Taoism (pronounced Daoism) is an ancient tradition of philosophy, which promotes a way of living that is balanced, moral, spiritual and works for all facets of life. The keystone work of this philosophy is the Tao Te Ching, a short Chinese text that contains 81 verses.
It is said that the book is ascribed to Lao Tzu, and the Tao Te Ching is now widely perceived as the wisest book ever written.
It is one of the most translated books in the history of publishing, having been translated over 14,000 times.
Lao Tzu had visions of how to live peacefully, with a close connection to nature, the universe and all of humanity. One of the main things he taught was to be more flexible, and to flow with life, not against it.
Take Verse 76:
A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.
Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.
Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.
The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.
Flow With Life
What Lao Tzu meant by this was that we can take a lot of guidance from nature. Trees, for example, are soft and flexible in life and dry and fragile in death. We are not supposed to be rigid; Lao Tzu was telling us to flexible in all areas of life –thinking, spirituality and emotionally. Flexibility is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves.
If you focus too much upon labels, career titles and money, what happens if you lose those things? You lose yourself.
The Tao says that which can be named is not the Tao. As soon as you place a label on someone, you restrict your estimation of them as a person, and they are expected to live up to the label you have given them.
We didn’t come into the world with any preconceptions – we had no idea about race, religion or background when we were born. It is only when we grow older and learn about the likes of religion, colour, social status and indeed job status that we cling to these things, and we even believe they define us. We segment ourselves into groups and shun people who don’t fit into the same bracket as us.
The Tao Te Ching says forget the rules, and flow in whichever way life takes you.
Unpeel the Layers
We are already connected to everything in our lives that we think is missing, such as love, happiness and inner peace, we just have to align ourselves.
Lao Lzu taught that we are like an onion, and we must unpeel the different layers of skin to become free. Once we become free, of the ego especially, we find all of the things we had been longing for flowing into our lives in abundance.
The Tao teaches that we should be humble, giving and kind, and sit back, relax and enjoy the journey of life.
Everything you have been through has made this very moment possible. The universe works in perfect order, there are never any mistakes; all of your experiences have served a purpose for you to learn from, and evolve as a spiritual being.
Become as flexible as you possibly can – being spiritual is about non-interference, and allowing the universe to work as it is intended to do. Let yourself live in the way that is envisioned for you. Not envisioned by you, but by the universe. When you are stiff and shy away from change, you aren’t experiencing all of the great things that were mapped out for you.
You have the option to enjoy every moment – allow it to happen and feel a sense of connectedness to the oneness of life.