If you’re evaluating your level of achievement based on how much you’ve accumulated, prepare to sense a major shift in your state of personal satisfaction and contentment. Verse 46 of the Tao Te Ching invites you to discover a more peaceful and self-satisfying way of knowing success – and as your determination to acquire more begins to weaken, your new views will change the world you’ve known. You’ll find that the experience of inner peace becomes your true gauge of accomplishment.
This 46th verse begins with a look at what happens when a planet loses its connection to the way. Countries begin needing to conquer more territory.. and in their quest for more land, power, and control over others, they must constantly prepare for war. Lao-tzu speaks symbolically of horses here: When connected to the Tao, the animals fertilize the fields; when disconnected from it, the beautiful creatures are bred for war.
In modern translation of the Tao Te Ching, my friend Stephen Mitchell interprets this message in the present-day terms:
When a country is in harmony with the Tao,
the factories make trucks and tractors.
when a country goes counter to the Tao,
warheads are stockpiled outside the cities.
It’s painfully obvious that our world has largely lost contact with the way as described by Lao-tzu. These days so much of our energy is placed on breeding warhorses at the expense of using our resources to fertilize our fields so that we can live in peace. The United States is chock-full of weapons of mass destruction, and we continually legislate more funding to make our weapons so menacing that they’re capable of rendering our entire planet uninhabitable. The “disease of more” has created an environment that personifies Lao-tzu’s observation that there is “no greater tragedy than discontentment.” But even if so many of our Divine selves seem to be engulfed by the flames if unease, you can begin the process of putting Lao-tzu’s advice to work.
When you truly understand what it means to live peacefully, satisfaction will begin to replace your desire for more. Your world will begin to become tranquil as you change your own life and then touch the lives of your immediate family, your neighbors, your co-workers and ultimately your nation and the entire planet. Begin by simply thinking of the opening line of the famous Prayer of Saint Francis when you notice that you’re demanding more of anything.
Silently say, Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love. As that instrument of peace, you’ll radiate tranquility to those in your immediate surroundings, and you’ll feel the flicker of a new and different success in contentment, perhaps for the first time in your life. By refusing the lose the Tao, regardless how lost others are and what our world’s governments elect to do, you’re living harmoniously. Your connection to the Tao will make a difference, gradually inching Earth away from the precipice of discontentment that Lao-tzu called “no greater tragedy.”
The sublime Hafiz beautifully sums up the kind of success I’m referring to in his poem “Would You Think it Odd?”
Would you think it odd if Hafiz said,
“I am in love with every church
And any king of shrine
Because I know it is there
That people say the different names
Of the One God.”
Getting back to Lao-tzu, here are his messages from powerful 46th verse that are applicable today in your personal life:
Practice gratitude and contentment every day.
When your feet hit the floor every single morning, without exception, say, “thank You for an opportunity to live in a state of contentment.” Invite the magical energy of the Tao to freely flow through you and inform your responses throughout the day. You’re in harmony with your source when you’re soliciting gratitude and gratification in these ways.
Be one with your nature.
In a world that seems to produce more and more violence, become a person who chooses to be an instrument of peace. Let your nature be the “horses” that are bred to till the fields, feed the hungry, and offer comfort to the lame or less fortunate. Live as if you and Tao are one, which of course you are when you’rein your natural state.
When enough of us are able to do this, we’ll reach a critical mass, and eventually the Great Way will surpass the demands of the ego. I truly believe, to use a baseball analogy, that nature always “bats last.”
Do the Tao Now
Set aside time to make a conscious effort to send peaceful energy to someone or some group whom you think of as the enemy. Include a competitor; an alienated family member; a person of different religious persuasion; or those you oppose in a government, political party, or disagreement. Then literally send something to them if that feels okay to you, such as a flower, a book, or a letter. Begin your conscious effort today, right now, to surrender to the Tao and know authentic success, which has no separation.
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer – Living the Wisdom of the Tao