“I have only three things to teach: simplicity, patience and compassion. These are the greatest treasures in life” – Lao Tzu
This statement seems nearly too simple and basic doesn’t it? When we start to embrace a self-discovery journey, we often crave knowledge, inspiration, big revelations and mind-blowing discoveries. We need others (‘enlightened people’, gurus, mediums and healers…) to tell us the secrets to happiness and we must find our true life purpose. Yet, the more we learn the less we know, the more we look for something not exactly knowing what, the less we find happiness in the moment, annoyed by the absence of something undefinable. The seeker of truth often becomes relentless in his quest to better himself, to find answers to his wounds and hurts, to find a way to heal and move forward in life. The more we look to find our goal, our purpose, the reason why we are here, the more we get out there and look for answers. A spiritual thirst is born and nothing can satisfy it; we become often more unsatisfied with life and stunned by all the things that we should and should not be doing to find true happiness. When does it end? Why do we grow more unsettled as we embrace our spiritual journey? It should be the opposite right? Now that we have awoken our inner self, answers should come and happiness should follow… so why isn’t it working?
This process to look for answers, for healing, for the purpose in life is not negative in itself. It often comes after an awakening of some sort; like a mid-life crisis or a longing for something more that can’t be ignored any longer. It can be a slow process or it can happen all of a sudden. The thirst for something undefinable becomes more and more central in our life, taking us in different directions, triggering change. Often, we become so goal oriented into knowing our truth and our purpose that we stop looking at what’s in front of us. Life can be in the way of our journey. Our job, our friends, our family, can all become blocks in our spiritual journey. They take time away from us, they constantly reflect back all that we think we are not, all that we don’t want. If we are not careful, society in itself and others in general become the enemy of our personal journey. As we work on raising our vibrations, we distance ourselves from people who would supposedly have lower vibrations; as we look for truth, we become angry when we see the amount of lies that our society is build upon, when we want to feel our heart expand, we are deeply hurt by injustice and lack of empathy in others.
Isn’t that ironic?
Being on a spiritual journey is not something that one decides though. We all are constantly on a spiritual journey, each and every one of us, every single day of our lives, in our home with our family, in our office, stuck in traffic and when we brush our teeth. We are on our spiritual journey when we talk to the salesman, when our battery goes flat and when our boyfriend dumps us for an other woman. Our jobs, our families, our friends, our darkness, our hurts, our life itself is the spiritual journey. We can never separate the spiritual from the rest as separation is exactly the cause of our suffering. Why should we be on a spiritual journey when we isolate our self in a room to meditate for an hour, then we come out and we hang out with our kids and have to go to work and everything has to be quick and the crazy day starts, giving us the feeling that ‘it was so nice and blissful to be in meditation,I wish I could do it more. If only I didn’t have to do all these things everyday, I am certain I would be happier…’ This is when the separation starts, to think that when we meditate we are being spiritual and we progress, to think that buying crystals at the crystal shop and chanting AUM during our yoga class will help us on our spiritual journey, protecting us from the bad energy coming from others and life events. We bring more and more separation and we isolate ourselves from what our journey is… life in itself.
There is nothing wrong with buying crystals and protecting ourselves. In fact, having a daily practice of protection should be a routine like brushing our teeth. Learning about crystals, moon cycles, herbs and rituals can be a step of some importance on our path. Observe your interest and curiosity and learn more if you want to, why not? What I’m saying here is that we have to cultivate union over separation. We have to realise that our life is our spiritual journey, every little things that we do is part of the bigger picture, every person that we meet has a role, every challenge is there to teach us detachment and inner strength. It is our attitude in the moment that will determine our experience, not the event in itself.
Lao Tzu taught three basic principles: simplicity, patience and compassion. The idea that basic principles of a moral life can be the foundation of any type of self-discovery journey is somehow not really appealing (‘really? it cant be that simple, it’s just so damn boring’). Yet, when we bring those basic principles into our daily lives, we learn to live in the present moment, with others; we bring more unity and the result is often a peaceful heart. We should embrace simplicity in all that we do. It is a hard principle as our society pushes to do the opposite: to buy more, to have goals, to reach for the stars, to be competitive, AND to buy all the crystals in the crystal shop and Doreen Virtue’s Angels cards, etc… simplicity is not seen as an asset but rather as a boring way of living. Could we try to bring more simplicity into our daily lives? What is it that you could do to make things more simple. What do you think the result would be? Could you actually be protect without your tiger eye hanging from your neck? Could you go with the flow without knowing the moon cycles? For me, embracing simplicity has helped me reduce my stress and anxiety big time. I am now more anchored in the present moment and a lot more satisfied with what I have. Gratitude follows simplicity as we recognise that a little is enough, that simple is powerful.
The second principle is again pushing against today’s society. I don’t need to get into details, you must have already realised that being patient is not a quality that is often praised and cultivated. We can get pretty much anything we want instantly so having to wait is really not pleasant. I remember a few years back when I had to drop my film roll at the shop an wait for days to see the photos. The wait was so long, I was impatient but excited at the same time. Then the pleasure of looking at them was so delicious and fun! I would watch the photos over and over again and share them with my friends. Today, I don’t even know I take photos. I am a mum so I take photos of my kids. But it pretty much stays on my phone and I never do anything with them… no excitement, no longing, no fun. Patience can be cultivated in everything we do; our activities and our interactions with others but it is a lot harder to embrace patience on our spiritual journey! How many of you out there wish they could see and talk to their spirit guides already, feel energy in their hands, do a training in that, go here and there to learn, meet more like-minded people? When we start our empowering journey, things should move faster but actually it is the opposite. When we open up the spiritual path, our body and mind have to integrate and for that time is needed. Everyone is different, for some people things go fast and for others not. It is not a matter of fairness; it is the way it is and that is all. The only thing that can be done is to cultivate patience, always… and to learn to enjoy every step on the journey as a gift of life in itself.
The last quality taught by Lao Tzu is compassion. We understand the meaning of it from an intellectual perspective but to internalise it, it is an other story. Try to practice compassion with your invading mother-in-law or your psychotic neighbours! Thank you universe, you bring exactly the biggest trigger in our lives so we can be reminded that we are still walking on our path! Try not only to show compassion to others but to yourself as well. That is a lot harder… it goes hand in hand with patience… Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re doing your best with what you have at the moment. Check the way you speak to yourself… would you talk the same way to your best friend our your child?
Allow yourself to to move patiently with the flow of life, in all simplicity, showing compassion for all that you are; as you are, truly, a spark of the divine incarnated in a magnificent body…