
Spontaneity is the way of living things and rigidity is the way of death. (Ni 1-3).
If you feel a strong urgency to take action or say something, Lao Tzu recommends you stay quiet.
If you feel like grasping tightly onto something you want, Lao Tzu recommends you release your grip and be patient.
If you feel the need to prove your worth (telling people about your achievements and so forth), Lao Tzu gently reminds us to remain quiet and speak from a place of humbleness.
Become less so you can become more…Become quiet so you can hear more…Live more simply so that you can do more…Live the Tao today.
How To Live The Wisdom Of The Tao Te Ching:
I gently urge you to live The Tao Te Ching for an entire year. There are 81 verses – so focus on one verse every 3-4 days. Spend a short time every morning reading a verse of The Tao Te Ching. Meditate and reflect on the message. Remember; don’t overcomplicate the process by overthinking. Instead ‘just allow’, trust your own nature and let the wisdom rise within, then act accordingly. Invite the Tao to join you for your entire day as you go about your everyday chores. Then on the third or fourth day creatively express your interpretation of the verse – you can write a short essay, record an audio, draw, paint and so forth – express yourself in whatever means you are called upon.
Overtime I will be sharing my interpretation of each verse via both an essay and podcast. I invite you to share your interpretation via the comments below or by writing about your experience in your own blog.
Now….the fun bit. Its time to shift the world gently through one small message at a time. After you have defined the verse I urge you to share some of the wisdom in some way – keep it small so that it can easily be digested by others. It may be a short insightful sentence with a friend/work colleague etc. Maybe a facebook status. Maybe blog about it, make an audio, design a beautiful quote graphic or paint a picture.I am super excited that you have decided to join me on the one year Tao Te Ching Challenge. Whether you are completely new to this ancient practice or have been studying it for some time – either way I know you will get some value out of it.
By contemplating and practicing the verses in The Tao Te Ching my life has changed drastically. It has caused me to ‘shift’ entirely – from how I view the world, myself and all of life. It has inspired me to live more gently and sail more freely with the ebbs and flows of life.
It is important to remember that the Tao Te Ching is not a religion in any way or form. In fact many religions have taken aspects of the Tao and woven them into their own spiritual practices (buddhism is a great example of that). So whether you are a non-believer, devoted christian, practicing buddhist or a muslim – you can still study the verses of the Tao Te Ching while practicing your own faith.
The Tao is a way of life – not a religion.
Tools You Will Need.
Here are some resources which will guide you throughout your practice. These are resources I use myself and I highly recommend you follow them up yourself.
Grab a Tao Te Ching Guidebook
I personally connect with Wayne Dyers interpretation of the Tao. His version has helped me immensely. I strongly recommend that you invest in Wayne Dyers version of Living The Wisdom Of The Tao Te Ching. You can buy it as:
- Audio ebook at itunes: This is what I have on my iphone and I just love it. It is great for listening to 5 minutes everytime I find myself waiting around – appointments/train/plane and so forth. You can buy the audio here.
- ibook from itunes: These are great if you want a digital copy to take around with you on your phone, tablet or computer. You can buy the ibook here
- Hardcover book: If you would like to have a copy of Wayne Dyers book delivered to the comfort of your door step then I recommend using Book Depository world wide service. Click here to order book.
- Alternately you may enjoy Stephen Mitchells translation. His interpretation is modern, readable, and particularly accessible for those new to the text. Click here
- I love to contemplate the verses over some beautiful meditation music. I love the healing sounds and singing bowls of the Moses Code here.
Before the challenge I also recommend:
Reading through the posts from the free 30 Day Simple Living Challenge to help simplify your busy monkey mind and overall life.
Getting in the habit of setting a daily positive intent to help you keep focus. Try my workbook here.
Delve deeper into finding your own interpretation. Here are five different interpretations of the Tao Te Ching CLICK HERE
Thank you for joining me into the ancient and wise world of The Tao Te Ching. A Tao centred world is one of peace, love and kindness – it benefits both the planet and its people. I hope this challenge serves you in some small way and I send you my blessing and sincerest love for your adventure towards a more Tao centred life.
Work Your Way Through The 81 Verses
The Verse: The spirit that never dies is called the mysterious feminine. Although she becomes the whole universe, her […]Read More ›
The Verse: Heaven and Earth are impartial; they treat all of creation as straw dogs. The Master doesn’t take sides; […]Read More ›
Verse Four: The Tao is like an empty container: it can never be emptied and can never be filled. Infinitely […]Read More ›
If you overly esteem talented individuals, people will become overly competitive. If you overvalue possessions, people will begin to steal. […]Read More ›
When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises When it knows good as good, evil arises Thus being and […]Read More ›
The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao The name that can be named is not […]Read More ›
How To Subscribe And Access All Simple Luxe Living Audio Episodes View in iTunes [click here] If you would […]Read More ›