81 Week Course to Re-New Your Mind - Tao Te Ching - The Chinese concept of yin and yang describes nature in daulities with two opposite, complementary, and interdependent forces. In other words, two halves balancing together that make a whole.

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Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Chapter 16, Empty your mind of all thoughts

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Chapter 16, Empty your mind of all thoughts


Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.
 
Each being in the universe
returns to the common Source,
to what is and what is to be.
Returning to the Source is serenity.
 
If you don’t realize the Source
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kind-hearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
 
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes you are ready.

Here we are urged to empty our mind of all thoughts, be aware of the turmoil around us and to realize something that most people don’t readily like to admit: that, like it or not, we’re all on a return trip. Returning is the nature of the Tao. A wave rises above the surface of the water but must ultimately return to that from which it came. So too it is with us. Lao Tzu calls this wellspring from which all life arises the ‘Source’.

Although we appear to be separate beings cut off from our Source, the truth is we shall all return to that Source, whether by physical death or by consciously aligning ourselves with it while we are still alive. This is called “dying before we die”. It allows us to consciously realize what we truly are. Many spiritual teachers over the centuries have highlighted this as the essence of spiritual awakening – simply, to know who and what we are.

Until we realize that from which we came, our lives are difficult and we stumble around in fear and sorrow. But when we realise where we came from – which is inseparable from what we are – we reach a state of peace with life. We naturally become tolerant, kind-hearted, disinterested (or detached, which simply means not unduly caught up in the transient comings and goings of life) and even amused by life.

In short, we are able to deal with whatever life throws our way because we are no longer caught up in the illusion that we are separate beings, disconnected from the whole, having to fight to survive in a hostile universe.

We no longer place undue emphasis on that which is but a transient dream, ever morphing and shifting – and, because we know what we are at the deepest level, we no longer fear death. Because we no longer fear death, we no longer fear life (which is really a far more tragic and crippling fear). Some have called this state of being ‘enlightenment’.

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Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Chapter 7, The Master puts herself last

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Chapter 7, The Master puts herself last


The Tao is infinite, eternal.
Why is it eternal?
It was never born;
thus it can never die.
Why is it infinite?
It has no desires for itself;
thus it is present for all beings.
 
The Master puts himself last;
that is why he ends up ahead.
He is detached from all things;
that is why he is one with them.
Because he stays a witness to life,
he is perfectly fulfilled.

What has never been born can never die. This applies to the Tao and it applies to us, as manifestations of the Tao. We’re told that we are born and will die and we assume this to be true. But upon closer inspection, we see that it although it is true for the body and its constituent parts, the same cannot be so easily said about the “I”, the formless awareness that comprises our being.

In essence we are consciousness, which operates through the brain and body but which is never actually born into form; it remains elusive, intangible, like an invisible vapor. Scientists can scan the brain and highlight the areas in which consciousness appears to operate, but this is no more than observing footprints in the sand. It tells us no more about that elusive essence than the footprints tell us about the person who left them.

We are the microcosm of the macrocosm; the Tao is the vastness of the universe and the essence behind and within all manifested forms. It is infinite and eternal, and it was never born (in spite of the appearance and dissolution of matter), and thus it can never die. It has no desires for itself, because it doesn’t see itself as separate from anything. At the deepest level it is all one, so all works in harmony. This is as true for us as it is for that which we call the ‘Tao’, because we are not separate from it; we are it.

The Master, fully realizing that he is one with the Tao, can see beyond the illusion of being a separate self, a separate ego, which is little more than a cluster of memories, thoughts, habits and conditioning. Aligned with the effortless action of the Tao, he gives and gives with no regard to this notion of being a separate ‘self’. Being detached from the myriad things of phenomenal existence, he is at one with all things.

Many of us spend our whole lives trying to make ourselves happier, more fulfilled, successful and balanced. One of the biggest secrets in life is simply this: the way to true, lasting fulfillment is to take a step back from this compulsive, obsessive trap of self-interest. When we instead focus on helping and serving others, we align ourselves with the essence of the Tao, which is not about taking, seeking and acquiring, but is about creating, giving and nurturing.

The Master realizes that true fulfillment and joy does not come from focusing on what we can get out of life, but by focusing on what we can give to life. As another translation offers:

“Serve the needs of others and all your own needs will be fulfilled. Through selfless action, fulfillment is attained.”

Please send us an e-mail to request the download link to the MP3 file. – E-mail: info@renewyourmind.co.za.

81 Week Course to Re-New Your Mind - Tao Te Ching - The Chinese concept of yin and yang describes nature in daulities with two opposite, complementary, and interdependent forces. In other words, two halves balancing together that make a whole.