Inspiration of the Week #61

December 31, 2012 through January 6, 2013

“The things we love, we have to learn to leave alone.”

2012 was a challenging year of work and of progress. I was unable to keep up with post and updates for this site due to an increased work load but the experiences proved to be valuable and have given me new perspectives on life. Early last year I read the Tao Te Ching, a book that I recommend for everyone to read, and was able to apply many of its principles to the different challenges I faced. I can honestly say that this “way of living” helped me get through all of the highs and lows with my spirit intact. This is why I would like to share with you the essence of living with the ‘Tao’ by posting this beautiful presentation from Dr. Wayne Dyer:

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

with Dr. Wayne Dyer.

12:26min – In the “Tao,” there’s a very famous line, the 40th verse of the “Tao” says, “returning is the motion of the Tao” so that all of us came from a divine spiritual essence — invisible. Everything in the world of form emanated from something that is formless. There was a split second when you went from non-being to being. And what Lao-Tzu was trying to teach was to be able to return to that place from which you came and live your life from the spiritual perspective and become a god-realized being.

13:12min – Eliot, once said, “we shall not cease from exploration. “And at the end of all of our exploring “will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time… for the first time.” What I’m asking you to do, and what Lao-Tzu seemed to be saying, was learn to die while you’re alive, because you will ultimately return. All of us have a return trip, a round-trip ticket when we came in, didn’t we? But if you could learn to die while you’re alive — and there’s a great story.

14:06min – To die while we are alive gives us the only opportunity we will ever have to get outside of this package that houses us temporarily. There’s an ancient parable that repeated generation after generation by the spiritual masters of india which illustrates this point. Listen to this wonderful story.

“A traveler from india went to africa to acquire some local products and animals, and while in the jungle, he saw thousands of beautiful multicolored talking parrots.

“He decided to capture a talking parrot and take it back as his pet.”

“At home, he kept his parrot in a cage, and he fed him and he gave him wonderful seeds and honey and played music for his pet.”

“And generally, he treated him very well.”

“When it was time for the man to return to africa two years later, he asked his parrot if there was any message that he could deliver to the parrot’s friends who were back in the jungle.”

“Well, the parrot told his master to say that he was very happy in his cage and that he was enjoying each day and to convey his love.”

“Well, when the traveler arrived back in africa, he delivered the message to the parrots back in the jungle.”

“Just as he finished his story, a parrot with tears welling up in his eyes fell over dead.”

“The man was alarmed, and he decided that the parrot must have been very close to the parrot in the cage and that this was probably the reason for the sadness and for his demise.”

“When the traveler returned to india, he told his pet what had happened.”

“As he finished his story,  the pet parrot’s eyes welled up with tears and he kneeled over dead in his cage.”

“The man was astounded, but he figured that his pet died from the despair of hearing of the death of his close friend back in the jungle.”

“The trader opened up the cage and tossed the dead bird outside onto the trash heap.
Immediately, the pet parrot flew up to a branch on the tree outside.”

“The trader said to him, ‘so, you’re not dead after all.”

“Why did you do that? You tricked me!”

And the parrot responded, “‘because that bird back in africa sent me a very important message’”,

“What was the message? the trader wanted to know.”

“‘He told me that if you want to escape from your cage, you must die while you are alive'”

“We must indeed die while we are alive. In order to be able to look back at our waking consciousness and see ourselves trapped in our cage, which in our case is our body, and then we will see how unnecessary it is to remain caged isn’t that a great story?”

19:05min – What I would like to do now is to look at some of the key thoughts that I would like you to think about and consider changing as you become a person who becomes more god-realized — that is, someone who has died but stayed alive and returned and went back on that return trip. The first of these thoughts to change is to change the idea that “I can’t trust in my own nature” ” did it ever occur to you that you have a nature, that that nature is so profound and is always calling you? You know it. No one else can know it. No one else can impose it on you. No one else can tell you what it is that you feel in here that you know is why you’re here and what you’re doing here. There’s no one else can explain that or explore that with you. You can’t share it.
Everything in the universe has a nature. Your dog has a nature. A crocodile has a nature. A duck has a nature. A crow has a nature. Everything has its nature. Everything has a dharma, including you.
But what we’ve learned and we’ve grown up to believe is that “I can’t trust ” my nature — to trust in your nature, to know that you came from a divine place of well-being and to trust in it. Listen to this — verse 38 of the “Tao,” a few lines. “The great master follows his own nature “and not the trappings of life.
“A truly good man is not aware of his goodness and is therefore good” Think about yourself, the first moment of life, the very first moment, that speck when you went from nowhere, n-o-w-h-e-r-e, to now here, n-o-w h-e-r-e. From nowhere to now here. Same thing — just a little question of spacing.

22:28min – But while you’re in that — and why wouldn’t you believe, even maybe for a second, that “not only was my physiology all handled for me, but everything else that I needed — if I could just stop interfering with it and stop other people from doing it” and that’s a big part of understanding “change your thoughts, ” it’s a big part of that, the idea that “I have a nature that I can trust, not something that I have to be afraid of.”

23:21min – We take on an ego — e-g-o. And we edge out and we say we’ll take over. And we have an ego, and this ego, what this ego does is it takes on a set of beliefs, and these beliefs are that “I am what I have, that I am what I do, that I am what other people think of me.” So we’re raised to believe that “the more stuff I accumulate, the more things that I get, this is who I am. The more that people like me, this is what I’ll get,” and on and on it goes.

26:42min – So, what we have to do is learn how to take this ego of ours, this part of us that believes that who we are is what we have and what we do and what other people think of us. But remember, if you grow up believing that you are what you do, then when you don’t, you aren’t. And if you believe that you are what you have, when it’s gone, you aren’t. And if you believe that you are what other people think of you, your reputation, which we raise people to believe, “I have to be concerned with what other people think of me.” Take this ego and re-train it.

And one of the ways that you do to retrain it is first you take this idea that the ego has of fear.

What are you afraid of? Anybody out there, what are you afraid of? Shift from fear to curiosity. Become curious about what you’re afraid of. That’s what Lao-Tzu taught me.

Become curious about what you’re afraid of. You’re afraid of flying? Get curious about that. Get interested in that. You’re afraid of snakes. You’re afraid of disapproval.

Just shift from fear and say, “I’m going to become more curious about what I’m afraid of.” And then take all of the things that you’re attached to, like all of your photographs, like all of your furniture, like all of your clothing, like all of the stuff that you find so much attachment to and start letting it go.

28:34min – Take that idea that you have to be attached to things and know that you came in with nothing with no thing. And you’re going to leave with nothing with no thing and understand that your life is a parentheses in eternity. Live there without attachments and then take you need to be in control of yourself, of others, of the situation and shift from control to trust.

29:45min – And finally shift from your sense of entitlement “Nobody, nobody can treat me that way… I’m entitled to have this… Well I paid for that…”

Shift from entitlements too radical humility. Lao Tzu speaks about it so often “Stay humble, stay low, the greatest leaders are the ones who do the least. The ones who stay back and just model and allow” And at the end of the day in one of the verses of the Tao it says “The people will say ‘we did it ourselves, we did it ourselves’” In verse forty-nine of the Tao, here’s an exact quote “The sage is kinda to the kind, and kind to the unkind, because the nature of his being is kindness.” And also “Be wise and help all beings, impartially, abandoning none.”

32:39 – You change your thoughts from I need more to what I call living contentment. What is this thing about more, it’s the mantra of the ego isn’t it. “I have to have more, I have to collect more stuff, I have to have more friends, I have to have more money.” It’s more more more more more, when where you came from came from, nowhere, you don’t need anything. It’s a continuous bombardment that we are all exposed to in this whole world of believing that we have to have more.

So we get bombarded with this idea of attracting more and Lao Tzu says “Live contentment, live in the state of being contented.” Here is verse eighty-one, the last verse of the Tao Te Ching…
“Sages do not accumulate anything, but give everything to others. Having more, the more they give.”

37:22min – Lao Tzu said that “When your cup is full, stop pouring.” We have an obesity crisis in the United States, in the Western world. The obesity crisis can be handled, if you just read the Tao. If you realize in verse 33 it says “If you realize you have enough, you are truly rich.” If you could just learn something called portion control, where you just take a bite and say “Is my cup full?” Stop pouring. In other words, instead of filling yourself with that which is already a surplus. In the Tao it teaches us to take surpluses and reduce them, and to take deficiencies and increase them, so that we create balance in our lives, to be in balance.

38:30min – Listen to this poem. It was written by a great Persian poet named Hafez. It says “Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, you owe me.” Just look at what happens with a love like that, it lights up the wholes sky. It lights up the whole sky. There is no owing.

40:18min – (Lao Tzu taught me) Instead of thinking that I don’t trust my nature. He said trust your nature. Instead of saying “I need more,” he said you need less. More is less, that comes right out of the Tao.

Next thought, move from thinking in a rigid way to thinking and being flexible, soft, and allowing. From rigidity to softness, what a wonderful transformation that is.

41:40min – Lao Tzu is speaking to us about understanding our nature by examining how nature works and then making it apply to our thoughts. So that a soft thought, a thought that isn’t a rigid thought, a thought that doesn’t say “you have to be this way or you have to be that way,” a thought that is not stiff. A thought that water, there are so many references to water.”

Here is verse 8 “The supreme good is water, which nourishes all things without trying to.” Verse 78, right smack out of the Tao “Nothing in the world is softer and weaker than water, but for attacking the hard, the unyielding, nothing can surpass it. There is nothing like it.”

And Lao Tzu is saying, the same thing is true with everything in your life. The more you grasp, the more you try to hold on to it, the more you try to be rigid with it. The less control you have of it. The softer you are, the less rigid you are, the more flexible you are as a person. The more you can accomplish.

49:23 – Listen to this verse of the Tao Te Ching, one of my all time favorites, verse #76 “A man is born gentle and weak, at his death he becomes hard a stiff. All things including the grass and trees are soft and pliable in life, dry and brittle in death. Stiffness is thus a companion in death, flexibility is a companion in life.”

50:53min – In verse 73 it says “It is heavens way to conquer without striving. It does not ask yet it is supplied with all that it needs. It does not hurry yet it completes everything on time.” One of my favorite lines from the Tao, one of my favorite beliefs from the Tao is this “That you are doing nothing, all of you, you are doing nothing. You are just being done.” Just like you were the first 9 months of your life.

52:21min – The next thought that I would like to see us change that the Tao taught me so much was “Living by interfering, to shift that to, living by not interfering.”

53:22min – Verse 29 of the Tao “Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it? I do not believe it can be done. Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel and cannot be controlled. Trying to control leads to ruin. Trying to grasp we lose. Allow your life to unfold naturally. Allow other peoples lives to unfold naturally as well.”

60:18min – In the Tao it says “There is a time for everything and everything in its time.”
There is a time for being ahead and a time for being at peace. There is a time for being in motion and a time for being at rest. There is a time for being vigorous and a time for being exhausted.
62:04min – In the Tao it says that “Hidden in all misfortune is good fortune.” Hidden in the misfortune that you have is good fortune because no storm can last forever. Even nature cannot create a storm that last forever. Ultimately, hidden within every storm is calmness, hidden with every flood is drought and dryness. Hidden within all of the storms of you life is the Peace that you desire. And it leans on you if you stop telling yourself… and just let yourself go with it, to be at harmony with it…

62:58min – This is verse 39 of the Tao Te Ching “When man interferes with the Tao, the sky becomes filthy, the earth becomes depleted, the equilibrium crumbles, creatures become extinct. Therefore nobility is rooted in humility.”

64:37min – Another thought to change. To change from thinking big, to thinking small. It’s.. so much of the Tao has statements that seem so paradoxical and so confusing to us. More is less, less is more. Think small and get great thins done, accomplish great things.
Listen to verse 64 of the Tao Te Ching “A tree that fills a mans embrace grows from a seedling. A tower 9 stories high starts with 1 brick.”… “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one first step.”

70:44min – Thinking small is what gets great things done. Verse 63 “Achieve greatness in little things, take on difficulties while they are still easy. Do great things while they are still small. The sage… does not attempt anything very big, and thus achieves greatness.” Greatness comes from being in the moment, here, present, in the now. The sage confronts difficulties but never experiences them.

71:34min – I’d like to see you change from this thought. Change from seeing yourself as separate, to seeing yourself as connected to everyone and everything in the universe. Our ego tells us that we are separate. That who we are is this body that we have, and that everyone out there is separate from me.

71:56min – Nothing has been more profound and more powerful and important for me than this verse of the Tao Te Ching. This idea that we are all one. That all of use emanated from the same source. By doing so, by emanating from the same source, we need to see ourselves as connected to every single being, every single person, every single flower, every single tree, every single animal. If you can see yourself in everyone, we are all connected.

73:09min – The Native Americans would say “No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among themselves.” … we are all branches on a tree called Humanity.

73:52min – The idea that you and anyone else on this planet is an enemy, in the Tao is says “I and enemy cannot exist in the same sentence.” He says that “Even those who go to war, the ones who will triumph in war, are those who go to war without an enemy.” and they will treat every victory in war not as a victory to celebrate but as a funeral. As an indication that we haven’t reached the highest place within ourselves to see that even those people, that we judge to be our enemy, are really connected to us. It says in the Tao “That a bad man is a good mans job, and a good man is a bad mans teacher.”

77:21min – There is a great lesson that when we use violence as a means to resolve our disputes, whether it’s individually with each-other, or whether its in countries, or whether its in communities, whenever it is that we resort to that kind of “not seeing myself in others.” Out of this kind of a consciousness will emerge those people who will ultimately  begin to get this. Because if we don’t get it… if we don’t really get it, civilization as we know it will not survive. We have to learn that the people we call enemies, no matter how horrendous they may behave towards us, there is still something of us in all of them.

78:40min – In verse 25 of the Tao it says “Thus to know humanity, understand earth. To know earth, understand heaven. (which is where earth came from) To know the way, understand the great within yourself.”

79:45min – Lao Tzu says “The person of Tao will eliminate all of the pain, all of the stress, all of the anger, all of the hatred, if they decide to end the conflict with love.” Just be the one who ends the silence by saying “we don’t agree but I love you.”

80:43min – He said “Wisdom is know that I am nothing. Love is knowing I am everything and in between the two my life moves.”

81:43min – Many principles to live by in the Tao. First, remind yourself that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. Bring happiness to all that you do. You accomplish much by trying less.

83:43min – “Trust in others,” the Tao says “to know what is best for themselves.” Trust in that.

Live without attachment and be generous.

84:22min – Be strong by bending. We need to learn this in our lives. We need to learn this in the world. It’s not so important to be right, it’s so much more important, when you have a choice to be right or to be kind, always pick kind. Always be kind. Practice radical humility. Live low, like the ocean, and all the streams will come to it. … And rather than looking for miracles, see everything as miraculous. Everything in your life.

87:37min – Listen to these words, it sums up all that I’ve been saying “I wouldn’t coax the plant if I were you. Such watchful nurturing may do it harm. Let the soil rest from so much digging and wait until it’s dry before you water it. The leafs inclined to find its own direction, give it a chance to seek the sunlight for itself. Much growth is stunted by too careful prodding, too eager tenderness. The things we love, we have to learn to leave alone.”

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