Finding Contentment in a Complicated World
If "contentment" is so important and as well as the teachings of Lao Tsu; why are there so few public credible teachers? The reason is most of the teachers are Chinese or connected to Chinese Traditions teachers. Language barrier is for certain a problem for most seekers of the path. Also teachers of the tradition understands enough history to know that it is not a path that is for the marketed world. Most ethical Teachers of Tao Traditions are not ones that seek to"mission" their path for the masses. Even in Chinese communities its a must gain access kind of tradition. It does take time to gain access to elders within the practices. For many impatient Americans they lose patients and seek elsewhere. For many that understand this testing period; all things come to those who wait!
Largely an oral tradition path, and infused with commentary's; the teachings of Lao Tsu's Tao Teh Ching is a lively rich tradition that teaches balance, harmony and personal spiritual wisdom. It has taken myself most of my adult life to begin to understand the heart sealed messages within the tradition. I am happy to share my personal experience from it. It is only a singular personal world view although. One person does not have the final word either on teachings of the Tao. In China the followers of Traditions of Tao have not yet self identified either what "Taosim" is either. Western Scholars actually coined the name Taoism, for the people of this syncretic tradition. Its very interesting cause people that follow the Tao actually like to ride under the popular radar historically. East Asian Traditions have become a great commodity in our world of self help therapy. It is kind of hilarious, practice systems that seek modesty, contentment and retreat are being sold constantly for quite a price, in our social world!
Life is Always in Flux
Having a unwavering view on living a life with "tranquility" to last forever is ignite for sure disappointment. It is more balanced to live our lives from moment to moment, in a state of equanimity. This is where formal meditation practice skills come into play in our everyday life. We should keep in mind not to fall into the expectations of either positive outcomes or difficulties. If we follow this our maturity, independence, and balance will increase. As things happen and we encounter difficulties, our skills to deal with trying times will come into play; and we will not react with a over the top emotional reaction. Advice here is to live your life with poise and balance. Contentment is also about learning to not live in a life of chaos and putting out fires. Its also about getting other peoples "Monkeys off your Back". Many times we train those around us how to treat us. So for many people they have to learn to cut the bondage. Its not easy for many but it is something that must be done.
The Best Leaders are the Most Peaceful
The fruits of following the way of meditation and the teachings of Lao Tsu, will pay big dividends in ones personal life. Very simply others will respect you not because of any act of cleverness or personal hubris on your part. We live in a age where we can spot the marketers now from a mile away; what are they trying to sell me now one might think. I personally loathe trying to sell any of the traditions on someone. Most people know what they are looking for. One will find the more they push trying to become popular the harder it will become. It will either have a fast uprising with a certain fall from grace. It can also just never go anywhere because the approach is just all wrong. Focus on being balanced and genuine; like the old great saying "all things comes to those who wait"!
People recognize natural simplicity and sincerity; a quality that lacks although in our "me-ism" age. Many use the titles of Master, Guru etc very easily. In East Asian Traditions its a proper way to address the elders and mentors. In many aspects for the uneducated it really does not mean a thing to their world view. Learn to be content with whom you are and be yourself! Learn to find your uniqueness in your own approach.
Another favorite old saying "you cannot cook rice with talk" comes into leading people on traditions. When teaching people we don't have to say so many things, create so many products to give commentary's on practice. Our actions speak louder than words. Its better to lead by example and have students follow you as the model until they get it. Everything they need to know will be in the practice experience. When students are having trying times be sure to listen fully to their dilemmas. The leader whom has the ability to maintain composure and preserver even during times of difficulty with a student- speaks volumes about your personal integrity.
I always get from students hey do you know so and so etc? Part of the contentment teaching is "Competition and Comparison" should be avoided at all cost. I am happy and perfectly content being a freelance teacher, and have no need to be involved in the "mission" of popularity. Many feel that there may be a division between yourself and another, a sense of missing out or competing; its really the chaos of the mind and ego. Focus on yourself and you will soar above everyone else. Take care of your own that's the most important aspect of this. Harmonious unions come to those of like minded individuals. Many leaders, mentors, teachers foster a false sense of superiority which creates a chasm with students. Its better not to foster a sense of superiority over others. The best one liner I heard from one of my earlier teachers was "I am forever student; we all learn together". A very important teaching for those whom opt to operate with a ethical world view.
Learning how to adopt a world view of contentment might be easier said then done for some. It will for sure take some conditioning and relearning how you evaluate people in your life, things you do in your life, and what things you will have to let go of. This is a old lesson morphed actually in many systems. Lao Tsu most likely gets the credit. Seek to accept situations without friction, it will take personal maturity and awareness to make it happen. Eventually it will become whom you are. Put your energy (qi) into meaningful relationships and pay greater attention to areas that you may be neglecting due to the many "Monkey's on your Back" (lol).
Lao Tsu said it best "Be yourself" (contentment); free yourself from being a prisoner of what people might say about you. If not you will forever be under their spell and be their prisoner!