I’m going to present a short series here explaining the basics behind attaining and maintaining peace of mind according to ancient Taoist philosophy, which though from another time and place is universally applicable to us today and works with great effect once you get your mind round it.
The first thing is to desist from insisting to self or others on your opinions, beliefs or version of reality. This implies that no matter how sorted and sound you think your views, no matter how well sussed you think you have the universe and the way it works, you must always hold your judgement about it in suspension and allow life to surprise you. You must always allow life to be the unfathomable mystery it is, rather than kid yourself you know exactly what’s what. Thinking you know exactly what’s what about everything or anything rigidifies you and makes you lose touch with your inner childlike spirit of adventure, whence springs your true vitality.
Allowing yourself not to know may at first give rise to insecurity, it’s true, but don’t be afraid of a little insecurity. Simply relax into it and enjoy the internal trembles.
It’s when you’re at your most existentially insecure that the greatest miracles happen in your life.
…in other words, relinquish the unnecessary need to always be right about everything or anything. Allow yourself to be wrong too. Otherwise you create too narrow a passageway to walk along and your spirit will be constricted. When your spirit’s constricted, external life constricts you in return.
For while it may grant you the occasional few moments of illusory security assuming you know what’s what, though it may afford you the sense of being an adult who knows exactly what to do, it will merely cripple your originality and ability to respond to the inevitable life-shaking changes that occur along the way.
Assume you don’t understand anything that much to be able to form an unassailable opinion about anything. Don’t take your opinions (nor those of others) with anything more than a pinch of salt. It may turn out your opinions are correct. It may turn out they’re incorrect. Either way is inconsequential compared to allowing yourself to be led by your inner fascination like a child experiencing the world for the first time – something that’s impossible to pull off when you think you know what’s what all the time.
When you allow your innermost fascination to pull you along, the Tao (the Great Way) always makes everything come good for you. And it rarely has much to do with being reasonable.
Most often the decisions you make that generate the huge life changes that bring you all the things you want are made by the playful child not the adult.
The adult is merely a construct rather badly designed in a vain attempt to eliminate existential fear and dread. Be like a small child about everything and the Everything will look after you. Cut yourself off from that vitality by going into adult mode and you’re momentarily on your own.
This naturally doesn’t imply behaving irresponsibly. To the contrary, you respond to everyone and everything with absolute integrity always with a firm intention to attain to excellence in all your encounters with people, things or situations – and that has nothing to do with being an adult – it’s a just a mode you choose to adopt if you want your life to work for you.
But you allow yourself to play in the world like a child playing in a wondrous adventure playground where everything is constantly new and fresh and hence exciting and replete with potential.
Tell yourself at once, 'Today, I choose to play,' and carry on as you were.
Today, may you know the unlimited vitality and confidence of the pure unfettered childlike spirit of adventure within and the joy of discovering the miracle informing your existence, from moment to moment.
So rather than limit things as being either good or bad and thereby limit yourself to at most half of what’s on offer, fruit-of-life-wise, as you catch yourself taking a position on something or someone, tell yourself, this is not necessarily bad, not necessarily good, it just is what it is.
And what it is, is life – and fundamentally and intrinsically, life is good, so everything’s good if you feel you have to give it any value judgement at all, as there’s no need to be negative about anything – that just depletes your vitality and confidence which is entirely unproductive in all respects.
However far more transcendent, resplendent and therefore enlightened and peace-producing is just to see everything as just being what it is, and remember that no matter how much you think you absolutely know what it is, when you look at the mysterious subatomic depths of it, you haven’t really a clue at all. And this doesn’t make you stupid or daft. This doesn’t make you incompetent. This doesn’t make you willy nilly or namby pamby, this makes you bold, daring and at one with the mysterious flow of subtle vitality coursing through every moment and instant of your life.
So get in the habit – if this proposition appeals – of catching yourself each time just as you’re about to say, ‘this is good’, or ‘that is bad’ and instead just say, ‘this just is and I love it for that.’ And before you know it the lightness of being you’ll feel, now unladen by all your preconceived value judgements, will be so palpable you’ll be skipping down the road singing, ‘Barefoot is a brick’ the whole day and night long.
And the amazing thing is, that the more headway you make adopting this attitude, the less drawn you are to those who would wrong you. It’s like walking through a crowd, gaggle, pod, shoal or whatever it's called of wild tigers. The more afraid you are that they’ll gobble you all up, the more likely they are to do it because the fear signals you emit will resonate with the fear within them and the reaction to that is attack and destroy.
If however, you are able to walk through them fearlessly, with utmost respect but fearlessly, as if you’re their brother or sister albeit from a different species, they will feel no fear and thus leave you alone and unscathed. Not that I recommend you experiment at home like this, should you need to negotiate your way through such a crew. But you take my point.
When you have nothing to lose, no one wants to take anything from you.
The ancient Taoists called this investing in loss. You invest in loss of the myth of the self. You become merely pure consciousness without opinions or beliefs, merely being from moment to moment and as such you are invincible. In invincibility lies peace (because there’s no longer anything to feel afraid of).
So take this opportunity to access your fearlessness by investing in loss this very instant and saying six times immediately so it penetrates deep into your subconscious circuitry and subsequently transforms your actual reality: I am not this body. I am not this mind. I am not these thoughts. I am not these feelings. I am not these beliefs. I am not these opinions. I have no preferences. I have nothing to lose. I now gain the entire universe. I am the richest person alive.
And carry on as you were.
May you now be blessed with owning the entire universe with all its abundant wealth health, love, joy and magnificence and may it please you very well indeed.