Favor and disgrace seem alarming.

High status greatly afflicts your person.

Why are favor and disgrace alarming?

Seeking favor is degrading:

alarming when it is gotten,

alarming when it is lost.

Why does high status greatly afflict your person?

The reason we have a lot of trouble

is that we have selves.

If we had no selves,

what trouble would we have?

Man’s true self is eternal,

yet he thinks, I am this body and will soon die.

If we have no body, what calamities can we have?

One sees himself as everything

is fit to be guarding of the world.

One who loves himself as everyone

is fit to be teacher of the world

Lao-tzu

The thirteen verse of the Tao Te Ching is encouraging us to live with an independent mind. We need to be free from the positive and negative opinions of others, and allow yourself to be guided by your internal nature. In order for us to flow with the Tao and live within the natural order of the universe we need to nourish our individuality. If we make the assessments of others more important than our own we will afflicted.

Seeking others acceptance, praise, and a desire for higher status goes against the natural order of things. The Bible says we are given free will. The Tao teaches us a similar lesson in that the Tao does not interfere or force itself upon us. The Tao lets us work in our own way to produce results naturally. Whatever approval is due to us will come to us, any wealth or status will be in perfect alignment as long as we are flowing with the Tao. This is also true for any disapproval; it will come in perfect alignment with the universe. The more we try to go against the grain of the Tao; the greater chance of a splinter.

The Tao tells us that living for ourselves is not the way to go. In earlier verses we learned feeding into our ego and its desire for possessions and self-importance is destructive to living our lives with the Tao. If we are able to live without ego, and without selves or concern for status and praise than we should have no problem following and listening to our true selves, free from outside influences.

I have problems following this verse; due to my low self-esteem I rely on what others think of me to fuel my life. I need this praise to continue following and listening to my internal self. If I receive no praise I tend to let go of my true self and conform to a certain way of life to feel I am important. I am a slave to outside messages of praise, I allow others opinion of me or my writing to direct my life. If someone gives me disfavor it destroys my inner self and I work really hard to change their opinion of me. I am sometimes able to live the way of the Tao and allow my independent mind to flow freely. When I am able to achieve this I am filled with a greater sense of happiness.

I need to spend more time meditating and listening to what my inner self is passionate about and what my inner self feels about who I am, follow it. This will put me in harmony with the Tao and the universe. I want to become a teacher of this world.

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Comments
  1. ram0singhal says:

    divine…..

    Read these thoughts which are your own if you agree, throw these thoughts which are mine if you disagree .

    All these thoughts are natural, your own, from your own world, from you only. You have all the rights and liberty to implement your thoughts in your life, you are your own sun and ray of this universe .

    If any thing has to be truth , it has to be universal truth .

    If it is true for human beings , it must be true for everything which exists like sun , moon , tree , birds , stars , car , road , music , and everything what so ever you can think .

    Read all these thoughts with love .

    To explain love by example of coin , like coin has head , tail and thin edge , Desire is like coin head , hate is like coin tail , thin edge is love , where no desire , no hate .

    Love is your inner wealth, seed of which you bring in your closed hands to plant in this world to make it a tree of happiness.

    Can you see your own image without mirror?

    Even I cannot see my own image without mirror, so thing which is truth for you is truth for me also.

    I am the creator of nature .

    Nature is my image .

    Nature is the cosmic world .

    I always exist , nature creates and destroys itself .

    I am you , nature is your body .

    I am very simple , nature is very complex .

    Like I am inside like I am outside.

    I can see myself through you , you are my medium , and body is your medium .

    I am everything known or everything unknown .

    I want to see myself through you , life is a chance for the ray to know sun .

    I am eternal sound existing in everything .

    Life is a rare opportunity for you to know me through the medium of body to become me .

    Your body is your guru because of this only you can know me .

    I want to be happy to see my clean image of creation for that I give everything a mirror inside and the possibility for every one of you to keep this mirror clean and when mirror is clean , I am with you .

    I am easy to understand and complex to explain .

  2. I would take this a step further. Not only should we not look to others for praise or recognition, we shouldn’t look for these things from our selves either. Our true selves don’t need praise or acceptance; our egos do. The ego is what craves status and to feel good.

    In other words, your ego is wounded (low self-esteem), but your inner nature is just fine.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Rambling,
      Thank you for taking it a step further. I have noticed much of Taoist teachings condem the ego. The “ego” seems to be our worst enemy. I get lost a bit because the ego seems top represent so many different things. Do you think I am over analyzing things?

  3. dana says:

    You are teaching the world with your books, blog, and your foundation.

  4. Nicole says:

    As your wife and companion for 11 years, I will tell you that you and your “ego” are your worst enemy and have benn the component that has caused much strife in your life. When you utalize outside forces to deem if you are good or bad you will never find contentment. When you look inside to find out if you are good or bad you will never find contentment, It is only when you just are,you know you give positive to those around and can know you did not casue hurt to those around you that you can truly feel content with yourself. that is how I think anyway

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Cole,
      I wish you studied the Tao with me. In your everything the Tao moves through you. I think besides Austin, Dan, and Rambling you are the closest to the Tao without even knowing it. Funny

  5. I think you should take the gentle advice of your wife & companion. 😉

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Rambling,

      It amazes how you and Nicole are exactly alike. You guys are so in sync with beliefs and advice. I know she loves reading your work and responses. There are times you will give advice, and it is an ah ha moment. She then says “Hmmm isn’t that what I said?”

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