The Tao Te Ching is a timeless classic. This book is 100 odd pages of poetically distilled wisdom from the 6th century B.C. Chinese sage Lao Tzu. Although the Tao Te Ching has received much hyped attention in recent years from various modern-day gurus and charlatans alike, it is worthy of the great reputation that precedes it. Beneath the witty, pithy aphorisms, lies deep truth and profound insight into human behavior. Lao Tzu covers a wide spectrum of human experience from love and peace to war and governance. My favorite parts of the text were chapters 30, 41 and 67, which deal with approval and self-acceptance, the Tao itself and it’s universality, and the three keys to the Tao (simplicity, patience and compassion).
“The Master does his job and then stops. He understands the universe is forever out of control, and that trying to dominate events goes against the current of the Tao. Because he believes in himself, he doesn’t try to convince others. Because he is content with himself he doesn’t need others’ approval. Because he accepts himself, the whole world accepts him.”
“The Tao is nowhere to be found. Yet it nourishes and completes all things”
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and in thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.”
When reading this book I found myself often pausing as I went along to reflect on the various nuggets of wisdom imparted by Lao Tzu. Although one can comfortably read through the Tao Te Ching in an hour, I would recommend actually taking your time to let it sink in and marinate in your mind. Indeed it is a book I will definitely come back to from time to time. The Tao Te Ching is a beautifully written reminder of how we are all connected by a universal intelligent source or subconscious mind, which is often easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of our lives.
Have you read the Tao Te Ching? What were your favorite chapters? How did it affect your perspective in life? Please share your thoughts in a comment.