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Posts Tagged ‘tao’

Since January 19th, in celebration of the 10 year anniversary of my Enviroart blog on WordPress, I have been publishing essays that I first posted 10 years ago. This is the last of such postings for now.

This is a portrait of my daughter at 4 years old I painted some years ago when I was studying classical portraiture.

 

Petite Rebelle
©Suzanne Bélair
Oil on Canvas 24 X 20 in

 

Everything is as it should

February 7, 2008 by Enviroart

 

I feel like saying today that everything is as it should. We work so hard to find a purpose for our life sometimes, struggle to get out of problems and bad situations when all there is to do is stop and listen. Open yourself up to the wisdom of the universe. Meditate and listen. Ask a question before going to sleep at night and trust that the answer will come the next morning and it will. Inspiration… It is talked about in the Tao and a lot of spiritual leaders talk about it also. The Dalai Lama said that  “The purpose of life is to be happy”.

 

But happiness does not come from material possessions it comes from within. It is not easy when other people make demands on us. When we think we are not important enough to give ourselves peace of mind and happiness.  WE must work to achieve this.

 

Depressed or felling abandoned? You are part of a whole. We are all alone in our search for the truth but at the same time we are all part of a whole. You think you don’t matter? That your life makes no difference? Well, you are wrong because your life does make a difference. You are important, be it to teach someone something, be it to learn something from a life teacher you will meet or have already met. Only by letting go and accepting, by opening your eyes and your ears to receive the truth will you find peace.

 

I know I sound like a philosopher today but this is the truth I found. Try to live more by intuition. Try to follow your inner light even if it feels pretty dimmed. You might not feel it right now, you might even think there is none inside of you, but there is. Unfortunately, most of us have a hard time following what Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe once said “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least”. And this is sad most people let them.

 

I have been reading the Tao Te Ching lately and I find it very difficult to understand the subtlety of its wisdom. I know it is hard to accept that things are as it should  when you look at the world, pollution, violence, hunger. All this unfairness! Why is this? We think it is worse now than before but it is not really. There has always been wars and violence, unevenness. Nothing is thrown our way that we cannot handle. We must go forward and find the courage to go on, to learn from it.

 

We hear a lot about suicide lately. The new thing is to try to see the early warning signs and influence the person to stay alive. But the truth is only that person is walking in her shoes. Only this person must find his or her own truth. All we can do is spark something. Each person must be ready to receive the truth before they are able to accept it.

 

When you are really discouraged, just remember that all things are temporary in life. Nothing is forever. It will pass. All you have to do is hang on for now and receive the lesson. Tomorrow will be better, even if tomorrow takes a few weeks, months, years, it will come. And remember your uniqueness makes you important. There is only one “You” and you are important. You don’t need to try to be happy, it cannot be forced especially if you have certain ideas about happiness, especially if you think you don’t know what will make you happy, or if you think you will never be happy. You will be happy again. You will. Life is a wheel turning, changing all the time. When you’re down, there is nowhere to go but up. A good way to improve your life is to find something to do for someone else and try to focus outside yourself. Everything is as it should and you too can bring something worthwhile to someone’s life, indeed to the world.

 

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Enviroart par Suzanne Bélair

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In today’s world, we are confronted with a lot of anger and dissatisfaction about everything. This creates so much anxiety and unrest in everyone that comes into contact with this anger whether through the evening news, newspapers or by being confronted with this despair right under our eyes.

Personally, we are going through a trying time, having just found out another friend got stricken with cancer and once again, I realise how life can change in an instant or even end abruptly. We all know we live as ticking time bombs but some of us are wasting so much time just being anxious, afraid or angry. And what does it change except that we are losing these precious minutes that have been allotted to us at the start of our life?

This morning, as I am trying to cope with the news, packing because we are moving soon and struggling with the fact that I don’t have enough time to paint and prepare for some upcoming exhibits, I decided a good way to bring back some peace in my life would be to read a couple of verses from the Tao Te Ching. And I fell on the 54th verse which says:

The Tao is everywhere;

It has become everything.

To truly see it, see it as it is.

In a person, see it as a person;

In a family, see it as a family;

In a country, see it as a country;

In the world, see it as the world.

How do I know this is true?

By looking inside myself.

 

This speaks to me of understanding and tolerance. This speaks of our role in transforming our lives and how this transformation creates a ripple effect that spreads to our family, friends and acquaintances, to our community and to the planet. This tells us that our life is important and that whatever animates our bodies and our thoughts (Tao, God, Life) in our inner silence, it is present and significant, we do make a difference. And this difference should go towards making this planet a better place. We have to realize that we can consciously make a difference for the better of humankind and that each gesture, each thought have an effect and change something. We have to strive to make that change positive and kind, and to achieve that change not through violence and aggression, but through patience and understanding, with love.

Everything we think eventually becomes reality, extends outward in some capacity and therefore has the power to affect the future, our own and that of the universe. We have to live our lives with this awareness and remind ourselves each and everyday of the importance of living and treating others with kindness. This kindness must also extend to ourselves. We have to feel this knowledge in our core and live accordingly.

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Seeing the Invisible

The 14th verse of the Tao Te Ching talks about the invisible, the inaudible, the intangible, of things that cannot be defined but are present all around us, indeed inside of each of us. It says « Each of these three things is subtle for description, by intuition you can see it, hear it, and feel it. Then the unseen, unheard, and untouched are present as one. » A little further: « Approach it and there is no beginning; follow it and there is no end. 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 is asking us to feel the oneness we share with all beings human or otherwise. It is asking us to tap inside ourselves and observe what is around us and feel deeply the invisible but real connection that brings us all together. It is telling us we are all part of a chain and that what you do to others, you do to yourself because every action generates a reaction somewhere, somehow. Everything is in constant movement and connects everybody and everything together. This verse is suggesting that you look beyond what is before your eyes, beyond the physical information that is before you, that you tap into this inspiration, intuition that is present at your core, that connects you to the universe and that is all knowing.

 

We have to stop questioning why things are how they are. Lao-Tzu is telling us that as a part of the oneness that is all encompassing and eternal, we need not fear our future, our conditions since we are only but a part of the unfolding of the eternity. When you look at everything with these internal eyes instead of your physical ones, you start to love everybody around you because you can see that even your worst enemy is, most of the time, acting out of fear. A fear inspired by their ego seeing only the physical world in front of their eyes. Look around you, look at nature and see beyond the tree, the flower, the duck, your mate. Don’t assume you know what is inside or what motivates somebody unless you can really look with your heart’s eyes. Accept that you might be wrong about people.

 

Accept that we are all part of each other and that you must respect everything around you in the same manner.

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I have been reading about the 80/20 principle lately. Over the years, it had never really caught my attention but here it is now. I find it intriguing because of the fact that it can be applied to everything in life, whether business, economics or relationships and material possessions. It first caught my attention while I was listening to a conference about the Tao Te Ching, the ancient wisdom brought to us by Lao-Tzu 2500 years ago. One of the verses talks about decreasing instead of accumulating. The 48th verse says that “Learning consists of daily accumulating, The practice of the Tao consists of daily diminishing” It also says: ”True mastery can be gained by letting things go their own way. It cannot be gained by interfering”.

How does this link with the 80/20 principle?

When we really see that we end up using only 20% of our possessions, we should be able to get rid of 80% of what clutters our closets and our homes. Think about it, are you really using 100% of what you possess? Probably not. So why not get rid of some of it and donate them to people that would use them? It is important for material possessions to be in circulation, to flow. They are at our service and we should not be slaves to them. If you own a home and are enjoying it, that is good. But if it becomes a burden of payments you have problems meeting, work and maintenance you do not enjoy doing, if it causes you stress and worries, then it is not worth it. The same is true of all our material possessions that must be dusted, washed, moved and so on. If something brings true enjoyment, it is all worth it but the minute it doesn’t anymore, get rid of it.

The 80/20 principle is also interesting when applied to business. If 20% of your products bring in 80% of the profits, if 20% of your employees produce 80% of the work, if 20% of your efforts bring about 80% of the results, it is clear that there needs to be a shift in working habits and a profound analysis of the employees strengths and weaknesses in order to render the whole thing more efficient. Because the opposite is also true: 80% of the products bring in only 20% of the profits, 80% of your employees don’t produce more than 20% of the work and 80% of the efforts bring only 20% results.

And what about relationships?  Are we spending 80% of our time on the 20% that doesn’t count instead of spending the bulk of our time with the 20% of our relationships that are important to us, to our well-being?  Does that make sense? There needs to be a shift to bring together our true values with our actions. The goal should always be to align these two realities, our spiritual authenticity and our material reality. The 80/20 principle brings this to light. I myself have realized that I was spending pretty much 80% of my time on things that didn’t really matter to me. I have been trying to re-align this. You get caught up in life and outside demands and one day you realize that somebody else or something has taken over your life (80% of it at least) and that you are not doing what you want, with the people you want and are not where you want to be. When this happens, it is important to ask yourself what is important. What is the 20% you enjoy? What is the 20% you are good at? Take that 20% and increase its importance in your life by cutting out the things you don’t enjoy. Start with things you feel you are not good at (unless you think it is important to develop a particular skill). If you don’t enjoy something and on top of it you are no good at it, why are you doing it? Replace these by things you feel you are good at. After a while it will become easier to identify and eliminate what should not be part of your life. After all, it is YOUR life. It should be YOUR choice.

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I feel like saying today that everything is as it should. We work so hard to find a purpose for our life sometimes, struggle to get out of problems and bad situations when all there is to do is stop and listen. Open yourself up to the wisdom of the universe. Meditate and listen. Ask a question before going to sleep at night and trust that the answer will come the next morning and it will. Inspiration… It is talked about in the Tao and a lot of spiritual leaders talk about it also. The Dalai Lama said that that “The purpose of life is to be happy”. But happiness does not come from material possessions it comes from within. It is not easy when other people make demands on us. When we think we are not important enough to give ourselves peace of mind and happiness.  WE must work to achieve this.

Depressed or felling abandoned? You are part of a whole. We are all alone in our search for the truth but at the same time we are all part of a whole. You think you don’t matter? That your life makes no difference? Well, you are wrong because your life does make a difference. You are important, be it to teach someone something, be it to learn something from a life teacher you will meet or have already met. Only by letting go and accepting, by opening your eyes and your ears to receive the truth will you find peace.

I know I sound like a philosopher today but this is the truth I found. Try to live more by intuition. Try to follow your inner light even if it feels pretty dimmed. You might not feel it right now, you might even think there is none inside of you, but there is. Unfortunately, most of us have a hard time following what Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe once said “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of thinks that matter least”. And this is sad most people let them.

I have been reading the Tao Te Ching lately and I find it very difficult to understand the subtlety of its wisdom. I know it is hard to accept that things are as it should   when you look at the world, pollution, violence, hunger. All this unfairness! Why is this? We think it is worse now than before but it is not really. There has always been wars and violence, unevenness. Nothing is thrown our way that we cannot handle. We must go forward and find the courage to go on, to learn from it.

We hear a lot about suicide lately. The new thing is to try to see the early warning signs and influence the person to stay alive. But the truth is only that person is walking in her shoes. Only this person must find his or her own truth. All we can do is spark something. Each person must be ready to receive the truth before they are able to accept it.

When you are really discouraged, just remember that all things are temporary in life. Nothing is forever. It will pass. All you have to do is hang on for now and receive the lesson. Tomorrow will be better, even if tomorrow takes a few weeks, months, years, it will come. And remember your uniqueness makes you important. There is only one “You” and you are important. You don’t need to try to be happy, it cannot be forced especially if you have certain ideas about happiness, especially if you think you don’t know what will make you happy, or if you think you will never be happy. You will be happy again. You will. Life is a wheel turning, changing all the time. When you’re down, there is nowhere to go but up. A good way to improve your life is to find something to do for someone else and try to focus outside yourself. Everything is as it should and you too can bring something worthwhile to someone’s life, indeed to the world.

Read Full Post »

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