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Home / Articles / Columnists / Discovery Zone /  Living by Being Here Now
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Thursday, September 1,2016

Living by Being Here Now

By Wayne Dyer  
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is the most famous line of the entire Tao Te Ching. It’s quoted so often because it encourages us to avoid procrastination and just begin from where we are, right here, right now. A tiny seed planted and nurtured grows into a forest; a marathon begins by taking that first stride. In my opinion, the German poet and playwright Johann von Goethe nicely summed up this ancient teaching with these rhyming words:

Only engage, and then the mind grows heated, begin it, and then the work will be completed.

The essence of the widely known 64th verse of the Tao Te Ching is this: Every goal is possible from here! With the emphasis on from here! This is particularly applicable to problems that seem overwhelming. When you change the way you think about them, your new and unique perspective will cause the enormity of the things before you to diminish.

“The sage does not treasure what is difficult” because he breaks it down into easily managed steps.

Rather than taking over and directing others or attempting to do everything himself, the follower of the Tao finds a way to manage problems before they exist, and prior to disorder breaking out. Lao-tzu is encouraging us all to do the same.

Reexamine how you view the challenges you face, as well as those of your family, community, and country. Sense in your heart how easily preventable many of them are when you deal with things before they exist, and when you refuse to be attached to the ideas that are largely responsible for these problems.

There are three steps to enlightenment that most people traverse:
1. The first is through suffering. This is when the big problems of your life become so overwhelming that a long period of misery ensues because you “treasure what is difficult to attain.” Ultimately, you come to a place where you can look back at those huge obstacles - such as illness, accidents, addiction, financial loss, children’s struggles, and divorce - and see in retrospect that they were actually gifts disguised as problems. Yet this is not the way of the Tao; this is not how a sage conducts his life.
2. The second is by being in the present moment. Here you’ve moved closer to the Tao by asking yourself when a crisis erupts, What do I have to learn from this experience right now? I know there’s a gift hidden for me in this misfortune, and I’ll focus on looking for it. While this is Taocentered thinking, it’s not all that Lao-tzu wants to convey in this 64th verse.
3. The third is by getting out in front of big problems. This means that you act before difficulties occur, sense disorder coming your way, and manage it in advance. This is the way of the Tao. “The small is easily scattered,” says Laotzu. So here you’re the acute observer who’s totally in tune with nature. With foresight, you anticipate an argument, play it out in your mind in a split second, and are able to neutralize the negative energy because you were in front of it. You’ve responded by not acting in your former problem producing ways and are thus harmonized with the Tao. At this stage you prevent difficulties rather than solve them.


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