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Daily TAO Reflections

“The Way to the Creator existed
before the universe was created.
Its essence is formless and unchanging.
It is present wherever we turn,
providing compassion to all beings.
It comes from the Creator of the universe,
who has no name.

To identify him, call him the Creator.
He can also be called the Great Mystery,
from whom we come, in whom we live, and to whom we return.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 25)

Lao Tzu’s profound wisdom is known as Tao wisdom or the Way, which literally means a direction or pathway to something or a destination. But to Lao Tzu, knowing or understanding (the essence of human wisdom) cannot be expressed in words-words are created by man, just as the Creator has no name, and His creation is a Great Mystery.  In other words, man is finite, and the Creator is infinite; therefore, using what is limited to understand the unlimited is impossible.

Remember: There is no blueprint to do or achieve anything in life, nor is there a destination for any life journey. Striving to understand the inexplicable is human folly and futility.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau


There was the story of a professor visiting a Zen master to find out more about Zen, which is an Eastern philosophy. In the beginning of the visit, the professor kept on talking while the Zen master served him tea. At some point, the Zen master kept pouring tea into the teacup held by the professor even though it was brimming over.

The moral of the story is that one must have an empty mind before one can accept new and unconventional ideas. Likewise, to intuit true human wisdom or Tao wisdom, one must have an empty mind capable of reverse thinking.

An empty mindset frees us from the many shackles of life that may enslave us and keep us in bondage without our knowing it.

Are you the master or just a slave of your own life?

Often times, we think we are masters of our lives, but in fact we are no more than just slaves. You are the master only when you have complete control over your own life, especially how you think.

How do you gain control over your life in terms of your career, human relationships, time management, and daily stress, among others? It is not easy because most of us have a pre-conditioned mindset that we must do this and do that in order to succeed in our endeavors in life. To illustrate, in our subconscious minds, we want to do well, and, to do well, we must set goals; to reach our goals, we must exert efforts; after accomplishing one goal, we need to set another higher goal, and yet another one higher than the previous ones. In the end, our lives may get more complicated and even out of control; as a result, we are no longer masters but only slaves to what we have accomplished or want to accomplish for ourselves.

“Those with an empty mind
will learn to find the Way.

The Way reveals the secrets of the universe:
the mysteries of the realm of creation;
the manifestations of all things created.
The essence of the Way is to show us
how to live in fullness and return to our origin."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 65)

Remember: Tao wisdom focuses on freeing oneself from any pre-conditioned mindset so as to have clarity of thinking.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau


Everything in life must follow a natural cycle, whether we like it or not, and therefore we must be patient because nothing is within our control, especially our destinies.

”That which shrinks
Must first expand.
That which fails,
Must first be strong.
That which is cast down
Must first be raised.
Before receiving, there must be giving.
This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.

(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 36)

Spontaneity is the essence of the natural cycle. What goes up must eventually come down; life begets death; day is forever followed by night-just like the cycle of the four seasons.

Remember: You are not in control of everything in your life, even though you may strive to. Controlling often comes with a hefty price: stress.

"Allowing things to come and go,
following their natural laws,
we gain everything.
Straining and striving,
we lose everything."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 48)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau


Picking and choosing is only sickness of the mind: the futility in striving to control what is essentially uncontrollable.

"People naturally avoid loss and seek gain.
But with all things along the Way,
there is no need to pick and choose.
There is no gain without loss.
There is no abundance without lack.
We do not know how and when
one gives way to the other.

So, we just remain in the center of things,
trusting the Creator, instead of ourselves.
This is the essence of the Way."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter42)

Picking and choosing is synonymous with control of self, of others, and of everything around, which is against the laws of nature.

Controlling external events is futility.
Control is but an illusion.
Whenever we try to control,
we separate ourselves from our true nature.
Man proposes; the Creator disposes.
Life is sacred: it flows exactly as it should.
Trusting in the Creator, we return to our breathing,
natural and spontaneous, without conscious control.

In the same manner:
sometimes we have more,
sometimes we have less;
sometimes we exert ourselves,
sometimes we pull back;
sometimes we succeed,
sometimes we fail.

Trusting in the Creator, we see the comings and goings of things,
but without straining and striving to control them.
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 29)

Remember: Picking and choosing is often based on past experiences and the projection of those experiences into the future as expectations. To illustrate, if you were successful in achieving something in the past, you would pick and choose to do the same to fulfill your expectation of a similar outcome in the future. In other words, you are striving to control what may be uncontrollable.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau