The Tao Te Ching for Everyday Living
by Dan Casas-Murray
April 9, 2021 2:00 pm
Email the podcast: DailyTaoLife@gmail.com Welcome to the Tao Te Ching for Everyday Living. I’m your host, Dan Casas-Murray. This podcast is for the Tao Curious, those looking for a random bit of wisdom once in awhile, or for those who want to dive into this wonderful teaching.I’ve been studying the Tao Te Ching for just short of a year now, and have reconnected with a natural feeling of inner peace and contentment. I don’t hold a doctorate, nor am I qualified to teach anything about the Tao Te Ching – I’m just an ordinary person who has experienced the wonderful side effects of following the Tao. Since everyone’s experience with this wisdom is different, the only thing that I can hope for is that mine helps you to connect with the Tao in your own, unique, personal way. Feel free to listen to each episode a day at a time or any time you need a quick “Tao-shot.” You can listen while on your way to work or after that, when you’re winding down. It’s always a good time to observe the Tao.In each episode, we’ll do four things:1. We’ll read a verse of the Tao Te Ching2. Break it down into everyday language3. I’ll share my own thoughts and experience4. Apply the Verse with a couple of the many ways you can put the Tao into practice for yourself.That’s pretty much how I’ve been practicing the Tao every day – by listening to Lao Tzu, reflecting on his words of wisdom, listening to other comments, and trying to practice them in everyday life.
Tao Te Ching Verse 81
translated by Isabella Mears
Faithful words may not be beautiful,
Beautiful words may not be faithful.
Those who love do not quarrel,
Those who quarrel do not love.
Those who know are not learned,
Those who are learned do not know.
The riches of the self-controlled person are in the Inner Life.
When one spends for others, one has more for oneself.
When one gives to others, one has much more for oneself.
Heavenly Tao blesses all and hurts no one.
The way of the self-controlled person is to act and not to fight.
Photo by Nastya Dulhiier on Unsplash
In this final verse of the TTC, I feel like there are three things with which Lao Tzu leaves us:
The first is that when we are connected with Tao (which is always, btw), we can
See without looking
Listen without hearing
Feel without touching
Internalize without smelling or tasting
The second is the property of reflection – both internal and external to ourselves, which to me means that when I look inside, the Tao is reflected back. Ripples in a pond, while they emanate outward, always return to the source.
And the third is that emulating the Tao is the way to align ourselves with it, just like a magnet points toward the closest pole.
How do we practice all of this? That is our individual choice! Throughout the podcast, we have discussed different ways to put the principles into practice, and have acknowledged that those aren’t the only ways. In fact, I suspect that like the Tao, the number of ways I can use to practice those principles are infinite. In my short journey so far with the Tao, I have learned four centering mindsets that lead to different practices for different times, and I’ll leave them with you for your consideration:
– I must approach the Tao with as much sincerity as I can. It doesn’t matter how deeply sincere I am – just the best I can do in the moment is enough.
– I ask Tao for the willingness to see things a different way. I ask for awareness.
– I ask Tao to show me what I can do to practice.
– I ask Tao to help me be willing to practice once I know the way.
This is pretty much the cycle for me. It is simple, AND easy to do, at least most of the time. This mindset has helped me to become open to new ways of seeing things, new meditations, new contemplations, and what I feel is the coolest thing yet: being able to work with Tao to transmute my hangups, fears, and the negativity that has been with me since childhood into a loving, very real connection with myself, others, and the environment around me.
I am experiencing being human. It can be great. It can be horrifying. It can be incredibly beautiful. I can choose to do it alone. I can choose to do it with Tao. The choice is mine alone, and the action is mine to take.
Tao is impartial to my choice – so even Tao doesn’t influence my choice or action. How profoundly poignant is that? This is my journey. It is your journey. It is our journey. We all share this human experience, and yet we experience it individually. I am grateful that I have been willing enough to experience Tao in all its myriad forms. I am grateful for this human experience. I am grateful I can know compassion, contentment, and humility. I am grateful I have had this experience because of and with…you.
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