You CAN feel at peace any time you choose.
Most of the time, you may not feel you have a choice. Life has a way of bombarding us with problems of all kinds and the people in our lives seem to control most situations. It may seem hard to feel at peace when life is happening so fast and things aren’t going your way. But it’s not as hard as you think.
Verse 14 of the Tao Te Ching draws our attention to the mystery of Tao and suggests that when you become like the Tao you feel at peace. It says…
“You cannot know it, but you can be it, at ease in your own life.
Discovering how things have always been brings one into harmony with the way.”
This verse describes the Tao as invisible, inaudible, and intangible. It says even though you cannot physically see it, hear it, or touch it, you can still experience it intuitively.
The Tao is, was, and ever will be. It’s not effected by things that happen or don’t happen. It doesn’t feel hurt, offended, or persecuted. It isn’t created. It can’t be destroyed. It just simply is.
In any given moment, you can be like the Tao too. This is the key to feel at peace any time you want.
At the beginning of Chapter 14 Wayne tells us to ponder the idea of forever.
It has never changed. It has no beginning or end. You can’t see, hear, or touch it. However, you know it IS, always has been, and always will be. The Tao is like ‘forever’.
What if forever was a person? She would be an observer.
This observer could see everything, everyone, and everywhere. She would know all of that without bias for one aspect or another. No opinion, action, life form, object, or event would be more significant than any other. They would simply be a part of everything that exists.
Feel at peace in the midst of chaos.
Imagine yourself as this ‘Forever’ standing at the corner of a busy intersection. Look at your watch and begin to see the hands of the clock speeding forward. As the hands speed forward, all the activity in the intersection also speeds up. You remain standing there observing all the activity going along in every direction. Even though, all of life around you is speeding along going faster and faster, seemingly out of control, you feel at peace because you are simply observing.
This is the peace I believe this verse of the Tao is trying to get us to understand. It says we can’t see it, hear it, or touch, it but we CAN BE IT. We can be like the Tao if we imagine ourselves as the infinite aspect of ourselves, our own observer.
No matter what circumstance you’re faced with in life, you can pause and shift your perspective to this eternal observer and realize the situation is really not as serious as it may seem.
Do you normally get upset and stressed out during your commute to work? Try this instead.
Before you drive to work, imagine yourself as the observer from the previous exercise. Walk away from the corner and get into your car. Calmly navigate through all the other cars speeding around you. See all the traffic flowing around you in every direction. It speeds by you, it darts in front of you, it stops, it goes, and you feel at peace simply observing all these other drivers while you drive calmly to your destination.
The next time you actually drive in traffic, take that same feeling of inner calm and pretend to be the observer while you are driving. No matter what, keep pretending to be that peaceful observer who is not affected by anything that happens. Each time you drive your car, pretend to be this peaceful observer, and notice how stress free your daily commute becomes.
Feel at peace when you’re at work
Does your work make you feel overwhelmed? Are people demanding many things from you? Do you have alot of responsibilities and feel like you don’t have enough time to get everything done?
Try this. While at your work station, close your eyes for a moment and take a long deep breath. As before, look down at your watch. This time, see the clock slow down. Hear the ticks become slower and slower. As the time moves slower, also see everyone around you slow down. Feel the calm that comes over you as you observe everything slowing down. Once you notice you feel at peace, open your eyes and begin doing your work. If at any point you loose your peaceful feeling, simply stop for a moment and repeat the exercise.
The most important point to take away from these exercises is that you can decide at any point to use them to feel at peace. These are just a couple examples of how you can choose to feel at peace in any given moment.
There are many ways to do it.
Feel at peace when you’re sad.
Sadness generally comes when we think about things that aren’t what we want in life. We like to think it’s the circumstances that make us sad, but the truth is, it’s what we choose to focus on and the meaning we give it that causes the emotion of sadness.
For many years, the thought of my very dear friend who passed away when I was 18 would always make me unbearably sad. Every time I thought of him, I thought of all the things that could have been, all the things I should have said or done, and everything I missed about him. I was focused on all the coulda, woulda, shouldas and this always made me sad.
When I started studying books like this I learned that I could change my focus in any moment to create the feeling I wanted to have instead of what I didn’t want.
I would feel at peace when I was sad by changing what I was saying to myself about my friend. Instead of saying “I wish I could have had more time with him” or “I’m so sad that I’ll never see him again” I would say things like this instead “We had so much fun that one time we all went canoeing and tried to see who could cause the other people to flip over in their boat. I about peed my pants we were laughing so hard!”
This is a very effective technique for creating a happy feeling vs a sad one.
You can also feel at peace without saying or doing anything other than connecting to the eternal aspect of yourself aka the Tao.
Tapping into this invisible, untouchable, immeasurable force will enable you to gain the harmony that comes with being connected to the oneness.
The nameless source that has always been gives only the peace and harmony you desire, so recognize this infinite oneness and keep it in your awareness.
I’ve noticed, while studying the Tao Te Ching and other books like it, that switching my perspective to that of an observer is becoming easier and easier the more I do it.
I frequently stop to observe all the things around me at any moment and I try and see them from different perspectives. For example, I imagine what my world looks and feels like from the vantage point of a tree, a bird, a bug, the sun, or even from another galaxy.
Doing this helps me put my own life in perspective. It helps me see what’s really important. It relieves me of stress and worry. And it helps me know that everything, no matter what, is ok.
I love this suggestion from Wayne “Whatever you gaze upon, ask yourself, What is the true essence of what my eyes reveal to me?” He tells us to wonder about the magic behind everything and listen deeper to everything we hear.
I would suggest to do so from every perspective you can imagine.
“See the dance of how things have always been in the unseen, unheard, and untouched.”
The Tao teaches us to interact with and experience our own life from the perspective of the eternal/spiritual aspect of ourselves. From that perspective the things we previously thought were so important, lose their significance in the vast and eternal grand scheme of things.
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This is week 16 of our Saturday Morning Mastermind study of “Change your thoughts Change your life” by Wayne Dyer