Written 2500 years ago by Lao Tse, the Tao is the story of the ying and the yang of our universe.
With outstanding insight Lao Tse was able to grasp the hidden fabric of the universe. He saw into that ephemeral reality and used the Tao as a way of explaining laws of universal behavior that brought desired results.
He wrote them in eighty one verses which relate the Tao to everyday living as well as government and politics. His advice was sought out by some of the highest officials of the land including the emperor.
He intoned about the nature of Tao meaning the inherent nature of the reality we experience and what is behind it.
The Tao says:
It stands alone and alters not.
It revolves eternally without exhaustion.
It is regarded as the Mother of all beings.
I do not know its name, except to call It Tao.
He was referring to the innate nature of the two forces evident to us all. The force for growth and the force for destruction.
In our own lives, we have the ability to choose which force we will follow and represent. Often that choice becomes blurred in the cut and thrust of everyday living.
It can be at times difficult to know what the right decision is. However, over the years, the words of the Tao have been well tested and proven correct.
In today’s fast-paced, technology-saturated existence, how does this have any relevance?
Its seems that the words still ring true because even though the tools have changed from swords and spears to iPhone and laptops the way humans react, behave and their results stay the same.
He sagely advises:
One who knows other people is wise.
One who knows himself is enlightened.
To overcome others is strong.
To overcome oneself is the will of power.
Lao Tse advised the Emperor Chua during the Tang dynasty and provided council on war, politics and managing the Dynasty. Rather than philosophy the Tao was directly applied to worldly matters.
His view on power is still relevant today as was all those years ago:
One who assists the ruler with the principle of Tao,
Will not use the force of arms to conquer the world.
For such affairs will result in cause and effect.
Wherever the armies touch the land, it is turned into a wasteland of thorns and brambles.
After a war is fought, bad years are sure to follow.
Therefore, one who follows the true nature will understand the principle of cause and effect and
shall not rely upon the strength of force.
By knowing the effect, thus one will not brag.
By knowing the effect, thus one will not boast.
By knowing the effect, thus one will not become arrogant.
So we can have a choice in every moment. In every decision, whether it is to do with our family, our partner, ourselves or our business, it can be guided by the universal principle that is Tao.
It means to seek balance in each decision, to ensure that the frame of mind we are in when making that decision is balanced and not influenced by the Yang or negative. Often expressed by greed, jealousy anger or avarice.
Otherwise the results will follow the principle of Tao what you put out, you get back. Put out negativity get it back again.
I’ll leave you with a final thought from Lao tse.
The universal Tao has no name.
Although it appears in the plainest and may seem small,
It is inferior to nothing.
If the kings and marquises can abide by the Great Tao,
All beings shall act as guests and submit to them.
Heaven and earth will then be in harmony and shall descend sweet dew.
People will not require command and orders,
Yet can treat each other equally with peace.
Brett Jones is the author of The Awaken Book.