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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Wisdom in Living According to TAO

The Wisdom in Living According to TAO

The ancient wisdom in living is about TAOo or The Way from ancient China. The word “TAO” in Chinese originally meant “road.” Later, it came to mean “way”, and hence “The Way.” Tao is a way of looking at the world with a certain attitude of mind, which is totally different from that of the West, and that is why it is so intriguing and fascinating, as evidenced by the fact that Tao Te Ching ( ), the book of Tao, is one of the most translated books in the world.

In TAOo, your entire thinking process is reversed from that of conventional wisdom. In TAO, you think with your heart and only feel with your mind, while in conventional wisdom, you use your mind to think, to reason, and to judge by logic. The way to TAO is to let the mind do its natural function of both feeling and observing, instead of just thinking. More specifically, the main function of the mind is to observe the thoughts in the mind without judgment. The Chinese for “I think” is literally “my heart thinks.” For centuries, the Chinese have been inculcated with the concept that the heart is responsible for the ultimate thinking process. However, that is not to contradict the Western concept that the mind thinks. In TAO, thinking with the heart means consciously slowing down the mind, letting the mind observe the thoughts, instead of having the mind controlled by the thoughts. Simply put, the mind mainly feels and observes; it does little thinking or judging.

To illustrate, the mind is like a car, just an instrument of the human brain. The driver is the heart that controls the steering. The car only observes and feels, just as the body does through its five senses; the car does not control the speed or the direction, but the driver does. It is important that the car does not exceed the speed limit, because if it goes too fast, it cannot properly observe the surrounding with its details, and thus compromising safety. Therefore, it is also important for the mind to slow down, so that the driver can see clearly where he or she is going. Tao wisdom focuses on slowing down the thinking mind, letting it become only the non-judgmental observer so that the heart can make the intelligent choices and decisions in life, just as the driver knows where he or she is going.

Is the ancient wisdom of TAO applicable to contemporary living?

Absolutely! Wisdom is absolute truth that can withstand time; what was true in the past is also true today. To fathom that ancient wisdom from China, you must begin with your mind, which controls your thinking process and your thoughts.

Unfortunately, the mind, like the human nature, also has its own dark side. As a matter of fact, according to the ancient wisdom of TAO, the mind is more often than not an enemy instead of a friend. In other words, thinking can become a disease, especially if the mind is not rightly used and not properly controlled.

Stephen Lau
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