Respond to the “Dow” with the “Dao”
Rena M. Rease
The Dao De Jing may be the oldest spiritual document known to man. The title translates to “The Way” and it contains 81 short verses that lend insight into the natural laws of the universe that are always at work in our lives. It is positively remarkable that this intriguing text is so relevant so many thousands of years after it was imparted by a man named Lao Tzu.
When you read the Tao it is hard to discount the prophetic exactness and relevance of Lao Tzu’s wisdom for us today. Each one of the verses has powerful implications and applications to us now in the 21st Century. The Tao reminds us that humanity is essentially the same as it was in 2500 BC although our technology and knowledge makes us believe that it is vastly different. Think about that for a moment. Our nature, desire for wholeness, the rules of decency, kindness, creativity, love and curiosity are basically the same as they were for ancient humans.
We can use the way of the Tao in our modern lives as we seek to navigate what seems to be the most uncertain time in human history. Applying this ancient and wise text to our lives is one way to respond to the Stock Market and global concerns with trust, optimism and wisdom. Living the Tao or “the Way” in times such as these blends our spiritual quest with our economic and global quests.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is just one indicator of the health of our economy. While we cannot minimize the grave errors made by individuals, organizations and governments that have contributed to the present state of things, their bad decisions and selfish actions, have created a mess that fear and anger will not solve. Harnessing the power of natural law we can step toward healing our economy and our future. While few things seem predictable in the 21st Century the Tao is a place we can go for insight on how to navigate this uncertainty.
- Life is dynamic and composed of opposites. Illustrated in concepts such as light and darkness, great and small, powerful and weak; the world is an orderly and balanced place. When there is disorder it is really the universal energy trying to “right itself. Selfishness, greed, materialism, power quests, and the disregard for our beautiful planet have gone too far. Now, just like the Stock Market, the universe is encouraging and seeking a correction.
- Regardless of where your attention flows, by the very nature of your giving something your focus it is fueled. If your attention is on fear, you are feeding what you abhor. If your attention falls upon opportunity, what you desire is nourished. Be vigilant in your investment of time and focus.
- Each of us holds an inward concept of happiness that is etched in our minds. It could entail financial freedom, abundant health, a connection to nature, or a certain level of power and prestige. The myriad ways we describe happiness are an illusion created by our ego in an attempt to feel in control of our lives. Once we realize this, we can choose to find happiness in the way things are in the present moment.
- Science teaches us that energy is not created or destroyed, it simply changes forms. This truth speaks to the illusion of having an abundance of money or a deficit of resources. It is all here now, just as it was before this moment. If it appears to be gone, it has just flowed to another place or taken on another form, but still exists.
- In uncertain economic times we may find ourselves focusing inward on our personal challenges. A lost job, battered stock portfolios, a plummeting 401K plan or a mortgage in jeopardy all have a way of rocking our security boat. While it is prudent to assess the truth of your present situation, stewing on it, complaining about it and looking to blame someone will never bring you any measure of true relief. Relief will surprisingly be found in acts of selflessness. At this moment, it may seem hard or impossible to lend a hand to another or focus on what is right rather than wrong. However you will find that shifting your attention from your own burdens as you perform a kind act or gesture actually can provide you with comfort, control and connection when you most need them.
- Lao Tzu teaches us to stop pouring when our cup is full. Do we honor this in life? When we have long been satisfied with enough do we still seek more?
- There is a great tendency in life to decide how things are by how pleasing life seems to be to our senses. Tastes, sounds, and all of the potential sensory stimuli in the world can bombard us to the point of numbness. This is illustrated in the crying child at Disney World who is over stimulated by excessive feedback from the environment. The Tao teaches that we can tire of even the most delicious foods if we eat them too often.
- Things will come and go and your possessions will become an inheritance one day. You own nothing and your body is not even yours to keep. Why get caught up in the chase for acquisitions, power, pleasure, and possessions and neglect the care and feeding your inner world to such a degree? Enjoy your outer-world but let your inner-world define you.
- Words like “empty” and “void” seem to have a negative ring to them. It seems that these terms may appear to be less than desirable when compared to their perceived opposite word “full”. Today you are encouraged to bless the void for it is there that you can build, plant and fill. If you dig a hole in the earth with a spade, you have a void. Plant a seedling there and that same void becomes a new haven for life.
The upheavals we may be experiencing globally are actually presenting a great gift to us. This gift is the illumination of the path back to right thinking and right action. It’s a call to return to what matters most. Living in connection with the Divine part of us is our natural state and this is what has suffered greatly with the advent of our busy and material-driven lives. Lao Tzu spoke about the Tao being the mother of 10,000 things. Perhaps he knew that the things of the earth are here to be enjoyed, but they are not what will give life its true richness.
[Rena M. Reese is the founder of Soul Salon International, an inspirational multimedia company. She is the author of several inspirational titles, a coach/consultant, a professional speaker and the host of a weekly radio program called The Soul Salon. For more inspiration and information please visit www.SoulSalonInternational.com.]