Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu (Philosophy) - Living Without Difficulties

Utopie

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I just typed this out today from a book I am reading for a friend who I tought might get some comfort from it as she is going through a few trials and tribulations. Seeing as I spent half an hour typing it out I though I might as well post it here too as we are all normally going through some kind of trial at some point in our lives.

For those of you who don't know, Lao Tzu (lau zu) was a Chinese philosopher who around 5000 years ago wrote the Tao Te Ching (dow day ging)as a series of verses or poems to give people guidance and wisdom to live life in harmony with nature and as nature.

You miight have heard of Confucius, who was similar, but he wrote a list of rules much like the Bible, in order to guide people through life; Lao Tzu asked to people look around them at nature and ask questions of themselves. The Tao (dow) describes the spirit of life which flows through everything and everyone in the universe.

Anyway, a few people might be thinking this is more mumbo jumbo after the recent orb and ghost posts; It isn't, this is philosophy and hopes to stimulate your mind, make you think and maybe inspire you, like poetry or a painting perhaps! This isn't religion so would be apprechiated if you don't say anything at all unless you have something nice to say....:)

Oh, if it goes down well and people want, I could type one out a week! Yeahhhh, maybe not ;) anyway, here it is.


63rd Verse – Living Without Difficulties.
Practice nonaction.
Work without doing.
Taste the tasteless.
Magnify the small, increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.
See simplicity in the complicated.
Achieve greatness in little things.
Take on difficulties while they are still easy;
do great things while they are still small.
The sage does not attempt anything very big,
and thus achieves greatness.
If you agree too easily, you will be little trusted;
because the sage always confronts difficulties,
he never experiences them.

This verse conveys so much with an economical use of words. Every time I read what Lao-tzu is saying here, I feel that it’s impossible for me to experience difficulties in my life if I’m willing to accept his sage advice. He counsels that we learn to think in moments, rather than in days, weeks, months, years, decades, or a lifetime. All we ever get right now – that’s it. So we must avoid the inclination to magnify tiny events or worry about a future that may never arrive. It’s the little things that make all the difference in our world, and keeping life simple replaces chaos. As Lao-tzu reminds us, “See simplicity in the complicated... do great things while they are still small.”

I’ve followed that advice while working on this book. As you might imagine, writing individual essays on the 81 verse of one of the most revered and enduring spiritual texts has been a daunting task! A project like this involves at least a year of daily researching, reading, writing, and revising. Yet instead of focusing on the challenges of this project, I choose to “see simplicity” and “take on difficulties while they are still easy.” I immerse myself in a single verse in the morning, allowing the words to flow through my heart and onto the page. I feel like I’ve mastered the ironic conclusion of this 63rd passage, which says that difficulties are not experienced when they’re confronted.

This, then, is the wisdom of this verse: There’s no such thing as difficulty when you live in the present moment, doing only what you can right now. So examine your thoughts about what you call the troubles in your life. Can you shift to thinking of every undertaking as not only manageable, but easy and small as well? After all, how do you pursue a difficult course of study that will take several years to complete? By not projecting yourself into the future or using your present moments to worry. How do you get through the long, difficult process of giving birth to a child? Moment by moment. I’ve watched my wife do just that during the years she was either pregnant or nursing, delivering five children in eight years. As Lao-tzu teaches, if you don’t attempt anything big, you will achieve greatness.

Almost every morning I do a 90 minute hot yoga class with 26 postures and two breathing exercises. Now an hour and a half of intense activity in a room that’s more than 105 degrees can seem not only big, but very difficult as well. I’ve learned to change the way I think about this daily routine I enjoy so much, and now I find it to be easy. As the first breathing exercise begins, I keep my mind and body totally focused on what I’m doing in the opening moment. If my mind wants to wander to what I’ll be doing in an hour, I just bring it back to the present. I look in the mirror and remind myself that this exercise or posture is small and simple. Bingo – difficult is out of the picture!
By practising in the present moment and training myself to stay in a state of simplicity, I’ve made my 90 minute yoga class a snap. I’ve achieved what I consider to be greatness in the little progressions and improvements that have evolved naturally. It’s confronted what might have been thought of as tough. The result is that I don’t experience difficulty.

Lao-tzu urges you to change the way you look at your 21st century world by doing the following:

Look for the simplicity in what you call complicated by seeing that in this moment, it’s not hard.​

Change your preoccupation with tomorrow, along with all of the tomorrows that compromise your future. My friend Byron Katie (whose husband, Stephen Mitchell, created a wonderful translation of the Tao Te Ching that I’ve incorporated in this book) gave me my favourite definition of insanity: “To believe that you need what you don’t have is insane.” I’d add, “Believing that you can’t be content and happy now because your future appears to you to be difficult is another form of insanity.”

Look at what you have and realise that you’re obviously fine in this moment – “You have no problems, though you think you have.”

Think small​

Change the notion of “thinking big” to “thinking small and getting things done.” Examine whatever it is that seems so enormous that it terrifies you to start. Then shift your thinking to see what can be done today in your precious present moments, completely ignoring the overall picture. Your accomplishments will magnify into greatness when you undertake the small; by doing so, you’ll paradoxically see huge results.

Do the Tao Now​

Set aside time today to focus on the biggest challenge in your life. Break down whatever it is to one thing that can be done today, right in this moment. Erase the big picture – simply do what you can now and let everything else fade. Write the opening paragraph of your novel. Lay out your blueprint for the home you want to build. Sign up for one course at a local educational institution. Go for a two minute run. Be in the now. See how doing the Tao at this moment brings big results by paradoxically staying small and simple.
 

Evastar

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Thanks, i was thinking of buying this book and have looked at it in the bookshop a few times, would love you to post excerpts regularly :)
 

Evastar

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The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

Not sure if i should start a new thread on this, or just continue on here, these are some quotes from 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle, brilliant book, i would recommend it highly:

* "I cannot tell you any spiritual truth that deep within you don't know already. All I can do is remind you of what you have forgotten" - Page 6

* "The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly—you usually don't use it at all. It uses you." - Page 13

* "all the things that truly matter — beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace — arise from beyond the mind" - Page 14

* "All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness" - Page 19

* "Emotion arises at the place where mind and body meet. It is the body's reaction to your mind — or you might say, a reflection of your mind in the body" - Page 20

* "It wasn't through the mind, through thinking, that the miracle that is life on earth or your body were created and are being sustained" - Page 20

* "You may not yet be able to bring your unconscious mind activity into awareness as thoughts, but it will always be reflected in the body as an emotion, and of this you can become aware." - Page 22

* "Love, joy, and peace cannot flourish until you have freed yourself from mind dominance" - Page 24

* "Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within" - Page 24

* "Pain is inevitable as long as you are identified with your mind" - Page 25

* "Nobody’s life is entirely free of pain and sorrow. Isn’t it a question of learning to live with them rather than trying to avoid them?

The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.

The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind." - Page 27

* "Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath" - Page 32

* "The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger. It comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now." - Page 35

* "an emotion is the body's reaction to your mind" - Page 36

* "Power over others is weakness disguised as strength. True power is within, and it is available to you now" - Page 36

* "The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you." - Page 37

* "Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to "die before you die" — and find that there is no death" - Page 38

* "When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you seek your self in it and mistake it for who you are" - Page 40

* "To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: the compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation" - Page 40

* "Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be" - Page 41

* "Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now" - Page 41

* "The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future — which, of course, can only be experienced as the Now"- Page 50

* "Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are cause by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence" - Page 50

* "To be free of time is to be free of the psychological need of past for your identity and future for your fulfillment" - Page 59

* "Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place" - Page 64

* "Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally" - Page 68

* "You cannot find yourself by going into the past. You can find yourself by coming into the present" - Page 75

* "...words in themselves are not important. They are not the Truth; they only point to it" - Page 85

* "Don't get stuck on the level of words. A word is no more than a means to an end. It's an abstraction. Not unlike a signpost, it points beyond itself" - Page 90

* "At the deepest level of Being, you are one with all that is" - Page 105

* "...the ultimate purpose of the world lies not within the world but in the transcendence of the world" - Page 117

* "You find God the moment you realize that you don't need to seek God" - Page 122

* "[Relationships] do not cause pain and unhappiness. They bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you" - Page 127

* "As far as inner transformation is concerned, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot transform yourself, and you certainly cannot transform your partner or anybody else. All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter" - Page 131

* "Whenever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it, although you may not see it at the time" - Page 147

* "It seems that most people need to experience a great deal of suffering before they will relinquish resistance and accept — before they will forgive." - Page 149

* "You must have failed deeply on some level or experienced some deep loss or pain to be drawn to the spiritual dimension. Or perhaps your very success became empty and meaningless and so turned out to be a failure" - Page 152

* "Nothing out there will ever satisfy you except temporarily and superficially, but you may need to experience many disappointments before you realize that truth" - Page 155
 

Utopie

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Some good stuff there to ponder over, stretch the legs on your brain...

I like the secret of life is to "die before you die" bit - that most people only understand this when they are near death. Also like the bit where he says if you could ask an eagle what time it is, the eagle would laugh and say 'why, the time is now.'

Ohh, and one I heard yesterday whilst watching a random UK rap video on YouTube "We're all gonna die anyway, so what's the point in living?" - simple and classic question which just opens 10,000 more questions no doubt.
 
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Evastar

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@cheeky monkey, no it isn't, would you be more likely to read the books if i said it was?
 

Evastar

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lmao, it's the internet, believe what you want to believe ;)

it's still a very good book :)
 

Munkey

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@ madeinbeats

What style of yoga do you practice and how long have you been a practitioner?

Do you train in any other soft arts and if you do, how would you compare them?
 
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