Taoism is an ancient and wise philosophy that can enhance our daily lives and help us expand our worldview. Most of the phrases attributed to great Taoist masters are quite enigmatic, so there is no single meaning, but may have different interpretations over time and according to the moment of life we are going through. However, some of these can become a mantra that helps us through the most difficult situations or can give us that extra dose of motivation that allows us move forward.
1. A thousand miles journey begins with the first step
One of the methods inspired by Taoism, Kaizen, teaches that little by little you go far. You can only have one certainty: if you don’t take the first step you’ll never reach your destination. The simple act of moving will not get you where you want to go, but at least you move from where you are. The secret is to get going and not wait for the "right time" that will probably never come. And above all, do not despair or expect to get the results instantly.
2. There is a time to move forward and one to go back. A moment to go up and one to go down
Life is marked by ups and downs, the "bad" periods teach us to value the "good" phases, but in fact in all situations there are good and bad aspects, it’s just that we often fail to notice them. In any case, it is important to be aware that each stage brings something. Accepting each of these will enable us to make the most with the least effort. In this regard, a part of the Taoist intelligence consists of not resisting and learn to flow with the tide.
3. If you can’t advance one inch go back one foot
In Taoism, the concept of flowing is critical. This philosophy teaches us that it is wiser to follow the current than swim against it. So when we find different obstacles on our way, rather than insisting in that direction we should take a step back and reconsider the path we have taken. It is not always necessary to change objectives, sometimes is enough to make some changes to the route. But other times we should really consider whether it's worth doing so many efforts and sacrifices to reach a certain goal.
4. When I stop being what I am become what I might be
Learning to unlearn, it would be another way to express this idea. Throughout life we go accumulating too many stereotypes, prejudices and beliefs that end up limiting us. For example, every label that we assigned ourselves is a limitation that prevents us to go further and develop our potential. So Taoism teaches us that, at times, to reach our potential we must leave behind everything we think to be and determines us, because at some point, these beliefs become obstacles to development.
5. No one can see oneself reflected in the water flowing
Making decisions, especially when they are important, being drifted by emotions, can lead to regrets. No matter whether it is anger, sadness or euphoria, when the emotional brain takes over, we can’t think clearly, simply because this disconnects its rational part, so that we are not able to know exactly what is best for us. So to make decisions is better wait for waters to calm down.
6. Perfection is willingness to be imperfect
The obsession with perfection ends up creating an unnecessary tension which not only make us sick but also consumes our energy. The Taoist philosophy proposes that we learn to flow, getting the best out of ourselves, but without claiming to be perfect in everything we do. In this way we become more authentic because we express ourselves more naturally.
7. A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not aimed to arrive. The journey is its own reward
In many cases, it is not so important what we have achieved, but the person we become while pursuing this goal. Along the way we meet interesting people, we grow and expand our minds or, conversely, we lose the people we love, forget our values and become more strict and closed persons. So when you pursue a goal, don’t lose the sight of the way and, most importantly, do not forget to enjoy it.
8. Stop thinking, and ends with your problems
The vast majority of our problems exist only in our minds, because it’s not the situations, but how we react to them and the meaning that we give them that can cause us damage. So, in many cases, to end the feeling of anxiety and stress, you just need to change your point of view and stop those negative and catastrophic thoughts that normally occupy your mind. It is not easy, but be aware of it is the first step.
9. What for the caterpillar is the end of the world for the rest of the world is called butterfly
Sometimes the trees keep you from seeing the forest. When you are immersed in a situation that is considered "negative," you assume a catastrophic attitude that will prevent you from seeing opportunities. Taking a step back and asking the opinion of another person, will allow you establish a psychological distance that will not only reduce suffering, but will also help you to radically change the situation. Remember that every situation can be seen from different points of view and yours is just one of the many and can also be the worst.
10. Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Do not resist them, it would cause you just pain. Let reality be reality
Life stands for change, nothing is static, even if our obsession with control is opposed to this reality. But pretending that everything would continue always the same means to resist the reality, ignore it, and this does not mean it will disappear but that we’ll harm ourselves. The best way to handle it is to face reality, with the conviction that it is just a phase and that we are waiting for better times in the future. Similarly, we must learn not to cling to things because attachment is the seed of suffering.
10 Taoist phrases that we should always remember
4/ 5Oleh Jennifer Delgado