Tag Archive: tao te ching

This is part 2 of the Mindfulness Through Photography post I just wrote….That was a synopsis of the seminar. This is a compilation of nuggets of wisdom, thought provoking tidbits, things bouncing around my head and stuff we talked about at the workshop.


  • Consider trying to be aware of how you view a situation/person/feeling/whatever. Are you passing judgement on it or are you accepting it? Even good judgements are still judgements.

    What do YOU think?

  • Sometimes judgement can be the opposite of compassion. Rather than pass judgement on someone, including yourself, consider a compassionate view. Perhaps you will find that you have a great capacity for it. (I need to work on this one.) And do practice compassion and gentleness toward yourself. We usually think of it in terms of other people, but you need to be nice to you.
  • Carolyn Coker Ross describes the Buddhist idea of radical acceptance – “Radical acceptance is accepting what is on a deep level without judgment – not saying it’s right or wrong but just that it is.” Trying to change or control what is leads to more suffering. She goes on to say, “It is not the size or severity of the problem that makes us able to accept what is.  It is our intention to heal.  An intention to heal brings us back to love which is the destination of our soul’s journey to healing.”
  • Chatter/self-talk isn’t necessarily bad, but being aware that your chatter is just that – chatter – and not a definite truth, is important. Just today, my mind was on a chattering tangent while I was cleaning the bathroom. I heard my mind say, “It’s your own fault, you could have avoided it.” Thankfully, I was able to let go of that nasty, hurtful thought, realizing that it was my own self-doubt talking and not a truth.

This 2nd verse of the Tao Te Ching applies here.

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess, acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.


  • Psychology Today describes mindfulness as…”a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

    In the moment.

  • Be a witness to your mind. Realize that you are not your thoughts. When you observe yourself thinking or reacting, you’re aware of, or witnessing, your mind. The witness is a non-critical observer.
  • Mindfulness can be an effective antidote to anxiety. It can bring you through a situation, present in the moment rather than having your mind run wild.
  • Pay attention to your body as a witness. This is one of the exercises I like in yoga. The instructor leads us as we focus on each part of our bodies, checking in, not judging whether it feels good or bad, just noticing. It’s a great way to get your head in the right space for yoga and I think it would make a good beginner meditation for those of us whose minds wander easily.
  • Breathing meditations and exercises are great ways to relax and to be in the present moment.
  • While you’re doing your best to focus, sometimes stuff comes up. That’s ok. Own it. Make a choice about what you do with it. Use your reaction to it as insight.
  • Invite your witness to observe, validate and let go.


  • We have to discipline our minds for stillness. We all have so many responsibilities, distractions and obligations that accessing our internal stillness can be very difficult. It’s worth the effort.
  • Inner peace; in the moment; just being…what is it to you?

For over 10 years I have had the pleasure of being intimately involved in the life of an amazing human being. He was amazing as he rolled around in my belly and he was amazing just last week when he explained how there really is no good and evil – that they’re just concepts – and that nothing and no one can really be labelled as such, since these concepts are merely matters of opinion. An ‘evil’ person believes that a ‘good’ person is evil and vice versa. It’s true.


Yep. That’s my kid.

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.
Tao Te Ching, Verse 2

Letting Go

This lesson is for me, but you can sit in. Let’s start with some introspection and reality checks.

  1. Are you alive?
    If yes, great. You’re 90% of the way there. If no, you’re being dramatic. Stop it.
  2.  This thing…is it going to kill you?
    If no, great, you’re 90% of the way there.
    If yes, this lesson isn’t going to be all you need, but feel free to sit quietly and listen anyway.
  3. What’s the worst thing that could happen if things play out as you fear?
    I’m not trying to make you dwell on the negative stuff. Just answer – you need it for the next question.
  4. Can you recover from the worst possible outcome?
    If no, remember that still being alive is 90% of the way. It’s really not that much further. Of course you can recover. Of course you can.
  5.  Is there anything you can do about this thing right now?
    If yes, then…..do it.
    If no, then, for now…for a little while, just for practice….let it go.

Since stepping out of the wilderness, all squint-eyed and confused, I have gathered a few concepts and ideas. A sampling:

  • Don’t always try so hard to make shit happen. It’s not going to happen if you force it. If you allow it, however, it will likely come. It also might not happen in order to keep a spot open for something better.
  • Don’t always try so hard to understand everything. Sometimes there is peace and relief in letting go of the need to put things into a box. Peace in just accepting them for what they are, as they are. It’s nice to look over at something – a person, a situation – and let it be, seeing it for its own intrinsic value rather than how it differs from what you think it should be.
  • Labeling things or people can take away from your ability to see their essence. Are you good? Bad? Beautiful? Ugly? No. You’re you. And that is what’s beautiful. Your you-ness. Don’t forget your own essence and intrinsic value.

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery;
ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations.
And the mystery itself is the doorway
to all understanding.
Tao Te Ching, Verse 1

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