The TAO in Everyday Life
The TAO is in every aspect of life: growing up; receiving education; seeking careers; getting married; raising children; connecting with others; staying healthy; growing old; and facing life challenges.
                               THE TAO IN GROWING UP

Growing up is the most important phase in the life of any individual because it defines and shapes the personality of that individual, making WHO and WHAT that individual will ultimately become.

The TAO could play a pivotal role: it depends on how that individual might look back in the years of development and growing up, as well as the positive and the negative impact of the parents on that individual.

According to the TAO, you must always ask questions about WHY something happened to you. Everyday something happens to you: but WHY and HOW that happens. Asking questions is introspection, which is a process of self-reflection, without which there is no self-awareness and hence no personal growth and development. A static life is never a life well lived. So, learn to ask yourself as many questions as possible, and try to seek answers from all the questions asked.

According to the TAO, throughout the early phase of growth and development,  children process all their life experiences they are exposed to through their five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. Their developing minds begin to process whatever they perceive, generalize it, and apply it whenever and wherever they think appropriate -- this process of perceptions and interpretations creates the foundation of their uniquely subjective experiences and perceptions, which subsequently also create the expectations in their young adult lives.

During this critical first phase, their mental input is only automatic and passive because their immature minds are unable to filter their mental input; their thoughts are merely a micro reflection of the minds of their parents.

As they grow up, however, they may then begin to learn how to refuse processing any unpleasant experience, or interpret it in the way they choose according to its relevance to their lives. Their selectivity then begins to alter how they process their life experiences in the future.

In this learning phase, children and young adults are learning incessantly, trying to understand and make sense out of the complex and senseless world they are living in. In this intensive learning phase, they begin to discern their respective roles they are going to play in the world, always looking for inspiration and direction from people around them, including their parents.

Even though every phase of a person’s life is important, none is more critical than the transitional phase from adolescence to adulthood. As young adults, the world around them becomes more complex and complicated. In addition, everything around them becomes increasingly exciting as experienced by the five senses, such as music and sex. But their self-delusions created by the way they process their own experiences may make them see more of the excitement and less of the reality of their world. This is a critical phase for most of them because it defines not only WHO they are but also WHAT they value; it sets the foundation for the way that the rest of their lives is likely to turn out because their thoughts are a preview of what their future lives would be like.

The reality

The thinking mind matters because you are your thoughts and your thoughts become who you think you are.

Your past experiences are the raw materials with which you weave the fabrics of your current experiences: your perceptions, your interpretations, and your judgments become your so-called "realities."

Human wisdom requires only an empty mind, not necessarily acquisition of knowledge. As a matter of fact, the more you know, the less wise you may become. The explanation is that knowledge previously acquired and accumulated often pre-conditions your thinking mind, and thus distorting your current perceptions.

Human wisdom is already inside you. What you need to do is to search for it with self-intuitive questions.


An empty mind with reverse thinking: Asking self-intuitive questions will help the thinking mind step backward to find out WHY and HOW certain life experiences happened.

"An empty mind with no craving and no expectation helps us let go.
Being in the world and not of the world, we attain heavenly grace.
With heavenly grace, we become pure and selfless.
And everything settles into its own perfect place."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 3)

"Letting go is emptying the mundane,
to be filled with heavenly grace.

Blessed is he who has an empty mind.
He will be filled with knowledge and wisdom from the Creator.
Blessed is he who has no attachment to worldly things.
He will be compensated with heavenly riches.
Blessed is he who has no ego-self.
He will be rewarded with humility to connect with the Creator.
Blessed is he who has no judgment of self and others.
He will find contentment and empathy in everyone.

Letting go of everything is the Way to the Creator."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 9)

Living in the NOW: The past was gone, and the future is yet to come. Only the present is real. The past only creates expectations to be fulfilled. Only consciousness of the now provides clarity of thinking.

"Living in the present moment,
we find natural contentment.
We do not seek a faster lifestyle,
or a better place to be.
We need the essentials of life,
not its extra trimmings.

Living in the present moment,
we focus on the experience of the moment.
Thus, we enjoy every aspect of simple living,
and find contentment in everyone and everything.

Living in contentment,
we grow old and die,
feeling contented."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 80)

Mindfulness: Awareness of what is happening to the body and the mind, as well as all the things around holds the key to separating the truths from the half-truths, the myths, or the untruths. Mindfulness is self-consciousness.

"watchful, like a man crossing a winter stream;
alert, like a man aware of danger;
courteous, like a visiting guest;
yielding, like ice about to melt;
simple, like a piece of uncarved wood;
hollow, like a cave;
opaque, like muddy water."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 15)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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