Let’s face it, nearly everyone knows who Lao Tzu is, you may even know some of his quotes in the multitude of memes floating around the Internet or even read about his four rules for living and the wisdom from the Tao Te Ching that we have covered.
You may have even gone further and read the Tao Te Ching, but all of this becomes virtually pointless when you cannot apply it in your daily life.
To help with the application of Lao Tzu’s wisdom we have compiled eight of his quotes that we shall try to explain that will aid in the transformation of your inner being.
He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.
Although conquer is a dated word, to understand the sentiments behind this quote is pretty easy. We can even neglect the first part of the quote and focus on the part that is transformational, “He/She who conquers themselves are mighty”. This isn’t about taking it literally and start punching yourself, but more about conquering what we’re made up of.
We’re nothing but our thoughts in action, conquering oneself is about having control of the thoughts that are passing through us or even filtering out the undesirable ones that crop up now and then.
How does this make you mighty? By thinking positive thoughts or thoughts that are focused on betterment automatically convert into actions pushing you forward on your path.
Thinking positive and working with the negative isn’t easy, but a simple practice that’s jotted down in this article on starting your day with clarity and ending with rest will help.
Doing a reflective meditation on how your day went by, browsing through your thoughts and actions and reflecting on them on a daily basis will help you see yourself and your actions, maintain a journal and bring it into your consciousness what you would like to change.
The usefulness of a pot comes from its emptiness
This is one of my favorite ones, Bruce Lee seemed to have gained a lot of his wisdom from Lao Tzu. Quite a few of his famous quotes seem to have similarities with Lao Tzu, “Empty your mind.”
Being empty allows you to be filled, to gain fresh insights, perspectives and outlooks on life. In other words if you’re not open to receiving, open to change, open to everything that’s coming, you don’t have to hold it forever, you can pour it out if its not of use.
Let life flow through you, grow with the flow, you don’t need to go with it, but surely you must grow, learn, evolve and let everything that comes become of use.
If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.
Everything changes, the seasons and sadly even the climate has gotten us worked up with its changes. But then for some reason every time I come across a sentence, “not afraid of dying” my mind places this, “And I am not frightened of dying. Any time will do, I don’t mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There’s no reason for it – you’ve got to go sometime.” ~ Gerry O’Driscoll, Abbey Road Studios janitorial “browncoat” taken from the Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon album.
Personally I have died a thousand times, each time a layer of me died to bring about something better. If you subscribe to the philosophy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, each day you die and are reborn again to start afresh each day, with the new opportunity to do something better today.
The problem isn’t with death its the fear of death that keeps us living a very, so to say cautious existence, perhaps its the fear that we will be judged or suffer in an eternal fire. But when you overcome this fear or belief system, you become more open to exploring, experimenting and gaining experiences.
Speaking about experimentation, Steve Jobs said, “Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. It shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.” Well we all know what Steve Jobs achieved with Apple.
None of us are going to get out alive, put the life into each day, focus on your goals and make the most of the time you have.
He who tries to shine; dims his own light.
Never try to be what you’re not, that’s not the way you shine. People shine when they bring forth what they are. Trying to shine is when you compete with another, but all you’re doing is burying your own inner light your own talents.
Instead focus on what you love, what you enjoy doing, work with your talents, find out where your passion lies. Do what you enjoy and keep at it. Get better at it and this is how you will shine.
Don’t try being something you’re not just focus on blossoming your true being and shine your light in this world
At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.
Through out life we’re handed down ideas of what we should be, how we should look, the kind of clothes we should wear and then when you find yourself, especially if you suddenly encounter your inner being and boom, there’s a whole lot of chaos and confrontation.
It’s like multiple personalities trying to have their say. Starting fresh from years of reinforcement of who you’re are has never been easy it brings about dark times, the shedding of the layers of ego to renew and rebuild isn’t really fun.
Some people call this phase the dark night of the soul, its like a storm and each time you pull through it, it changes you. You now become what you were meant to be, you find the inner you who has been trying to make its way to the surface but was buried slowly by the years of conditioning you received.
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
To let go of what you currently are you need to know what you really are, and this again comes from self observation. Remember the inner you is always giving you hints, during your interactions with people you sometimes feel that something wasn’t right or a certain interaction that leaves you feeling lighter. Personally I get a feeling that a certain interaction could be better and I make a note of how I felt and why I felt like that and what I can do to improve it.
This is the inner me analysing my own actions, actions are based on subconscious patterns and behaviours and to make any change in your outer world you need to feel the inner and figure out why is it getting agitated.
Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself.
You need to be patient with yourself, transformation is a destructive process and at times the intensity of the destruction is directly proportional to the time taken for the transformation and the depth of the issue.
But to come to the point of the transformation, there has to be this moment of clarity of focus, a state that transcends your current layer of consciousness to be able to see where the issue lies and to get to this state you need to be meditated or some prefer medicated, both work and sometimes wonderfully well together.
Go within, find out who you really are and welcome the transformation.
New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.
When you get a cut, it pains, imagine when you break away from an attachment, either part of yourself or a relationship or even family, you’re bound to feel pain but there too are moments of bliss. Don’t fear the storm, the common quote states that there is calm before the storm.
But nobody talks about the mesmerising beauty of the sun peeping out of the dying stormy clouds, the colours that reflect across the oceans at the end of the storm and the entire ocean that has now mellowed down to a gentle lul as you set your sails up high once again to sail to newer shores.
As Haruki Murakami puts it, “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”