Can you embrace life without controlling it? Can you reach your goals without forcing them? The life lessons from Lao Tzu will inspire you in life!
Lao Tzu – the eminent philosopher of the far east and the founder of Taoism. He has influenced several schools of thought, not only in China but worldwide. Though it has been centuries since his last breath, the teachings of Lao Tzu are still applicable in our modern social and psychological environment.
Let The Tao Be Present In Your Country, And Your Country Will Prosper –Lao Tzu
8 Life Lessons From Lao Tzu Philosophy
1. Victory Is Of The One Who Can Let It Go
“Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go. She has but doesn’t possess, acts but doesn’t expect.” – Lao Tzu
Our life is in our in our hands. We make our own fortunes. However, individual events and outcomes are not in our control.
They are subject to randomness, not determinism. So, it is not wise to form attachments and cling to these fleeting events. Let them pass. Nothing is constant. Things come and go in no time. You have to allow things to flow in complete accordance with their intrinsic nature.
2. To Become Who You Might Be, Let Go Of Who You Are
“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tzu
You think you know who you are. But in reality, we live in a fabricated world, where we’re molded into something else and made to believe that the mold is our true self.
This illusion can only be warded off if we let go of who we are and allow the natural flow of the universe to guide us in the right direction. This will bring about gradual transformation, and it is only then can your self truly unfold.
3. Give In Order To Get
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. – Lao Tzu
If you want to succeed in your journey of life, you have to make the effort.
This is the dynamic principle of opposites complementing each other. To strengthen, one must weaken first, to be rich, one must become poor first, etc.
All these statements indicate that Lao Tzu was one of the very few wise men who could grasp the world beyond the opposites.
He never saw opposite poles in conflict with each other, but saw them as complementary forces acting in accordance with the natural flow of the cosmos. Here, he tells us to apply this wisdom in everyday life to overcome all circumstantial difficulties.
4. Knowing Others Is Knowledge, Knowing Yourself Is Wisdom
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” – Lao Tzu
In this day and age, we are more concerned with others and the external affairs associated with them. While we become increasingly familiar with the outer world, our inner world remains unexplored. We fail to give time to ourselves and know ourselves better.
It is always a good thing to know about others, but the self is equally important as far as soul-body balance is concerned. The mind is hardwired into believing that the tangible world is all that there is, but in reality, we have a self that almost always remain concealed in the dark. Lao Tzu asks us to wake up from this darkness and shed light on our self. For that, in essence, is true wisdom.
5. When You Realize All Things Fade, You Cling To None
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” — Lao Tzu
As mentioned earlier, the world is a stream of fleeting events. There is hardly anything outside of yourself that is permanent by nature. Constant is the soul. While transient is everything that revolves around it.
Getting attached and holding onto these momentary events yield nothing but sorrow. Cut the root of the tree and its leaves fall.
Cut the root of the mind and watch your attachments fade away. All worldly things are nothing but phantoms. Substance they have none. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you attain bliss.
6. Rush Leads To Failure
If you make hasty decisions based on what others will think of you, then you’re bound to lose the race of life.
Lao Tzu was one of the earliest philosophers to realize that rushing ahead one only loses. Forcing a project to its completion, ruins what is almost ripe.
He tells us that whatever progress we make in our lives, we need to acknowledge that. We must not hassle in order to taste the final fruit, else it will lay waste to whatever we have accomplished.
7. Desperate For Recognition, You Dim Your Own Light
“Silence is a source of great strength.” – Lao Tzu
We live in the age of social media. This is a time when we demand attention and recognition more than ever. Everywhere you look, there’s only chaos. People are engaged in an aggressive attempt of getting people influenced by their ideas.
They are concerned with image and recognition more than contentment. This results in temptation for material gains that eventually ruins a person’s emotional and spiritual health. The light, the aura of our self is destroyed in this pursuit and we are left with perpetual hollowness.
8. Give No Resistance, The Problem Will Disappear By Itself
“Because she competes with no one, no one can compete with her.” – Lao Tzu
This seemingly impractical idea actually comes with a twist. It can be best understood when we take into account the way water flow around its obstacles.
If you observe carefully, you’ll find that water flows past every obstacle that comes its way, providing some degree of passive resistance at the same time.
While we humans have learnt to tackle problems head on, what we haven’t is the art of going past it. This is the same art taught in judo and aikido schools of eastern martial arts.
They reason, that like the water that eventually erodes the obstacles by providing passive force, so too, can martial artists and people in general can learn to be absent on the face of looming problems and use the very obstacle in overcoming them.
We hope that these Taoist life lessons from Lao Tzu help you in life and inspire you when you need them. Share your thoughts in the comments below about the teachings of Lao Tzu!