Tao Te Ching Summary: Lessons From Lao Tzu – Lesson 6

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 6: The Lesson of Giving

In the previous lessons on detachment Lao Tzu taught us the value of detaching ,especially detachment from “things and stuff”.

Detachments are a means to freeing ourselves and liberating us from the delusion that happiness, love and abundance is somewhere out there. Almost always when we are attached to anything we are in a mindset of “gathering” or collecting and accumulating more.

The majority of people fall into one of the biggest minds traps ever invented by mankind: we tend to think that if something brings us joy then more of it will bring us more joy, so we end up doing more of less while hoping it will bring us more.

One of the key aspects of detachment lies in Lao Tzu’s next lesson, which is the lesson of giving:

The sage never tries to store things up.
The more he does for others, the more he has.
The more he gives to others, the greater his abundance.

Lao Tzu (c.604 – 531 B.C.)

One of the great eternal truths that we all know, but tend to forget is that we can never really own anything while we are here in this life. We never really own anything; we are merely looking after that which we have.

Since we cannot own anything in life, all that is really left for us to do with our lives is to give. The only things we truly get to keep are that which we give away.

In your own spiritual path it is important to realize that you are nothing but a custodian while you are here. All your possessions are merely on a long-term loan to you. Eventually when you leave it will get redistributed in some shape or form.

This will help to free you from all the worries and concerns that come from being attached to ownership. Simply enjoy what you’ve attracted into your life, be grateful for it but don’t rely on it for your own happiness and wellbeing.

You will never get the whole thing into a neat parcel that you own but you can let it flow through you.

St. Francis also reminded us “…it is in giving that we receive”. From a logical mindset this is the “wrong way round” because in the physical world receiving means getting, BUT in reality, it is the act and the process of giving that is the real “getting”.

When we give anything with a sincere heart, detached from whether we will get anything back, then we get to truly experience abundance for it is in the act of giving something away that you announce to the universe that you have enough to give away.

In your own consciousness you admit that you are abundant, so much so that you have enough to give away.

The obvious lesson from Lao Tzu is to be generous with what we have. There’s always someone in need; someone who desperately need what you have in abundance.

Today there are charities that support virtually every human cause imaginable. Take your pick.

Giving of your possessions is extremely fulfilling and you simply won’t truly know one of life’s greatest gifts, which lies in sincerely helping a fellow human being by sacrificing some of your own comforts for the sake of another.

Having an abundance of spirit is the first step in creating more material abundance in your life. An abundant spirit is never attached and has an inner knowing that you cannot give without receiving more in return.

The less obvious lesson from Lao Tzu is that giving extends way beyond giving of our possessions. The apparent renunciation of physical stuff tends to be very superficial.

More than anything, generosity refers to a generosity of spirit. Giving away stuff is often the easy way out and many even use it as either a device to gain social status or as a means to boost their ego.

The golden rule is to never give unless you feel it coming from a loving and caring place deep within you.

The transforming truth is that you cannot give away what you do not have. Ironically as long as you wait for anything that you truly want you might wait a long time.

Everything, love, abundance, joy, kindness, is all available to you and the easiest way to experience any of it, is to simply find it within yourself by giving it away. When you do two very important things happen:

  1. You get to experience it, which means that the actually “getting” is not even necessary.

    People like Mother Theresa and even St. Francis are great examples of this where they spent their entire lives just giving for it was in the giving that they found fulfillment.

  2. When you give you active the great law of the ages – The law of Attraction, which will return to you that which you are at the very core of your being. When you give with a sincere heart and when your thoughts are on helping and being of service the universe or God or Spirit responds in like Kind.

    Neale Donald Walsh (Conversations With God) likens God to a “Xerox machine” that reproduces in the physical world that which we hold in our consciousness.

    Also James Allen in As A Man Thinketh says that our circumstances to not “make” us but that it reveals us, by revealing our invisible thoughts in physical reality.

Giving is a truly powerful way of creating in your life that which you want. Very few people do it because it defies logic, yet it is in giving that we receive.

You cannot own anything – the only things that you can own is to keep it where “mold and rust” cannot reach it, which is in your spirit – in that part of you that never dies, that is eternal.

Lao Tzu tells us that when we are deeply loved by someone this gives us strength but when we give our love deeply to someone, this gives us courage.

To be truly detached from “things and stuff” you have to learn to give with all your heart.

This lesson of giving is more than a lesson as it’s a great law of the universe: whatever you give will come back to you ten fold, but it will only come back to you if you give it with the intention of not wanting or demanding anything back.

For many this is very hard, but you have to find within yourself that which you really want, especially that which you’ve been struggling to “get” and the find a way to give it away.

In caring for others and serving heaven,
there is nothing like using restraint.

Lao Tzu (c.604 – 531 B.C.)

We all have the capacity to give of ourselves. Giving is not about doing charity work (although it could be). It can be as simple as giving a smile and being kind.

Wealthy people are generous people – they give the world something that is needed and they often do it because it is their passion. Each and everyone have something that we are great at, something that we can share with the world.

When you do what you love, when you follow your bliss and when you live your life on purpose IN SERVICE OF OTHERS it is the ultimate gift to the world. This is what Dharma and purpose is all about. It’s about giving away of yourself and sharing the gift that is you with the world.

Underline the word “gift” in your consciousness – it’s about giving. Your talents or your gifts are meant to be given and shared and you where given it for a purpose which is primarily to contribute to life in some great way. Don’t hold back! You are not doing the world any favors playing small.

Application And Using This Lessons In Your Everyday Life:

  • The easiest way to start this practice of giving and experiencing the power of this law of reciprocity is to find some cause that really appeals to you, some cause that really touches you and that you feel strongly about.

    Then give to it, give of your time, your money, your talents or whatever feels like you are least able to give. (Yes, least able because that is precisely what you need to give – give that which you think you cannot afford to give).
  • Make a point of being more generous to everybody that comes along your path. The bus driver, the waitress, and the cashier – these are all people who you can touch with simple and random acts of kindness.

    Take an interest in people and show them that that someone cares and that the world is indeed a friendly place.
  • Go to your cupboard and find your favourite piece of clothing and go and donate that to a charity shop. People often go through their cupboards for a spring clean to donate all their old clothing and that which they don’t want anymore.

    This is great, but it is even more powerful to give away your favourite things, as this will help you to become detached. Always remember that attitude is everything.

    When you give, give with love and with a sincere heart. Lao Tzu reminds us “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
  • When you give and share with others, do this without any expectation of what you will receive back or looking for any thanks in any way. As you give more of what you consider valuable, then the more you will contribute to the harmony of the world.

    Your sense of purpose will be strengthened and your sense of fulfilment expands in all directions.
  • When you connect with one other person and give something away, it does not matter what, the receiver is in some way charged with the energy of your giving and will want to do the same.

    As human beings we have the need to reciprocate, especially when someone shows love and compassion towards you for no apparent reason. This is an effective way in which you can make a difference in the world.
  • There are many other ways that you can give and one of the best things you can give to others and yourself is forgiveness. Instead of being resentful, bitter or angry (which is the norm when you have been hurt emotionally) give kindness instead.
  • Instead of seeing another person as a hindrance to your own goals, see her as a friend and give her what you were trying to get for yourself.

    There are no coincidences and everything and everyone that comes along your path are there by design, ready to teach you something you need to learn. When you give kindness you remove anger, resentment, self-pity and low self esteem and increase your self-value.

    Just like the darkness fades in the presence of light, so too will all these destructive emotions disappear when you give light. You always have the option to be alight.
  • Spend some time thinking of someone who you have wronged and put all thoughts of revenge aside. Notice how different your body feels as you feel love and forgiveness for this individual.

    Remember these feelings in the future and how violence destroys the harmony of life and how forgiveness can melt these feelings.
  • A really important thing to give to others is your care. These days we are so obsessed with “looking out for number one” and never take the time to give care to others. Take the time to show someone that you care by listening, empathizing and loving.

    The greatest gift you can give anyone is to really BE THERE when you are with them. So often we rush through life and we are never living in the present moment reality. Our minds tend to always drift one step ahead and we rarely get centred and ground ourselves in the now.
  • Give others your experience, the gifts you have received from God. We all have special gifts, areas, which we excel in. Giving and sharing your gifts with others will make your life more meaningful and is in many regards the purpose of your life.

    You have showed up here with a grand mission and you are not really becoming someone as much as you are realizing yourself. The only way to self-realization is through service and giving.

    What good would a Picasso be if no one ever saw it? What good would a Mozart symphony be if no one even heard it?

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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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