According to legend Lao-tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching,” an ancient Chinese classic on the nature of existence. This book of wisdom has been translated more than any volume, except the Bible. “Tao” is generally interpreted as “the Way.” Lao-Tzu taught that the Tao and water are synonymous. He used water as a symbol for how to live the Tao.

Flowing water allows life to sustain itself. Stationary water becomes stagnant. You are here on Earth to grow and evolve and live with contentment. By allowing others to be whoever they want to be, you nourish them in the same way water nourishes you. With an open mind, you are receptive to everyone and flow as water without interference.

Live by being here now and practice a calm response to life’s circumstances.

The most famous line of the “Tao Te Ching” is the 64th verse. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Face any challenge from where you are, right here and right now. Practice anticipating problem situations and prevent them before they occur. Lao-Tzu says, “The small is easily scattered.”

As you maintain your calm, inner posture, you change your life. Lao-Tzu says, “The still is the master of unrest.” You have a choice in each moment. Each choice creates who you are becoming and promotes self-mastery. A clear, focused mind and a calm center will serve you well in life.

Live without striving and practice letting go.

When you live without striving, you accept and appreciate life just as it is. You see the abundance and blessings in your life. Being content in the moment, you free yourself from the desire to have more. As you simplify your life, you realize that you don’t need anything else to be happy. Letting go feels markedly different from the experience of striving.

Your life changes to reflect any changes in your thoughts. Try releasing worry and fear and promote instead a sense of well-being. Letting go of the need to control your life attracts the cooperative power of the Tao. This alignment with your Source frees you from the need to push yourself and act in a forceful manner. Lao-tzu reminds you that “things that are forced grow for a while, but then wither away.”

Live an unhurried life and practice time for stillness each day.

The Tao advises you to slow down the frantic pace to achieve your desires. It urges you to allow the flow of life to unfold on its own timetable. Don’t push the river. You are the creator of your life. Be open to all possibilities like a sculptor with uncarved wood. Let go of struggle and trust in the wisdom of the Tao for guidance.

A composer knows that the silence between the notes allows the music to emerge. Without silence the music would be one continuous sound. Time for stillness each day invites the inner You to reveal its desires. It focuses your attention on what matters the most to you. Meditation is a wonderful tool to deepen your center and explore the wisdom of the Tao.

Lao-tzu had special reverence for water and used it often as a symbol to teach about the “Great Way.” He repeats the phrase “Be like water” throughout the Tao Te Ching. He reiterates three qualities of water to empower you.

•Imitate water’s steady drip and be persistent yet
gentle in overcoming the difficult parts of your
•Remember to stay flexible in life’s situations and
know that you are in harmony with the Tao by doing
•Observe water’s softness as it overcomes the hard and
use patience rather than rigid control in life’s

Lao-tzu reminds you to learn from nature, especially by living like water.

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