Monthly Web Columns

LIFE 101

                              HOW NOW GREAT TAO:
                                By Coach Cary Bayer

          One of the greatest sages throughout the ages was the Chinese Taoist master Lao-Tzu, whose classic Tao Te Ching is among the greatest wisdom books ever.  
He describes this mysterious Tao:
        “There is a thing confusedly formed,
         Born before heaven and earth,
         Silent and void
         It stands alone and does not change,
         Goes round and does not weary.
         It is capable of being the mother of the world.
         I know not its name
         So I style it ‘the way.’”
     This changeless Tao can be found at the transcendental level of your being, beyond time and space, where your individuality merges into your universality.  As he said, “To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.”   In this state of pure peace, consciousness is unbounded yet non-moving.  “Returning to one’s roots is known as stillness.”  This stillness is infinitely silent, beyond the activities of movement, perception, thoughts, and feelings. It’s a fourth state of consciousness, a non-changing state of Being underlying the three changing states of waking, dreamless sleep, and dreaming.  In this state you gain a momentary glimpse into your true nature, a fleeting sense of Self-Realization.   As he wrote in the Tao Te Ching: “At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”  Lao-Tzu said it lucidly: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”  Another way of expressing this is that your consciousness shifts from that of your ego to that of your higher Self.   When, through repeated exposure to this center of your being, you come to live out of it literally on a 24/7 basis through every moment of waking, sleeping, and dreaming, you’ve become enlightened. As Lao-Tzu put it, “Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.” 
       The sage writes of the need to act in accordance with one’s own individual nature, as well.  As he said,
“It is better to do one’s own duty, however defective it may be, than to follow the duty of another, however well one may perform it.  He who does his duty as his own nature reveals it, never sins.” 
       An almost identical injunction about dharma (one’s individual path) is taught by Krishna in his yogic teachings in the Bhagavad Gita:

“Because one can perform it, one’s own dharma, (though) lesser in merit, is better than the dharma of another.  Better is death in one’s own dharma: the dharma of another brings danger.”
--Chapter 3, verse 35, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi translation

        The key to success in action, according to Lao-Tzu, is wu-wei, to act in tune with the Tao, without effort:
        “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

 “In the pursuit of the way one does less every day.”
“One does less and less until one does nothing at all.
And when one does nothing at all there is nothing that is undone.”
         It’s important to understand that this isn’t lethargy being taught here, because the sage “accomplishes without having to act.” Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Indian sage, echoed those sentiments when he wrote, “Do less, accomplish more; do least, accomplish most; do nothing, accomplish everything.”  Lao-Tzu’s doctrine of wu-wei, of non-action in action, is a far cry from passivity, it’s the great energy that comes when you live from the Tao, from the transcendental realm of Being that doesn’t do anything, but delightfully witnesses the Universe doing everything through you.  As Krishna taught in the Gita:

“Having cast off attachment to the fruit of action, ever contented, depending on nothing, even though fully engaged in action he does not act at all.” --Chapter 4, verse 20

         “One who is in Union with the Divine, and who knows the Truth will maintain ‘I do not act at all.’  In seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing, speaking, letting go, seizing, and even in opening and closing the eyes, he holds simply that the senses act among the objects of sense.” 
Chapter 5, verses 8-9

                                     The Wayless Way
         Interestingly, even the path to this state of non-doing in Enlightenment is one of doing less and less.  As Lao Tzu wrote, “The great way is easy, but people prefer bypaths.”  As Maharishi Mahesh Yogi wrote in his Gita commentary: “No effort is needed for the attainment of freedom; it is already there.” 
         While this is true from the vantage point of Enlightenment it doesn’t seem to be true to you if this is not your state of consciousness.  So Taoism incorporates methods of breathing and meditation, as did Krishna in the Gita and more recently, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.  Having taught the latter’s Transcendental Meditation (TM) and now teaching the Higher Self Healing Meditation that I founded in 2010 after teaching TM for several decades, I tell people that indeed “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”  But the truth is that you don’t really have to step forward anywhere to glimpse and then gain Enlightenment, you simply have to stop stepping forward and just start Being.  And these two meditation methods are wonderful ways to do just that; they’re just what the guru ordered.



Emotional and Spiritual Skills for Success-  #4 in the Love Yourself,
Lose the Weight series

by Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D.

Have you ever used your weight as an excuse not to participate more fully in life, not to have a relationship, to avoid sex in the relationship you’re in, not to look for a new job? Are you willing to let go of your excuses? They are just a way of not loving yourself.

Mirror work- talking to yourself while looking in the mirror – is a powerful technique for learning to love yourself as you are making changes in any area. Look into your eyes and say to yourself, “I’m done with excuses. My weight is not the issue. I am willing to participate in life regardless of my weight.” Notice how you feel. Then tell yourself “I love and accept you just the way you are. I support you in all your new habits. You have been doing the best you can. It’s OK. I support you in making positive changes.”
Then tell yourself anything else that is important for you to know/hear.  You are claiming the wonderful being that you are. If you feel a lot of emotion coming up as you do the mirror work, that’s OK!  

It’s important to become aware of emotional triggers for overeating or making choices you know aren’t healthy. Almost everyone uses food to deal with emotional issues at some time or other. It’s how often you do this that determines if it’s a problem.

Starting now, every time you eat (especially outside of meal times), ask yourself first, What am I feeling right now? Can I resolve this feeling without eating? Take some deep breaths and acknowledge that you want to eat, “Yes, I want to eat now, but I can wait out this impulse for 10 seconds. I am willing to feel my feelings and deal with them.”

Here is an exercise to help you develop more awareness around emotions and eating.

Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and relax your body. Keep doing some deep breaths until you feel relaxed. Now, as though you are an observer of your own life, go back over the last two weeks and notice your eating patterns: when you ate, what you ate, where you were, and who was with you. Don’t judge or criticize, simply notice. When you ate for emotional reasons, what was going on?.......

Now go back even farther in time, letting your mind go to the time you first began overeating…. How old were you? What was going on for you? What feelings were you suppressing?  Accept that this was your way of coping at that time. Feel compassion and love for yourself. Go to another situation where you overate….. What emotions were you feeling then? Find a few others………… Then imagine you are looking at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself, “I understand more now. I truly do love and accept you just the way you are.”

Bring your awareness back to the present moment. Take some deep breaths and stretch. Open your eyes.

If you found a connection between feeling stressed and eating, here are some easy ways to deal with that. Stress increases your metabolism and so you feel fatigued. This can prompt you to want to eat something like a candy bar for fast energy. Ultimately, this leads to more fatigue because your blood sugar plunges after spiking. First, as much as possible plan your meals so you eat on a schedule. Eat low fat, high protein meals to keep your blood sugar balanced. Second, have some healthy snacks available, like protein bars or veggies and a low fat dip. In other words, prepare ahead of time. Third, practice deep breathing exercises to help you reduce stress.

Learning to handle your emotions effectively is truly an ongoing process. If you started eating emotionally and gaining weight as a child, then talking to your Inner Child can really be healing.

 If you gained a lot of weight after some traumatic event in your life, you may need professional help in dealing with it. Look for a therapist who offers a spiritual approach as part of their therapy. In the US, you can find them advertising in spiritual newsletters. Or ask some friends for a referral. Affirm that you are guided to any resource you need to create a healthy relationship with food. 

A spiritual course, A Course in Miracles, says, “Guilt holds the behavior.” So if you are feeling guilty (or ashamed or embarrassed or even angry at yourself) for gaining weight and not losing it, it’s time to let go of the guilt and any other emotions associated with your weight. True, easier said than done. Begin with “I am willing to let go of the emotions that have kept me stuck.”

For some people, prayer is a potent force for changing behavior. Asking Spirit, God, the angels, or ascended masters to assist you in your desire for changes takes the burden off you “doing it all yourself.”

Are you willing to forgive yourself? At the highest spiritual level, there is no need for forgiveness, but in our human selves it is another piece of the foundation for permanent change. And sometimes that change can occur very quickly when you stop feeling guilty, forgive yourself, and love yourself right where you are at the moment.  Be kind to yourself. You are worth loving!

--Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D. studied personally with Louise Hay and, with husband Rick Nichols, is authorized to lead Heal Your Life® training programs in Louise’s philosophy. She is also the author of Ordering from the Cosmic Kitchen: The Essential Guide to Powerful, Nourishing Affirmations. and