In the sixth century BC, a Chinese scholar named Lao Tzu wrote 81 short essays, the Tao Te Ching. Rather than a word, each Chinese symbol represents an idea. Thus Lao Tzu was able to express great wisdom in brief passages. You might say that the Tao Te Ching is the earliest book to fully explain the Law of Attraction.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Can We Live in a Practical Utopia?

The section of the Tao Te Ching, essay #80, that I attracted today is one of the most personal and accessible. Lao Tzu writes about what the perfect society would look like. I’m not sure how to relate his words to the Law of Attraction, but am hoping the connection flows from my fingers as I put words on the page.

Lao Tzu writes about the value of living in a “small organization with few people.” One might imagine that he would be appalled by New York City, where I’m now visiting my daughter. But I think in fact the opposite is true. I think perhaps Lao Tzu is talking less about numbers, and more about a sense of connection.

How New York is a Taoist City

Though it houses over 8 million people, New York is a city of neighborhoods. People tend to recognize each other, whether it’s the owner of the corner store who greets you as he sweeps the sidewalk in front of his shop or the barista who remembers you drink cafe latte light. In a sense, New York is a utopia Lao Tzu would recognize.

We each have the opportunity to create this aspect of utopia, of living in a small organization with few people, in all aspects of our lives. Mostly, we do it instinctively. We invite a few friends for dinner. Our families are a ‘small organization.’ At work, we find two or three or five people we relate to best.

We can also consciously increase this sense of connection. Here, the Law of Attraction comes into play. We can smile on the sidewalk, creating connection with our neighbors. We can bring a plant into the office, connecting people and nature and ourselves. Each gesture will add to the collective vibration, and our neighborhoods and cities will attract more and more friendliness and peace.

What Are the Elements We Need to Live Contentedly? 

We Need Tools

“Let there be ten or a hundred times more tools than they can use.” We need tools, the practical elements of life. The cook needs food, the carpenter needs wood and a hammer, this writer needs her computer! In our perfect world, people have the tools they need. As a definition of abundance, we could do a lot worse.

Next time we wish for abundance, let’s wish for the tools to achieve our goals, rather than to have the results handed to us!

We Need Purpose 

“Let the people value their lives.” We need to feel as though our lives matter. This is a huge benefit of living in a small circle. The contribution of each member is essential to the welfare of the whole, a sometimes unacknowledged benefit of living in a village.

How can we attract this benefit, this abundance, into our modern lives? Lao Tzu’s first words, advising us to look within our circle for happiness, apply here. If you are raising a family, think about the contribution of each member. When was the last time you thanked your children for something they’ve done to help out? Let your partner know you appreciate their support!

Can you help a neighbor with her yard? A friend and I planted 20 trees along our street (with permission), and it pulled the neighborhood together amazingly. Everyone started talking, people came out to help us plant and water, people started mowing their lawns and planting flowers. We just wanted more shade, and what we got was a healthier, happier neighborhood.

In the midst of all this connecting and appreciating, don’t forget to give yourself credit. You contribute more and in different ways than you can imagine. You may already be making a thank you list each night of things you are grateful for. Start another list of ways you have connected or fostered connections. What you focus on grows. Nurture your own sense of connection and purpose and it will flourish.

A Modern Utopia 

There are several more verses and topics in essay #80, but I’ll leave them for another day. For now, I’ll let Lao Tzu’s words be the recap. When we wish for the tools to achieve our dreams, and when we live in connection with each other and with nature, we truly live in a modern Utopia.

Our “food will be pleasing.”
Our “clothes will be fine.”
Our “homes will be secure.”
Our “customs will be joyful.”


Mary Carol

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How to Totally Control Your Reality!

Te Tao can be translated as The Universal Energy or The Flow of Nature. So when I mention Tao, feel free to choose the word that works best for you, whether God, the Great Spirit, Universal Energy, or some other expression. By whatever description, it’s the force that drives the Law of Attraction.

Once again, I rolled a die to select which essay from the Tao Te Ching to write about today. This time, the essay that I attracted was #14. After a deep breath and some eye rolls, I calmed back down. This is the mother essay, the one that goes to the core of what the Tao is, of what Universal Energy is. Don’t get me wrong, I love this essay. But at first, I couldn’t see how to make it understandable and most of all practical. Here goes.

What God is Not

Lao Tzu begins by saying what the Tao is not, what God is not. It can be “looked at but not seen.” As we look at the beauty of a tall tree, we can certainly see the tree, but we can’t see God, as much as we may be aware of the essence of God-in-the-tree. It can be “listened to but not heard.” When we listen to children laughing, or a bird singing, we aren’t hearing God, though we may be feeling His presence. It can be “reached for but not touched.” We can pray and meditate and feel, but we can’t hold onto God. We can’t through our senses ‘know’ what is the Tao, what is God.

This may sound like a contradiction of the knowledge that each of us, and everything that exists, is in fact God. We are certainly all connected, all the same Giant Spirit, all the Tao. The beauty of essay #14 is that it clarifies the distinction between form and essence. Yes, I am God, but the molecules in my body do not define what God is. Physical manifestations are evidence of the Tao, but they are not the Tao itself.

The Tao itself is “formless,” “soundless,” and “intangible.” Furthermore it is timeless. “Endlessly, the nameless goes on, Merging and returning to nothingness.” And it is without duality. “Its rising is not bright; Its setting is not dark.” How is all of this useful? A bunch of words about what God, Tao, Universal Energy, is not?

How Is This Helpful?

Actually, it’s incredibly helpful, and explains exactly how to use the Law of Attraction. The Tao doesn’t know the difference between a junker and a Ferrari. The Tao doesn’t see any difference between a job that pays $100,000 a year and a job that pays $10,000 a year. If you are trying to attract a Mercedes, picture the Tao shaking its head and saying, “What’s a Mercedes?”

The Tao is what you feel when you look at a towering tree, listen to children playing, sink into a peaceful meditation. The frequency of the emotion is what the Tao is. Putting the Law of Attraction into the simplest possible example, the Tao feels the resonance of your pleasure in the tree, and immediately sends you more opportunities to feel that resonance. It’s the pleasure that the Tao ‘gets,’ not the tree.

What does this tell us about the Law of Attraction? Whatever emotion we feel, whatever vibration or frequency we put out, we are going to get more of it back. LoA guides tell you to focus on the emotion you will feel when you have what you want, to feel as though you already have it. That’s great advice, but I’ll go one step further.

Keep Your Eyes Open

As you are pumping out the high vibes of having a new and happier job, the Tao is reading the high vibes and sending you back more and more opportunities for joy. The catch is that the Tao doesn’t know you want a new job. It only ‘knows’ to send you more happiness. If you get frustrated when the new job doesn’t appear, guess what you’ll start receiving? More and more frustration!

There’s a way around this seeming contradiction, and that’s to keep your eyes open. The Universe, the Tao, the Law of Attraction always delivers. If you are feeling joyful, more joy is available to you. It may not come in the form you thought you wanted, but it does come, and quickly. We only get in trouble when we expect the Tao to deliver WHAT we want, instead of HOW we want to feel.

When my truck died, my Soul wanted trouble-free transportation, the lightness and joy of not worrying about getting around. What I manifested was friendly, cheap taxis. I could have ignored the solution in front of my face, and become more and more frustrated that I couldn’t afford a new vehicle. Because I was tickled by the taxis, reveling in fun conversations with taxi drivers, within a couple of months I manifested my dream house a block from a large taxi stand.

How To Totally Control Your Reality!

The idea is to keep our eyes open and our minds available to ALL the possible manifestations of our desires. The easiest way to manifest abundance is to absolutely love everything about our lives. The final lines of essay #14 make this clear.

“Hold on to the ancient Tao; Control the current reality.” Whoa! How powerful it that! Once we understand that our emotions are being reflected and multiplied by the Tao, that this is what the Law of Attraction is all about, we truly do ‘control the current reality.’ Want more happiness? Be happy! Want more abundance? Be appreciative! “This is the essence of Tao.”

Thank you for accompanying me on this journey of discovery. I look forward to reading your thoughts. Warm hugs, 

Mary Carol

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Attracting vs Asking, and the Virtue of Non-Action

Welcome to the adventure! I decided to use the Law of Attraction to choose/attract which of Lao Tzu’s essays would form the basis of each post. Four rolls of a die led me to a specific one of the 81 essays, #73. And it’s a doozy! A perfect place to start.

Meaning of Tao

First a quick explanation. Te Tao can be translated as The Universal Energy or The Flow of Nature. So when I mention Tao, feel free to choose the word that works best for you, whether God, the Great Spirit, Universal Energy, or some other expression. By whatever description, it’s the force that drives the Law of Attraction.

Asking vs Attracting

One line in #73 pretty much sums up the Law of Attraction: “The Tao does not summon, and yet attracts.” In plain English, just asking for something does not bring it. We can’t ‘summon’ our desires. What we can do is line up with them, so that they are attracted into our space.

Attracting Love

Here’s a simple example. Let’s say you want a certain person to fall in love with you. You probably already know that no matter what you do, you can’t ‘make’ them love you. It’s just not possible. So what can you do? We know that similar vibrations attract. The euphoria of love attracts more euphoria. “All the world loves a lover.” Your best option is just to love them, paying no attention to whether or not they love you back. This isn’t a groveling, pitiful love. It’s full-blown, all out, joyful, unconditional acceptance of exactly who they are.

You can speed things up even more by deciding to love everyone and everything! Remember that the more you feel the euphoria of love, the more love you will attract into your life. If your dream person is a match to loving you, it will happen. In any case, you will find yourself surrounded by the joy that you have attracted. Having a secret dream love can be a powerful attractor of all sorts of happy abundance!

Attracting Other Things

Our culture accepts the principle of attracting rather than summoning when it comes to love, making it easier for us to practice. It may be a little harder to apply in other situations, but the principle still holds. It comes down to generosity of emotion. Appreciate the heck out of your rattle-trap truck, and something excellent will come your way. It may not be what you expect, but keep your eyes open to the possibilities. A few months ago my truck died for good, and I had no money to buy another. I realized in hindsight that I had moved to a city with cheap, abundant taxis for a reason. I now taxi or walk everywhere, and just manifested a new rental house a block from the city’s largest taxi stand. Woohoo!

Okay, we’ve now looked at two lines of a seventeen line essay! We’ve gotten our heads around the concept that we can’t summon, but we can and do attract through generous emotions. Yeah! Catch your breath, because there’s lots more to explore.

When To Act, When to Not-Act

Essay #73 jumps right off the cliff into the giant dilemma of action versus non-action. The first three lines read: “Those bold in daring will die; Those bold in not daring will survive. Of these two, either may benefit or harm.” Whew. That’s heavy stuff. Let’s take it apart.

“Those bold in daring will die.” My understanding of these words is that “daring” is meant to imply action without sufficient forethought. Only right action is truly helpful, right action that grows, perhaps slowly, from compassion into wisdom. In Law of Attraction terms, we need to clear away our own resistances, that may be clouding our reactions, before taking action.

Imagine someone has insulted you. Your first impulse may be to insult them back. This would be a ‘bold in daring’ action. But what’s going on behind the scenes in that murky head of yours? Why have you reacted at all to the insult? You’ve reacted because some tiny part of you, some morsel of resistance, believes that the other person is right. If someone attacks me for being stupid, I laugh. I know to my core that I’m not stupid. The insult has no power. If someone comments that my dress looks a little tight, and have I gained weight? That’s another story. The person has touched a core insecurity, and I feel a little hurt. Reacting from that place of hurt can’t be a right action. It will only spiral me down into a lower feeling place.

Bold Non-Action

“Those bold in not daring will survive.” How can you be ‘bold’ in not daring? Not taking action can be harder than acting. If you and your partner are revving up for an argument, the bold action may be to take a deep breath and step back. The ‘not daring’ action of pausing and thinking calmly may help the relationship survive. The Tao advocates pausing in almost every situation. By reaching inside for the place of calm, we become much more likely to take right action, action that is in line with our Soul. Being ‘bold in not daring’ is a potent strategy for successful, joyful living.

It's Not Easy

“Of these two, either may benefit or harm… Even Evolved Individuals regard this as difficult. ” Here’s what I love about the Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu over and over admits that none of this is easy. Sometimes we do need to just act, to be 'bold in daring' and perhaps die. Running into a burning building may be suicidal and right action at the same time. Sometimes being ‘bold in not daring’ causes harm. Perhaps enough ‘bold in daring’ people could have prevented the Holocaust. ‘Bold in not daring’ doesn’t let us off the hook to be passive or complacent.

Believe it or not, essay #73 has more ideas to explore, but this feels like a lot to chew on for now. Bite #1: We attract by emitting generous emotions, and Bite #2: Often non-action is the bold choice.

Thank you all for joining me on this excellent adventure! I look forward to reading and responding to your thoughts, questions, and suggestions. Giant Bear Hugs for Everyone!

Mary Carol