Taoist Reflections: Your 3 Greatest Treasures

“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”

- Lao Tzu, 46th Verse of the Tao Te Ching 

 

Simplicity

Living with simplicity entails being true to yourself and others.  By being ‘simple in actions and thoughts’, there are few or no things that clog your mind and heart. You discard all the inessential stuff that makes life complicated and burdensome. Thus ‘you return to the source of being’ – your authentic self, your life purpose, your inner vision. You become attuned to yourself and the world around you.

Patience

Through simplifying your life, you cultivate patience since there are fewer distractions and unnecessary pressures. You become more patient with others because you are more in tune with yourself. You are not split between your mind, heart and a thousand things. You are focused and receptive to life situations and people around you. You ‘accord with the way things are’.

Compassion

You start with being ‘compassionate toward yourself’. Stop meandering in doubts, negative thoughts and criticism. Accept and give space to yourself. You are not perfect in the eyes of the world but you are perfect in the eyes of the universe – It just takes a wider perspective. By allowing simplicity, cultivating patience and being compassionate toward yourself, you will spread out your attention away from your self-focused inner conversations and widen your peripheral vision to include others.

You ‘reconcile all beings in the world’. This is a very interesting notion. Lack of compassion comes from a sense of separateness. That others are different – they are not me. They are a potential threat to my scarce resources, self-image and freedom.  Compassion on the other hand, arises out of seeing yourself being on the same boat with others. You see yourself, together with your needs and misguided worries, in others. Others become reflections of yourself. Hence through compassion you reconcile all beings in the world as you recognise they are connected together in the web of life rather than separate entities in a disconnected world.

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Article by: Gilbert Ross