Credited by some for being the ‘Father of Taoism’, Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu is believed to be one of the greatest spiritual minds. His teachings open our minds to a greater way of living.
Legends of Lao-Tzu speak of a man that was conceived when his mother saw a falling star, only to give birth to an old man that went on to live for 990 years. If it sounds to unbelievable to be true, you aren’t the only one that questions the accuracy of this historical account. In fact, many philosophers today believe that Lao-tzu may not actually have existed, but, instead, his teachings are a compilation of lessons from a wide assortment of historical philosophers. Whether fact or fiction, the teachings of Lao-Tzu have been passed down from generation to generation for over 2,000 years, improving our lives.
Even Confucius is said to have turned to Lao-Tzu for advice and wisdom. He was so impressed by the knowledge he was given that he compared the philosopher to a mythical dragon. He took Lao-Tzu’s teachings and applied them to his life, allowing them to guide and inspire him.
You too can learn from the teachings of Lao-Tzu. Here are 10 inspirational and life-changing lessons:
#1 – If you want to be free, you must learn to let go.
“If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.”
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.”
“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?”
“Therefore the Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything. Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go. She has but doesn’t possess, acts but doesn’t expect. When her work is done, she forgets it. That is why it lasts forever.”
#2 – Always be yourself.
“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.”
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
#3 – Happiness can be found in the moments where you strive to do nothing and just be.
“When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.”
“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.”
#4 – True pleasure is never found engaging one’s ego.
“He who defines himself can’t know who he really is.”
“He who tries to shine dims his own light.”
“He who has power over others can’t empower himself.”
#5 – Leadership is best attained by seeing yourself as equal with your followers.
“If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them. If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.”
“The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he would the people revere. The great leader is he who the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’”
#6 – The answer to all life’s questions is within you, you just have to trust yourself.
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”
#7 – True wisdom comes from humility.
“All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power.”
“The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know.”
#8 – In the end, kindness will always win.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
“Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.”
#9 – Don’t fight change, embrace it.
“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.”
“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”
#10 – The best way to destroy evil is by simply ignoring it.
“Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.”