Tao Te Ching Summary: Lessons From Lao Tzu – Lesson 4

Lesson 1: The Lesson of God
Lesson 2: The Lesson of Silence
Lesson 3: The Lesson of Simplicity
Lesson 4: The Lesson of Acceptance
Lesson 5: The Lesson of Detachment
Lesson 6: The Lesson of Giving

Lesson 4: The Lesson of Acceptance

One of the great truths that can be found in virtually every spiritual scripture from virtually every tradition, since the beginning of time, is the power of the human mind to create our experience of life.

Great spiritual masters remained undisturbed by events because they knew this great truth: They create their experience of life by how they process events and circumstances. The ultimate example is probably Jesus, as even when he was crucified remained loving and forgiving.

So often we fall into the trap of wishing life was different. So often we fall prey to the neurotic notion of cursing the circumstances of our lives.

As common sense as it is ,no amount of wishing or cursing any of the events or circumstances, will ever make it go away. In fact, it will only strengthen it because whatever you place your attention on will expand in you’re your life and become stronger.

The lesson of acceptance is a lesson in personal freedom. As long as you are wishing things to be different you will always be controlled by events and circumstances.

You always have a choice:
You can either try to change events and circumstances OR you change yourself.

Trying to change external conditions create turmoil while changing yourself creates inner peace and acceptance.

The way we use the word acceptance in our everyday language implies a certain level of regret, but in reality it carries a level of freedom – as if you shed a load off your back. Here’s what Lao Tzu’s wisdom has to teach us about acceptance:

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize that nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

Lao Tzu (c.604 – 531 B.C.)

One of the great spiritual realizations is that in this world nothing ever goes wrong. Everything is exactly the way it should be and the proof for that is that “it is” You wishing it to “not to be” will only dis-empower you.

Ultimately your life is determined by the way you choose to process the events and circumstances of your life.

When you realize that everything is perfect in your life, simply because it is, then you evoke one of the great laws of the universe and activate the power to create your life.

Learning to interpret the world in a way that serves you is the art of living an enlightened life and learning to interpret life in such a way that everything serves you is the path to living a happy and joyful life.

The lesson of acceptance also has a very powerful impact in the way you perceive of what you do have because when you truly learn this lesson you will know that nothing (no-thing) can make you happy, or sad, good or bad, it’s all up to you.

It’s a lesson in non-judgment and learning to not be blinded by the appearance of things. When you learn to be happy despite of and, even more so, in spite of circumstances and events, you will be able to create whatever you want in your life.

Judging things as good or bad, builds up the walls that prevents the abundance to flow into our lives.

Lao Tzu then expands on this idea when he said:

“The truly great man dwells on what is real and not what is on the surface.”

Lao Tzu (c.604 – 531 B.C.)

All these “things” in our lives that we look at and are unhappy about, that we resent and even despise are nothing but surface experiences. They are mere happenings, despised by our way of thinking only.

When you change your mind you can start to change your experience of it and the way to do it is to stop dwelling on what’s not real , which is that which is on the surface and that which we look at and tend to be fixated on.

Starting to dwell on what’s real, which is your thoughts about it, will free you. What you dwell upon in your mind will expand in your life. This is The Great Secret and the Law of Attraction.

You might have noticed that when you feel good , when you are in a “good place” everything in your life seems to flow and happen effortlessly. When you push and demand however, nothing comes easily and it almost never works out the way you demand it to.

All of creation belongs to all of us .Ultimately nothing is assigned to anyone and the entire universe belongs to all of us. Your belief that it’s not will only serve to reinforce itself through your circumstances and experiences.

Most people live by a philosophy that says “I’ll believe it when I see it” but the transforming truth is that only when you believe it will you see it. There are many psychological arguments for this great truth and they all boil down to the fundamental principle that your mind creates meaning.

Your beliefs create your reality and your experience of life. If you react only to that what you see, you will always be on the back foot reacting on events and circumstances.

When you dwell at the centre however, you dwell on what’s real and at the centre you are free from all the events and circumstances.

Being content is about learning to “see” your desired results despite apparent evidence to the contrary. Always remember that you have to believe it before you can see it.

To be content means that you are not attached to a specific outcome and that your happiness and worth as a human being is not determined by some external event or thing.

Being content with things for many, might stir up the idea of weakness as from an “achievers perspective” being content means being weak. The achiever always has to have more, always has to be better and in this endless loop of never being satisfied, being content will challenge the ego to step back.

It’s not the events in your life that upset you but your judgment about what has or what you think might happen. Instead of asking for things to happen as you wish, it’s far easier to wish for them to happen as they are.

When you imagine something is in your control when it is not, you interrupt the natural flow of energy in and around you. This can cause to blame others and even God, for what is happening in your life, but when you look at what you can change instead of what you can’t, no one has any power over you.

There is no one to stop you getting what you want and you stop blaming others for your situation, stop doing what you don’t want to and your enemies disappear.

Being content is a spiritual virtue because it encourages you to be happy, at peace and in harmony despite everything else.

When you reach this point, ironically everything that you want in your life tends to flow in effortlessly. This stream of goodness in the universe flows gently and only when you are in harmony with it – when you flow with it does it flow through you.

When you accept everything, as it is you evoke the power within yourself to change it because as long as you despise what is, it will only be strengthened in your experience.

“Stay at the center and let all things take their course.”

Lao Tzu (c.604 – 531 B.C.)

Instead of dwelling on the way things “should” be you could choose to consciously focus your attention on the centre of your being. When you shift your attention to love, joy and inner peace you can remain centered and live from your highest self.

Application And Using This Lessons In Your Everyday Life:

  • Learn to become a reverse-paranoid. Instead of thinking that the entire world is conspiring against you, start to see the entire world as starting to conspire for you.

    Whenever anything happens to you, interpret in such a way that you see that it serves you. As you do this you will see that, regardless of which way you interpret things, it is all just that: an interpretation and a way of processing your life.
  • Write it on your heart that IN MY WORLD NOTHING EVER GOES WRONG and take this with you into your daily experiences of life. This age old Zen saying is not just an empty motivational phrase. It’s immensely powerful and can take you from thoughts of despair to thoughts of hope.

    When you realize that everything works out exactly the way it works out you can surrender and let Go and let God. Put this to test and take all those not-so-pleasant experiences and see them as part of a bigger plan unfolding in your life.

    Missing the bus, not getting that job, your partner leaving you , see all of it as part of a bigger and better plan unfolding in your life.
  • Start to see everything in this world as something that you have access to; as something that you are entitled to. Whether it is a new car, or a dress or your dream partner or a business or anything. you are as entitled to it as the next person.

    It is only your thoughts of lack that prevents you from having it. Cursing your lack in life is a declaration that it is not available to you. Start by being happy for those people who have abundance instead of seeing them as “fat cats” or dishonest.

    Accept the abundance in this world as yours and something that you are entitled to.
  • Rejoice in ALL of life and learn to find the good in all of it. Every moment of life offers us something exciting and special to experience, but you have to realize this and accept that ultimately the universe is working “for” you and not against you.

    It’s only your thoughts of discord that creates your separation from this life force that is forever expanding itself through you. Realize that even the “bad” of life is nothing but the flipside of the “good” in life.

    Lao Tzu said, “Hold on to the center and make up your mind to rejoice in this paradise called life.”
  • The final resignation is when you can accept who you are and rest in the truth of what you are, as opposed to the fantasy of what you are not. This is incredibly important. You don’t have to achieve anything special to be special.

    You are God’s most magnificent creation and nothing can change or alter this fact but your belief that you are not. Let go off all those false ideas that you are not smart enough, good enough or beautiful enough. Acceptance of life is an expression of your inner sense of spiritual awareness not a side effect of fortunate circumstances.

    The secret is to focus on changing yourself progressively – not to alter what you are, but to grow into what you are destined to become. Your inner self is in a dimension of infinite possibility and is able to accept any change.
  • As you start to accept life instead of fighting against it, you will see that everything serves you in some way. A defeat makes you stronger for the next victory and an awful meal helps you remember and be thankful for a good one.

    Acceptance releases you from the restraints, which you have made for yourself. Additionally it allows you to explore your own individuality.
  • Instead of seeing change as problematic and an unwanted happening, accept that all things come and go. Write down these words on a small card and post it somewhere in your home or carry it around in your pocket, “This too will pass”

    When you think back over past crisis, you know that this is true. The ancient Chinese symbol of the Yin and Yang symbolizes this , everything is in a constant process of change and is constantly moving from one extreme to the other.

    This is true in all of nature just as it is true in all of life (and even death) and all the seasons of your life. Being aware of this will awaken you to the truth that everything is always moving. Its flow is the very nature of life.
  • Spend time to notice how each ending turns into a beginning. There is no need to judge, just notice the endings, which make space for a beginning, especially how a sad feeling is an ending, which changes into a beginning.

    Transforming the way you look at these things will change what you are looking at and you will thrive.

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With a passion for spirituality, self discovery, and understanding this life, Neod spends his time musing about what is, what could be and what might come about. After writing for 20 years he's still growing, learning, exploring and sharing with love, joy and compassion.

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