A core belief in Taoism philosophy is to “practice simplicity, patience, and compassion.” It sounds easy but is much more difficult said than done. Mastery takes a great deal of work, self-discipline, and awareness. The Tao cannot be clearly defined and is open to interpretation by each individual. You can choose the best approach to life and follow your path. We’ll break down the primary principles. You’re free to decide if this philosophy will help improve your life. You might think that Taoism can enhance your personal development. You need to study, learn, and practice the philosophy.
Practicing simplicity means living an enriching life with less. This blog post further discusses minimalism. When people make life more complicated, they lose sight of themselves. If your sole focus is greed and acquiring more possessions, you can lose it all. In The Tao of Leadership, Chapter 44, John Heider addresses Owning or Being Owned. “The more you have and the more you get, the more you have to look after. The more you might lose. Is that owning or being owned? You have to ask yourself what means more to you, materialism or self-fulfillment? When you’re humble, you tend to be more grateful and have a deeper appreciation for things. Identifying your needs versus wants and clearing out clutter delivers simplicity in life.
Approaching situations with patience not only provides you with peace but also success. Combining patience and persistence produces results. This topic is covered in The Tao Te Ching Backward Down the Path Chapter 64. In Small Beginnings, Successful Endings, author Jerry Dalton makes a strong point. “In their affairs, people often fail while on the brink of success. Therefore pay as much attention at the end as at the beginning. And there will be no failure.” Dalton then paraphrases it to make it easier to understand. “Because they are impatient, people often fail when they are on the brink of success. If they devote as much attention and energy to the end of a project as to the beginning, they will always succeed.” The Art of Patience blog discusses how to become more disciplined through The Tao of Star Wars.
Having empathy and care towards others makes us human. Sometimes, it’s difficult, and the world seems a bitter and dark place. By practicing compassion and open-mindedness, you can grow as a person. Ray Grigg writes about the concept in The Tao of Being Chapter 59, Whole Caring, Whole Allowing. He mentions using restraint when caring for others. “From restraint comes selflessness. From selflessness comes balance. From balance comes wholeness. From wholeness comes deep caring.” Everyone has struggles that they don’t broadcast. A little compassion can go a long way and mean the world to them.
Practicing and tying all the concepts together helps you gain balance and awareness. Jerry Dalton’s Taoism book states, “Simple Actions Add Up.” Having humility and frugality while keeping a low-profile yields results. Dalton has a notable achievement that’s not common knowledge. He was the first non-family member to be the Master Distiller for Jim Beam when he wrote his book. In Chapter 72, he writes, “When I’m asked what I do, I don’t say that I am Distillery Operations Manager. Instead, I say, I make whiskey.”
Taoism’s three other core tenets are going with the flow, letting go, and harmony. We’ll discuss the primary aspects in upcoming blogs.