Wisdom and Harmonious Living: Balancing Priorities


  Wisdom and Harmonious Living: Balancing Priorities

Since olden days, Taoism has been a source of wisdom and enlightenment to the world. It is said that if you are able to balance your responsibilities and lead a harmonious life, then nothing can harm you. Not only does it promote peace and tranquility, but it also helps us learn how to deal with problems in our lives, which makes it perfect for this time of year when we encounter all types of adversities. As Mencius said, "the wise person creates his own happiness. However, he is never arrogant even though he is living a happy life." In this article, I will share with you some of the ancient wisdom on how we can live a harmonious and fulfilling life no matter what comes during the year.

In ancient China, it was common practice to take a good look at yourself before thinking of others. The cardinal virtue in Taoism is modesty (Shen). The one who values modesty will always be humble and peaceful. Zhang Heng wrote in his work "Modesty", "Humility is an intelligent person's quickest path to virtue. It is this virtue that keeps us from being arrogant for our knowledge, thus leading us to be more caring and compassionate towards others. It is this virtue that keeps us from hurting the feelings of friends and foes alike. Humility is the greatest of all virtues, because it makes us happier and continually puts us at peace with ourselves and with the world."

From the beginning of time, people have been divided into classes. For example, there are those who "eat until they are full", while there are those "who eat until they are hungry again." The second class is an even smaller percentage that spends their lives living below their means. These people believe that if you have money, then you can put it to good use. By using your money for others, you help fulfill a higher purpose in life.

"The good person is difficult to find. He does not shine by his brilliance, nor is he dazzling by his talent." Lao Tzu said that the good person does not try to dazzle others with his or her own skills and knowledge, and thus he can display the true virtues of modesty, caring and integrity. The Parable of the Pearl tells us that there is one pearl of great value among many ordinary pearls. Although the ordinary pearls appear similar to the great pearl at first glance, they are easily distinguished once their value is appraised. Likewise, one can be judged by the company he or she keeps. We should surround ourselves with good people who live an honest and upright life. If we wish to be healthy and enjoy a long life, then choosing the company of good people is a definite plus for us.

Lao Tzu said that "one who has virtue will endure." One who has virtue is often described as being "slow to speak and quick to act." By taking his time and considering all his options before speaking, he cares not what others think about him. By acting quickly when it matters most, he can enjoy his life more completely. When others take their time to think, they are more likely to come up with a good solution. By acting without thinking, they usually make things worse.

When working with others, one should not be too demanding or pushy. One should help them as much as one is able but not forcing them to do something out of their own will. Helping others out is part of our life journey but it should not be done at expense of our own peace of mind. It does not mean we have to allow others to take advantage of us. In When the Way was Lost, Wang Gung-Tao writes: "We must exhibit our sense of being able while avoiding arrogance and vanity. The attitude we can take when others are trying to force on us is as follows: 'I can only help because I feel that this is wrong. This is why it would be unwise for me to try and force you to stop.' If I am continually arguing with people, and if my motherly behavior becomes excessive, what good will it do me?"

With our actions, we should be balanced. Having too much of one quality means there is not enough of another quality. If we do not have enough humility or generosity, our society will turn us into someone who is demanding or arrogant. If we do not have the right amount of courage or boldness, then we may lose our way and spending too much time thinking on our hands about what to do. It is said that "we can only be considered a true man of courage if we are able to live through adversity while remaining balanced."

The wise man is able to accept both praise and criticism with the same impartial attitude. Do not let words affect you so strongly that you forget your inner peace and tranquility. We can all learn a lot by reading words of wisdom from various sources:

Moderation is the best remedy for every passion.

Diligence is the best way to succeed.

The best way to be popular is never to do anything extraordinary.

To know others, you must know yourself.

Knowledge of the world makes a man more modest. Knowledge of self makes a man more modest. Knowledge of the will makes a man more passionate. Never regret what has happened, but instead regret what has not happened. Contentment with moderation is great happiness for this life and beyond it. (Confucius) The people are satisfied when they are educated and employed; they are dissatisfied when they are hungry and naked... The people are satisfied when they are healthy. They are dissatisfied when they get sick. (Lao Tzu) When the superior man hears of the Way, he immediately begins to carry it into practice. When the average man hears of the Way, he half believes and half doubts it. When the inferior man hears of the Way, he laughs loudly at it. If it were not laughed at, it would not be what it is.(Confucius) The sage's mind is like a mirror - it does not think; it does not select; but stillness and clarity appear before him as if of themselves.

Conclusion: The ten chapters of the Tao Te Ching are a collection of words from Lao Tzu. The first five chapters describe how Lao Tzu achieved longevity (around 150 years old) by following his path of living the life of a sage while remaining true to his inner reserves of strength and virtue. The second five chapters describe how Lao Tzu set up a kingdom that was based on morality and compassion that still exists today among the people in China.The last three chapters describe how one can live their day-to-day life in such as way as to maximize their happiness, good health, and longevity for the next eight lifetimes.

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