Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
When it comes to practical guidance, Lao Tzu gets to the heart of things. If we take this premise—simplicity, patience, and compassion are our greatest treasures—one could argue about whether they are the “greatest”; yet they are full of wisdom.
When we keep things simple, we don’t tangle ourselves in our life dramas, over-complicate differences, and we invite equanimity and G-d into our lives. Patience, with ourselves and others, allows us to live at peace with the patterns of our lives, understanding that there are some things that must be allowed to play out. We learn when we must wait on others and that some outcomes cannot be forced.
Compassion towards others in a world filled with anger and violence may motivate us only to be compassionate with those we like or who support our ideas; everyone else is left out. It’s helpful to remember that even those we don’t necessarily care about may deserve our compassion. In particular, as a person who can be unforgiving of myself, offering compassion to myself when I am forgetful, self-centered, or make a mistake is a daily goal.
How do you see these jewels of wisdom in your own life?Published in