Archive for the ‘Yin Yang’ Category

Verse 23

To talk little is natural:

Fierce winds do not blow all morning;

a downpour of rain does not last all day.

Who does this? Heaven and earth.

But these are exaggerated, forced effects,

and that is why they cannot be sustained.

If heaven and earth cannot sustain a forced action,

how much less is man able to do?

Those who follow the Way

become one with the Way.

Those who follow goodness

Become one with goodness.

Those who stray from the Way and goodness

become one with failure.

If you conform to the Way

its powers flow through you.

Your actions become those of nature,

your ways those of heaven.

Open yourself to the Tao

and trust your natural responses…

Then everything will fall into place.


I have been reading this verse over and over again and doing nothing but spinning my wheels. I just kept trying to find the meaning and how to articulate it. Whenever I am stuck in life, or in my journey through the Tao I will consult my wife. If I read her a verse she immediately can point out the meaning as if she has known this stuff her entire life. My wife and my son are the two most enlightened Taoist I have ever known, and neither are Taoists. The amazing thing is how quick she picks up the meanings and does a wonderful job articulating that meaning to me. I am being honest with you when I say she should really be writing these things not me. When I read it to her she looked at me funny and said “how do you not get it?” She went on to say that this verse is a great lesson to be learned by me. After a brief talk my eyes were opened to a few things.

When I looked into the analogy of storms not lasting forever I think the message is no matter how hard life gets it is but a passing storm. When it talks about heaven and earth not being able to sustain a forced action I translated that to mean if Mother Nature cannot sustain a storm that lasts a lifetime, than neither can any of our troubles last forever. This is a comforting statement for me considering I have a penchant for dealing with dark storms. When my darkness comes my mantra I say over and over in my head is “this to shall pass.” I think this is part of what the message Lao-tzu was trying to get across.

My wife saw a different translation. She said that heaven and earth not being able to sustain a forced action (storm) means that man cannot sustain a forced life. In this she explained trying to force things that should just be let go and allowed to flow. She brings up my OCD and how because of my compulsions I try to force things to be a certain way and control my surroundings to ease my anxiety. She said that this type of lifestyle cannot be sustained because things are being forced, being forced is not natural and will eventually wear you and the world around you down, just as if it were to storm and blow fiercely for days on end, nothing could sustain that.. This can also be true in the sense of trying to always be in charge, always be right and always in control. These types of behaviors cannot last forever and indeed go against the very laws of nature.

Lao-tzu urges us to follow the Way and to follow goodness. How true is it that those who follow goodness become goodness!! Its simple, you are what you do, you follow negativity, negative will come, you are disrespectful, disrespect will come to you, you are self-centered, and you will be all by yourself. Life will always give back what you give to it. Living as nature does is how we are supposed to live. When troubles come bend not break, for after the storm you will be standing tall once again. Nature moves along naturally nothing is forced every action is as it is supposed to be. Every reaction is in line with the Way. I think conforming to the Way is probably one of the hardest steps. First when I see the word conform or what have you I immediately feel the urge to do the complete opposite. If we live as nature does, if we flow like a river, listen more and talk less the power of the Way flows through us and with us. When our actions are one with nature we are living a Tao centered life, and our ways transform into the ways of heaven.

I look at a current conundrum I am in. I had this great idea for a gift for my wife. My wife sacrifices everyday for our family and I cannot remember the last time she thought about her self first. So I had this great gift idea, but the problem comes where we may not have the money to get it. She chose to get gifts for others instead of the gift for herself. I get this, but I really think she deserves this gift and it is perfect in my mind. My ego wants to step in and control the situation and say “this is what we are going to do, okay great let’s get it done.” This forceful approach has done nothing but cause problems. I need to step back take a deep breath and just allow whatever was meant to happen will happen. If we have the money then the gift will come if we don’t then it wont. I need to be at peace with this situation regardless of the outcome, and let the natural order just happen. I am happy to report that I was able to get her gift and she loved it. Amazing how the Tao works.

If we are living a Tao centered life trusting our natural actions and reaction without ego-driven thought and actions then we are at one with nature. If we are one with nature and ultimately the Tao then everything will always fall into place. This is by far the most comforting piece for me. The knowledge that if I trust in a power greater than myself and follow the Taos lessons then everything will always fall into the exact place it is supposed to be.

Today is the official release date of my new self-proclaimed masterpieces “Yin” & “Yang.” I was honestly worried these two books would never see the light of day. I wrote the last poem in “My Descent into Madness” in November of 2009. After I wrote “To My Children,” I was all of a sudden hit with severe writer’s block; no matter how hard I tried I could not write a single poetic line. I wondered if this was because I had said everything needing to be said. I was worried my voyage into becoming an established poet was simply not meant to be.

In January; I started this blog just to try and conquer my writers block. I figured if I did some free writing then eventually the creativity which helped me write “My Descent” would come back to me.  I wrote and I wrote about this and that, but still could not write a lick of poetry. It wasn’t until four months later I would finally find my voice again.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was visiting my mom during Easter, when a quick goofy poem hit me like a lightning rod. I didn’t have anything to write with so I just burst out this quick four liner. My family started to laugh at its silliness. I quickly grabbed my poetry journal so I could write it down. As soon as I finished another one shot into my mind, then another one, and another one. Since then the creativity has just ruptured out of me like a broken dam. This has allowed me to finish two children’s books, two poetry books, and make progress on my other projects as well. I am excited about these two books because I have decided to take the indie route. Here are the book descriptions and links to where you can purchase them. You support is much appreciated.


My life can be depicted by the Taoist symbol of the Yin Yang. The yin yang shows how in life there is a perfect duality; within the bad lays the good. My life is tortured yet blessed, engulfed in chaos yet somehow there is perfect order. For good or bad I would not be the man I am today with out this internal struggle between mania and depression, thus the YIN and YANG.

Yang is the light and love in my life. Without the light within yang my life would be swallowed up in bleak darkness. Yang feels soft and comforting. The expressions will make you long for the one you love. Yang will resonate in your ears as if the words I have written have come from somewhere inside your own heart and made specifically for your personal Yang. The words you will read are tender, erotic, and devoted and they are what represent the Yang in me. For those fans that enjoyed the political poems in “My Descent into Madness” will enjoy the political musings in each edition.


My life can be depicted by the Taoist symbol of the Yin Yang. The yin yang shows how in life there is a perfect duality; within the bad lays the good. My life is tortured yet blessed, engulfed in chaos yet somehow there is perfect order. For good or bad I would not be the man I am today without this internal struggle between mania and depression, thus the YIN and YANG. For those fans that enjoyed the political poems in “My Descent into Madness” will enjoy the political musings in each edition.

Yin is the darkness and torment of my life. Without the blackness within Yin my life would be consumed by self destructive mania. Yin is cold and aches to your very soul. Emotions feel bleak and horrific; it will take you to a dark place deep inside, and leave you yearning for salvation. The words you read will be twisted, poignant, and cruel but they are what represent the Yin in me. In this poetry chapbook you will encounter my internal struggle to keep my shen from experiencing the reapers cold hands. It is my written feelings which keeps me sane, and keeps me alive.

Now that these are complete I am going to come up with a set list and start touring local coffee houses to help get my name out there. If you are local readers and want to know when and where I will be performing shoot me an e-mail. I will let you know the details. Please use the links on this post to get directed to my Lulu page. I will not have links on my website until tomorrow.

Become totally empty.

Let your heart be at peace.

Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings,

observe how endings become beginnings.

Things flourish, each by each,

only to return to the source…

To what is and what is to be.

To return to the root is to find peace.

To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny.

To fulfill one’s destiny is to be constant.

To know the constant is called insight.

Not knowing this cycle

leads to eternal disaster.

Knowing the constant gives perspective.

This perspective is impartial.

Impartiality is the highest nobility;

the highest nobility is Divine.

Being Divine, you will be at one with the Tao.

Being at one with the Tao is eternal.

This way is everlasting,

not endangered by physical death.


 The sixteenth verse describes the constant of change, while recounting the cycles of life. The one thing we can always count on in life is change. Nothing ever remains the same. The seasons change, relationships begin then end, and all life will someday become death. All things come then they go. The Tao does not play favorites in this process The Tao will bring winter whether we are ready for it or not. The Tao will return all things to the source whether we believe in it or not. The Tao does not answer prayers, but provides you with everything you will ever need. When a door closes the Tao opens a new one. These examples all show change. Observing endings becoming beginnings is a great way to deal with death, the loss of a job, or the ending of a relationship. Understanding when one door closes another one opens is a great coping method and a divine way to live ones life.

Lao-tzu advises us to become empty and allow our hearts to be at peace amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings. I think Lao-tzu is trying to teach us coping methods for how to deal with the numerous changes we encounter in life. His 2,500 year old description of the “rush of worldly comings and goings” fits perfectly well with where we are today. Life is hectic and crazy, and many of us have issues with the consistent changes we encounter.

Many of us are afraid of change. We avoid it as much as we can. I am a creature of habit. When things change around me whether it be changing of routines, or the changing of the seasons I am unable to cope. I become either manic or slip into a depression. I need to learn to embrace this constant and allow myself to be in harmony with the Tao. I need to become an observer of the life around me and appreciate the cyclical nature of all things.

I suffer from a mild case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, because of this I have a harder time with things outside my routines. For example I need to park in the exact same spot when I go to therapy. If I am not able to park in my spot I become agitated and then flip into the mode of needing to control every aspect of my surroundings. I try to recreate how everything looked the last time I was there. I will try and arrange the chairs in the waiting room in perfect order. I begin to have severe anxiety and panic attacks. I tried this lesson on Tuesday when I went to therapy. I grabbed my prayer beads and counted my twenty seven progressions. With each deep breath I imagined myself becoming empty, and my heart being at peace. To my surprise this tactic worked. I still had anxiety, but it was reduced to just a minor bother.

In the sixteenth line of the sixteenth verse it say “impartiality is the highest nobility.” The seventeenth line says the highest nobility is divine. For some reason I am drawn to these two lines. I had an idea, but I was not 100% sure the exact meaning of “impartiality.” The definition I received was the ability to weigh both views and opinions equally. I look into myself, and realized this is a trait I am lacking in. When it comes to things affecting me personally I am unable to see others views and feelings as equally as my own. I am not sure I can even say I am impartial when it comes to looking outside my circle and see issues equally. I will continue to meditate on this to try and find the answer.

Every religion has an explanation for what happens to you when you die; Taoism is no exception. Taoism says everything will return to the source to what is and what is to be. Now whether this is Heaven, Nirvana, or reincarnation no one will know until we pass. I interpret this as reincarnation. My theory is your shen (what is) leaves your body, and returns to the center of everything in the womb of our mother the great Tao. When you leave this womb you return back to any planet and enter into a new life (what is to be.) As a former atheist I know this sounds crazy, but somehow seems right. I have always been afraid of death and the great unknown; but the sixteenth verse brings me peace. I may not know what the outcome is, nor will I attempt to understand it, because the Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The constancy between life and death returns us to our root. I find peace in knowing I will return to the source of all things, this nameless placeless site of all of our origination.

The ancient masters were profound and subtle.

Their wisdom was unfathomable.

There is no way to describe it.

One can only describe them vaguely by their appearance.

 Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream.

Alert, like men aware of danger.

Courteous, like visiting guests.

Simple as uncarved wood.

Hollow like caves.

Yielding, like ice about to melt.

Amorphous, like muddy water.

 Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?

Who can remain still until the moment of action?

Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment.

Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change


I was completely lost the first couple times I read this verse, for some reason the meaning escaped me. I was reading it but I was not listening to it. I was trying so hard to force myself to understand it, and then it hit me. I was doing the exact thing this verse teaches us not to do. The fifteenth verse of the Tao Te Ching describes the state of enlightenment the sages of old were able to obtain. Their perfect alignment with nature and the Tao were unfathomable to those they came in contact with. In reading this book I can agree with this statement. The states of mind the sages have obtained and lived described by Lao-tzu are beyond my comprehension. It amazes me they were able to stay consistent with such a perfect way of life.

They had immeasurable impact yet did this subtly without action. The sages consistently lived in the moment aware of their surroundings. A winter stream is dangerous because the ice is very thin. The sage is watchful for cracks or changes and is consistently aware of the dangers around them. The sages consistently showed love and courtesy to all those they came in contact with. The sage stays in a constant state of pu the uncarved wood. They held onto their childlike way of thinking.

I am not sure the meaning of “hollow as a cave.” Could this possibly be living with an open mind? Yielding like ice about to melt incorporates living with the flow of nature. Nothing in nature can be rushed. We need to let go and just allow things to happen without force. Our purpose is to stay in harmony with nature; as shapeless as muddy waters. We need to learn to sit quietly while the mud settles; this shows patience and highlights the importance of remaining still. Muddy waters are allowing themselves to settle. This is the perfect order, the mud does not ask to settle just as much as the ice does not ask to melt; it just does.

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10. 

This lesson in nature applies to humans as well. We are unfolding in a divine order we can not possible understand any more than the ice understands it is melting. Much like nature all we require will be provided in divine order. We need to let go of our desires and demands be aware of the present moment and trust in the Tao. We should all make stillness a part of our day. Sit back and imagine all your dreams and things you “need” to accomplish. Take these dreams and desires and just let them go; allowing them to come to you. When we give up the desire to control every facet of our lives and become an observer we are mastering the way of the Tao. If we stop talking and taking, instead become a listener and receiver; we are able to receive the wisdom of the Tao.

  How can a man’s life keep its course,

If he will not let it flow?

Those who flow as life flows know

They need no other force:

They feel no wear, they feel no tear,

They need no mending, no repair.

“The Way of Life According to Lau-Tzu” By: Witter Brynner

Give up struggling against the current and trust in the wisdom of the Tao.

That which cannot be seen is called invisible.

That which cannot be heard is called inaudible.

That which cannot be held is called intangible.

These three cannot be defined;

therefore, they are merged as one.


Each of these three is subtle for description.

By intuition you can see it,

hear it,

and feel it.

Then the unseen,


and untouched

are present as one.


Its rising brings no dawn,

its setting no darkness;

it goes on and on, unnamable,

returning into nothingness


Approach it and there is no beginning;

follow it and there is no end.

You cannot know it, but you can be it,

at ease in your own life.


Discovering how things have always been

brings one into harmony with the Way.


I have had some trouble with this verse. I have been going over this verse day in and day out since I wrote about verse 13. This verse is asking me to have faith; for me this is very difficult. I have a huge issue with the invisible, inaudible and intangible. If I can not prove something with my own eyes or experiences I tend to not have faith in its existence. The exception to this rule is scientific facts. I have been meditating and pondering trying to overcome my concept of faith, and what the Tao actually means to me. I keep coming to a description of one of my friends’ belief system, which sounds very similar to the Way.

My friend Dans belief system is his own understanding of what is. He does not believe in evil, and feels science plays a huge role in religion, and in fact proves the existence of God. The one aspect of his faith is what happens to you when you die. He believes at death your essence leaves your body and flies faster than the speed of light into the center of the universe, which he describes as heaven. It is in this heaven you meet with your spirit guide and decide what kind of life you want to live, and when you are ready you head off back to another planet into another life. This is the aspect I hold onto most in my attempted understanding of the Tao.  

I think what verse 14, and other verses Lao-tzu explains to us that trying to define the Tao is futile. Trying to hold the Tao in your hand is fruitless; it is having faith that the Tao is and has always been. I run into an issue in trying to think about what the Tao even is. Is the Tao a God, as compared to the Christian religion? I do not think so. I do not look at the Tao as a man sitting on a throne. I view the Tao as an enormous source of energy capable of taking and brining life into this universe. I think the Tao just is, and allows what be be. I do not think the Tao plays favorites granting prayers to those in need. I believe the Tao provides us everything we need at that moment in time regardless of if we understand. I think the Tao is capable of thought, but maybe not our concept of thought. This ultimately is my belief and faith in Taoism. I am sure I will need to continue to go back to this verse, until it becomes a part of me. I do know this verse is beautifully written and fills me with hope, and eases my worries about what happens to us after we pass.

The 14th verse teaches us the Tao has always been. This means the Tao was even prior to the Big Bang. The Tao like the universe has no beginning and no end. The Tao is the Alpha and Omega. I have grown closer and closer into actually having real faith into this concept; for the first time in 15 years I actually have faith in something. This faith is a small seed, but the seed has been planted and in time its roots will grow stronger and stronger brining me closer the understanding of the Way. I have reached a point where I have almost stopped trying to define the Tao, and just allow it to be.

“Stay in a persistent state of awareness of the eternal principle that animates all of life. By seeing the unfolding of God in everyone you encounter and in all of your identification with your ego based world, you’ll come to be more like Him, and less like that which has tarnished your link to Him.”

 Dr. Wayne W. Dyer “Living the Wisdom of the Tao.”   

I cannot know the Tao as it is named, but I can be it. The more time I spend trying to “be” the Tao the greater sense of peace I have. I trust the more and more I study and meditate on the Tao Te Ching the greater my faith will become.

A while ago I wrote a post about my current projects. Since then a few things have been finished and a few of my projects have been altered, because I am a shameful promoter I would like to give an update on my progress. Things have been progressing nicely although there are some tedious things causing me to dread the process. Feedback is always needed.

Dylan Thomas: This is a children’s book series written in poetry form. The goal is to create stories which appeal to ages 2-10. I want the rhyming and lush drawings to not only draw the kids in, but also make the stories enjoyable for the parents as well. I have completed the first story “Dylan Thomas: Finds His Courage.” Currently it is in the illustration phase and will be released the end of September. I hope to have the next installment “Dylan Thomas: Bedtime Songs” I hope to have this available for sale by February 2011 or sooner.

This series is probably the only way I will make any money from my writing, and hopefully this series will help me land a literary agent. The stories will follow the same flow as far as the rhyming poetry, but the illustrations will change. I think this is exciting because it will keep things fresh. The illustrator Jeff Chia has one more page to complete, and my sister Cailee is doing the editing. I hope to have everything but together by September 1st. This will allow me a month to ensure everything looks good on the actual book. I am a quarter done with the next installment.

Yin; A poetry chapbook chronicling my dark side. I have already finished this book, and should be released before November 2010.

This is completed with all poems in my journal. I just need to type and edit. I hope to have this out by November. I will either sell “Yin” and “Yang” separately or combine them into one book. If I were to combine them into one I would set it up where “Yin” is on one side and “Yang” on the other. I am planning on setting them up as pocket books.

Yang; A poetry chapbook chronicling my light side. I have already finished this book, and should be released before November 2010

Politico; Working Title This poetry chapbook focuses on my political and theological perspectives. This book is also finished with an expected release date before November 2010.

This book will contain my political, philosophical, and theological points of view. There is a website called Politico, so I am unsure if the name is copyrighted or not. If it is I will have to get their blessings to use their names. There were plenty political poems in “My Descent into Madness,” and seemed to be well received.

The Mind of a Madman: (working title) this is a novel written in poetry form describing the inner workings of a psychopath in the making, and his journey into madness, starting from the time of conception up until… the rest will be a surprise. This has been a difficult book to work on, the places these poems take me is very dark. If I spend too much time there I may become a product of my words.

I have been all over the place in writing this one. I am jumping around to different phases of the main characters’ life. I am planning on telling this story strictly in poetry form or if I should add some narrative to it. This is taking longer than I expected, because I can only stay a short time in this mans mind.

The Philosophy of Me: The life and mind of no one special: This will be a book based off 365 days of my blogging entries. This will appeal to my fans wanting all my entries in print, and introduce the site to new readers. I will also use this as part of my portfolio.

I received an e-mail from a reader saying she would purchase this even though it is just an edited version of my blog. I suppose if one person would enjoy it than others may as well.

My Journey Through Taoism; This will include every verse from the Tao Te Ching along with my quest into understanding and living the Tao. Many books are written by experts. I hope to relate to readers who are new to Taoism by explaining my journey seeking understanding. At the end of each chapter I will be including a poem based off the verse. I do not want to rush this; so I am unaware of a release date 

This will be written in real time chronicling my quest into understanding Taoism. This book is the reason I stopped adding verses in my blog. I don’t want too many books to cross pollinate. I am enjoying this project because I can spend a few weeks working on each verse which will really bring me closer to the Way. In writing this in the perspective of someone seeking the Way it may help others understand it better and assist them on their journey. 

The Humor In Theology; I was originally going to write a descriptive timeline and the evolution of religion. I realized this book would only appeal to a certain audience. I was becoming overwhelmed with the mighty scope of this project. I decided to stick with the theology aspect but instead write it in a humorous way. I think this will be informative as well as funny.

I changed this from a serious educational book into a comedy. I will look into religions of the past and current beliefs and point out the goofiness of what people believe. There is a religion in Africa which believed their God vomited up the entire universe. This is just one of the silly beliefs people hold onto. It is amazing how people completely abandon logic in the name of faith.

The Philosophy of Quotes: Everyone loves quotes, and it seems each person may walk away with different perspectives on the meaning of these quotes. This book explains my philosophical view on the meaning of quotes. I hope to turn this into multiple volumes; each volume will be broken down by letters of the alphabet. I am excited to take a deeper look at my favorite quotes. 

I thought I would enjoy this one, but I have been running into a little bit of frustrations. My mind will not shift into this mode, which is holding this bad boy up.

Deceived: (working title.) This book examines how the Christian religion has allowed itself to be destroyed by the word of man. I have read the Bible a number of times; once because of faith, once as a theologian, and once as a skeptic. You would be amazed how much the bible has been changed to not only create copyrights, but to change the original meaning of the “Word of God” to fit mans needs. This book will be written entirely on a non-biased theological way looking strictly at the Word.

If I want to properly do this one I will need to focus 100% of my attention on it. I will need to simultaneously read three to four separate versions of the Bible. I started this awhile back and read the first couple chapters of Genesis, and it made my head hurt. I really think this project has potential, but with the amount of time I have to work on my writing it would take a year or two and I am not sure if I want to make that type of commitment on something which may not reap what I sowed.

On a side note I have thought of releasing my poetry books with commentary as far as what I was feeling and the meaning. I tend to write in abstract ways and I have had people tell me they get lost in finding the true meaning. I just wonder if this is sacrilegious with poetry because poetry is meant to be subjective to the reader. I am worried my poems may lose some of its luster if I add commentary. On the flip side some of my dedicated readers may care enough to know the story behind the poem.

What are your thoughts? Do you think I may be wasting my time with some of these books? I am starting my quest today to find an agent and I wonder if they want to see complete projects or is a concept enough to wet their whistle.

The five colors blind the eye.

The five tones deafen the ear.

The five flavors dull the taste.

Racing and hunting madden the mind.

Precious things lead one astray.

Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.

He lets go of that and chooses this.


Verse twelve of the Tao Te Ching encourages us to live with inner conviction, oftentimes we are guided by outer senses; ignoring our inner vision. This leads to a life of pleasure seeking with the material world. Lao-tzu says if we choose to seek the pleasures of our five senses, we will madden our mind. You will never achieve a state of peace when you seek the pleasures of the material world because it is never enough. You will always need more power, possessions, or greater wealth. We will wake up every morning seeking these pleasures and ignoring the beauty behind what lies beyond your outer senses. This will impede our growth as a person.

Lao-tzu says we should be guided by what we feel as opposed to what we see. Letting go of that and choosing this is hard in the busy consumer society we live in. Many of us are so consumed with our inner senses of stress; we are unable to enjoy life.

If we can let go of our stress, and choose peace; our depression and stress will decrease. The Eastern religions encourage us to live in the moment as observers allowing things to come and go, allowing our negative and positive energies to come and go. The true sages of the East prefer what is within, not what is without. The sage sees the silliness appearances; avoiding the lure of success and possessions. This frame of mind and faith leads the sage to enlightenment.   

We need to look beyond our senses; otherwise we lose touch with what lies beyond them. Inner conviction comes down to ones faith. I spend much of my religious energy trying to see a higher power through what has been created. In essence faith is the belief in something you cannot see, or even explain. I can’t seem to look beyond the world of appearances when it comes to religion. I do not let this lack of faith take away from the moral and ethical teachings of religions.

What do you think?

Carrying body and soul

and embracing the one,

can you avoid separation?

Can you let your body become

as supple as a newborn child’s?

In the opening and shutting of heaven’s gate,

can you play the feminine part?

Can you love your people

and govern your domain

without self-importance?

Giving birth and nourishing;

having, yet not possessing;

working, yet not taking credit;

leading without controlling or dominating.

One who heeds the power

brings the Tao to this very earth.

This is the primal virtue.


There are certain verses in the Tao Te Ching where the meaning escapes me, verse ten is one of those verses. When I am studying the Tao Te Ching, or any other religion; I will read chapters or verses several times until I fully grasp the meaning. I have found in doing this, you tend to learn or discover something new every time. The Tao Te Ching is like any other religious document; the basic lessons continue to build upon one another until you see the entire picture.

In western society we hold onto the concept of absolute truth, where you are either right or wrong. We learn the only options in front of us is fact or fiction, although we do leave room for the grey areas. The Tao teaches us of duality. The concept being you can not have a right without the concept of wrong. You will find this duality often crosses paths with one another melding into what is. This is first explained in verse one.

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery;

ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations.

And the mystery itself is the doorway

to all understanding

(Tao 1)

In obtaining the oneness we need to let go of our self-importance and ego. If we are able to see ourselves in everyone, and everything around us we are able to see this oneness. We should judge no one, unless we are able to walk a mile in their shoes. This should hold true in those we do or are supposed to hate.

Like Buddhism; Taoism teaches us to not value possessions and achievements. The Buddhist believes possessions brings suffering, while Taoist believe it takes you further away from flowing as one with the Tao. They both cherish the idea of mindfulness and enjoying the present. It is in becoming a detached witness, and loosing our tight grip on our possessions will bring us to freedom.

You literally own nothing and no one: All that is composed will decompose; all that is yours will leave and become someone else’s. 

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer


To keep on filling

is not as good as stopping.

Overfilled, the cupped hands drip.

Better stop short than fill to the brim.

Over sharpen the blade,

and the edge will soon blunt.

Amass a store of gold and jade,

and no one can protect it.

Claim wealth, titles, honor and pride,

and disaster will follow.

Retire when the work is done.

This is the way of heaven.


The 9th verse of the Tao Te Ching teaches us humility. Our society has created a society full of greed. The commercials we see on T.V. tell us we will find happiness drowning ourselves in possessions. Our society promotes status, and to seek approval in all our deeds. The tainted concept of the American Dream has transformed the people of this country to live an ego centered life. Living through your ego, takes us further away from a Tao centered life.

This ego driven mentality is a cancer responsible for our current economic situation. We have been driven ourselves deep in to dept, in order to keep up with the Joneses. The dream of owning your own home, has caused many families to lose their homes. The banks in this country were not only given billions of dollars in bailout funds; they also took over millions of homes. We have fallen for the great lie; if we live with ego, pride, and greed we would find happiness.

The creative force of the Tao is beautifully balanced in the principle of humility, mirror and listen to the great Tao. Know when you have filled your hands with too much water. Know when to stop sharpening your blade to avoid dullness. If you find wealth, do not hoard it to yourself; share to better humanity.

Seek the pleasures in what you’re doing, rather than how it will benefit you. Enjoy the means, not the end. Living humility knows when to stop, step back, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Center your life with the Tao, and dismiss your ego.

The supreme good is like water,

which nourishes all things without trying to.

It flows to low places loathed by all men.

Therefore, it is like the Tao.

Live in accordance with the nature of things.

In dwelling, be close to the land.

In meditation, go deep in the heart.

In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.

In speech, be true.

In ruling be just.

In action, watch the timing

No fight: No blame

One who lives in accordance with nature

does not go against the way of things.

He moves in harmony with the present moment,

always knowing the truth of just what to do.


The 8th verse is one of my many favorites of the Tao Te Ching. In meditation, with the goal of becoming centered I focus on the main theme of this verse; “living in the Tao is to flow as water flows.” Throughout my day, I find myself trying to control situations, or forcing situations. When I stew in this mind frame I fall in the trap of ego, and go away from the Tao. When I am un-centered in such a way, my life goes astray.

If you try to forcefully grab water; it will elude you. If you cup your hand you will be able to hold it. If you hold on to long it will lose its essence. These lessons about water hold true to our personal lives, and our ability to live with the Tao.

If we try to forcefully grab the people around us, they will be gone. If we try to hold on to tight, and deny our partners of their natural order; they grow complacent. If we allow those around us to flow free, they will meet our needs without being asked. If we think about water; it does without doing. When it rains, water does not intend to water the crops and provide plants with sustenance. Water does not try to quench our thirst, it just does. Water is the key ingredient to life, yet it does not try to be. Water is the purest form of doing without doing.

Water has no goal in mind of changing the many things it encounters, or the obstacles in its path, because of this water can literally move mountains. Water will flow, and within time it will erode the very mountains and valleys which contain it. Water flowing down the river, will not allow a rock or many rocks to stop it on its path. It goes around, over, or under. It still maintains its essence and strength, despite the obstacles it faces. When water flows past its obstacles it does not hold on to the experience it lets it go. These are valuable life lessons.

The lesson of water flowing downward, instead of upward is another valuable lesson. Water will flow down, even if it means it ends up in our sewers. Without the water in our sewers our waste would flood the streets. Water endures this place loathed by men, not because it has no choice; it just does. It does not attempt to take the highroad in order to evade this fate. We to can learn to not flow upward. We can live this in our personal and professional lives, as well as a lesson on how to treat your fellow-man.

In “The Hidden Messages in Water,” by Masaru Emoto, he explored the way this compound reacts. He discovered by respecting and loving it, we can change its crystallization process. He kept water in two separate containers with different words on each one. He discovered the containers that contained words such as “love,” “thank you,” or “your beautiful” the water became beautiful radiant crystals. The containers with words such as “you fool,” “Satan,” or “I will kill you” the crystals broke apart, were distorted, and seemed confused. This is yet another example of the significance of water. If we are made up of primarley water, and we are out of balance, or unloved the result is distortion and confusion.

Water shows us the cycle of the Tao, it comes from the Tao in the form of rain. In its existence on earth it lives the Tao lessons, by action with no action and giving without being asked. Finally it evaporates into the Tao only to fall again.

“Water of life am I, poured forth for thirsty men.”

Isaiah 44:3