The Tao Te Ching is an ancient Chinese text on the nature of existence. According to legend Lao-tzu wrote this book of wisdom. It has been translated more than any other volume, except for the Bible.

The 15th verse of the Tao counsels us: “But the muddiest water clears as it is stilled.”

Lao-tzu uses images to describe an alert yet unhurried state of being:

* Crossing an icy stream, watchful yet alert to danger
* Appreciating the unlimited potential of uncarved wood
* Willing to be still and wait for muddy water to clear

Imagine your life as you’d like it to be and then let go. Trust in the wisdom of the Tao. Your life will unfold in its own time when you aren’t trying to push the river.

Let the wisdom of the Tao work for you and with you.

Your focus on getting more – wealth, status, power -- leads to a discontented life. It blinds you to your relationship with the Tao. Rather than seeking more, the practice of appreciation promotes a contented life. Recognize your desires. Trust that you will receive whatever guidance is necessary for your life. Stop pushing yourself. By appreciating what you have, you live with contentment.

Let go of your need for more and live without striving.

Practice living in the Now in both mind and body. When you let go of your wondering about what comes next, you can live in a state of appreciation. Release your goals for the future and replace them with the power of each moment. Relax your efforts about always doing the right thing and being in the right place. Immerse yourself in each present moment. By living in the moment, you slow down your incessant striving for more.

Allow your unique self to shine through and live in simplicity.

How do you look at yourself? How do you view power and success? Reflect on these questions. Ask yourself whether your views are in harmony with the Tao’s wisdom to live simply. The Tao “does nothing” and “leaves nothing undone.” The Tao frees you from the burden to be productive and successful in the eyes of others. By releasing the judgments of others, you enjoy a simpler way of living.

The ability to stay calm lies within. The Tao advises you to stay serene no matter what swirls around you. Blame and faultfinding are endemic in the world. Take responsibility for your feelings and your actions. You have a choice in each moment. You can choose how to respond to each life event. You can maintain a peaceful center and live an unhurried life.

You have a choice in each moment. You can choose how to respond to each life event. You can maintain a peaceful center and live an unhurried life.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Mary Beth Ford is the author of Wisdom from the Gardens—Life Lessons and creator of the CD Garden Wisdom—5 Ways to Grow in Life Balance and Joy. She specializes in the area of life balance, which she describes as balance between outer world and inner Self. In her work Mary Beth shares five powerful garden lessons for living with balance and joy. She helps busy people live with Spirit in the world. Using nature images she offers us a new way of seeing ourselves and our world.

To live with more balance and joy, explore Mary Beth’s website at Sign up for her bi-monthly Reflections and weekly One Minute Reflection. Receive a free audio gift of Garden Wisdom Secrets. Follow Mary Beth on Facebook at