Everyday Tao

"The ancients trusted their students to see. They trusted their students' perceptions. They didn't say, "Learn Tao from my words." They didn't say, "You are incapable of seeing Tao." They didn't say, "You can only gain Tao through elaborate rituals in temples." Instead, they simply let their students live and travel with them, and they knew that the students would see Tao in the wind and mountains, trees and rivers, animals and people. The real Tao wasn't invisible. The real Tao was the everyday Tao."
Everyday Tao

Learn from the Trees

"Absorb, absorb, absorb. That is the secret of the tree. When human beings egotistically divide themselves from nature, that is a great mistake. When we divide ourselves from Tao, we are committing the greatest crime, and like all criminals, it is we who suffer the most. No, accept what life sends you. Accept how Tao flows through you, just as the tree absorbs and grows, and you will never be without Tao. . . .

"When we see old trees, it is right to think about what is ancient, for what is old has survived many seasons of both hardship and joy. To have survived signifies not simply tenacity and longevity. It also signifies being at one with Tao, for anything that grows old must be in touch with the sustaining Tao.”
Everyday Tao

Listening Takes Time

"Listening takes time. You have to take the time to hear, but it also takes time for the words to penetrate into your heart. Just because you hear words of wisdom doesn't mean that you are instantly transformed. Therefore, those who seek Tao constantly seek words of wisdom and allow them to accumulate deep in themselves. That is why the ancients always said it takes a person of virtue to hear words of virtue. It takes a person of strength to want words of strength. It takes a person of learning to discern words of learning. . . .

"[And] that is why, from ancient times to the present, those who follow Tao take care to seek out the best teachers: by learning from the best, they enhance their chances of becoming the best.”
Everyday Tao

What Is Tao?

"When you are better than your worries, that is Tao.
When you can control your health, that is Tao.
When you can combine mind and action, that is Tao.
When you can be like water, that is Tao.
When you can be as illuminating as fire, that is Tao.
When you can be as sharp as metal, that is Tao.
When you can be as piercing as wood, that is Tao.
When you can be as abundant as the earth, that is Tao.
And when you can make yourself like a rock at will, that is Tao.”
Everyday Tao

Cultivate These Fields

"Worship by cultivating nine fields:
Diet. Herbs. Clothing. Recitation.
Movement. Meditation. Creativity. Teaching.
And most important: Compassion.”
365 Tao

Bodily Teachings

"The hands teach us not to be selfish.
The mouth teaches us to give thanks in word and song.
The nose teaches us to learn from our environment.
The eyes teach us to show compassion and sincerity.
The ears teach us to keep our balance.
All parts of ourselves both give and receive.”
365 Tao

All Beings on the Path

"Why do you scorn others?
Can it be that you are that proud?
No matter how accomplished you are,
There are people ahead of you and behind you.
All beings on the path,
All victims of the same existence,
All with body, mind, and spirit.
No one is better than the next person.
Help others for all the times that you have been ignored.
Be kind to others, for all the times that you have been scorned.”
365 Tao

My Mandala

"What did I do today?
I exercised. I said good-bye
To a departing friend.
I went to market, ate my meals.
Took a walk. Took out the garbage.
Read a little. Meditated. Slept.
This was my mandala.”
365 Tao

The Spiritual Value of Repetition

"People seldom understand the power of repetition. What is repeated over and over again can become enduring; what is done in a moment is seldom lasting. If farmers do not tend to their field every day, they cannot expect a harvest. The same is true of spiritual practice. It is not the grand declaration or the colorful initiation that means anything. It is the ongoing, daily living of a spiritual life that has meaning. Our progress may range from dull to spectacular, but we must accept both. Each and every day should be linked together, strung into a long line of prayer beads. In life you don't know how many beads you've counted already, and you don't know how many are yet to come. All that matters is fingering the one that comes to you now and taking the spiritual significance of that moment to heart.”
365 Tao

Time

"Earth teaches us to be patient and nurturing, supportive and modest. Heaven may provide the days and the seasons, but earth teaches us how to make use of that time. Whether we are growing grain to sustain ourselves, or whether we must search for a new place to live, the earth shows us how to turn waiting to our advantage.

"Everything worth doing takes time to develop. The earth teaches us to think of what matters against the long perspective of its geologic time.”
The Living I Ching