Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 02: Favorite Lao-Tzu Quotes

Day 02: Favorite Lao-Tzu Quotes

This is a tough one, because there are so many quotes from the author of the Tao Te Ching that have so much meaning to me.  I will do my best to use the ones that I have personal connection with.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
One of my favorites and one of the most famous.  Interestingly enough, this is not the most accurate translation even if it is the most poetic.  The actual quote has the journey beginning beneath your feet, which is meaningful in its own right.  I have this quote tagged as a potential tattoo in my future, not because I want to show it to others, but because I need the reminder for myself that even the biggest obstacle can be overcome if you just take a step in the right direction.

"Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river."
Taoism is often inspired by nature such as in this quote.  I take this as an instruction to know when to stand your ground (like an unmoving mountain) and to know when it is best to be flexible (flow like a river).  It also refers to the serenity of a mountain and the constant change of a river.

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”  
I did not find this in my documentation as being said by Lao-Tzu, however it is often attributed to him, so perhaps I am just not looking in the right place.  Whether he said it or not, this quote is at the core of my struggles with social anxiety.  When I succumb to SA I am indeed held prisoner by the thoughts of others.  My every action becomes dictated by what I guess others to be thinking.  I am very happy to have overcome the majority of my issues involving social anxiety, however it is a constant battle to keep it that way.  This quote reminds me of why I must stop worrying about what others think.

“Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”
 It says volumes.  A profound way of saying that actions speak louder than words.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
Yet again, I have no documentation of where this quote came from.  I don't find it in the Tao Te Ching translated in this way, but the theme is definitely present throughout.  Our society is obsessed with labels especially in connecting what you do for a job to who you are.  Recently I decided to start calling myself an author.  I have written three novels, one of which is self published, yet I still didn't feel I could label myself as such.  I may not make the most money doing it, but I write books which is the most rudimentary definition of author.  This is just an example of how I can get caught up in the labeling of things, forgetting that none of that matters at all.  Let go of who I am, and become what I might be, free from any restricting labels.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” 
We have all experienced it.  When you are in a hurry because you are running late, everything that can go wrong does, and you realize that the simple act of rushing actually causes you more time in the long run.  I try to live life unrushed.  If I am late, that is unfortunate and never my desire, but I will be in a far better mood when I get where I'm going if I don't pressure myself to get there faster than possible.  I don't believe in rushing to the point that life is not fun, slow down and enjoy the ride!

There are a million more quotes I could put, but I'll leave it here for now.

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