Lao Tzu is one of the great Chinese philosophers to have lived many centuries ago. His teachings have become so influential in Chinese society that they are still taught to this day.
Throughout his devotion to helping others live a meaningful and fulfilling life, he created the four cardinal rules of living.
Old texts state that Lao Tzu reached the highest state of consciousness available to man, so he is certainly a person worth learning from.
So if you find yourself struggling to find meaning and purpose in life, let these teachings from the great Eastern philosopher guide you.
“To realize the constancy and steadiness in your life is to realize the deep nature of the universe. This realization is not dependent on any transitory internal or external condition, rather it is an expression of one’s own immutable spiritual nature. The only way to attain the Universal Way is to maintain the integral virtues of the constancy, steadiness and simplicity in one’s daily life.” – Lao Tzu
1) Reverence for all life
The first rule states that we should respect all life forms and not to seek dominate or control them. The first step, according to Lao Tzu, is to love ourselves, and then this love will naturally extend to all other beings. We must treat others with respect, kindness and gratitude. It’s the only way we will all live in peace and harmony.
2) Natural Sincerity
This is all about authenticity and honesty. We need to stay true to who we really are, without letting outside forces change us. Once we begin to accept and understand who we truly are, we begin to understand what a happy life entails for us. Once we follow our truth, everything else will fall into place, according to Lao Tzu. Once your thoughts and actions align, you’ll begin to know the meaning of sincerity.
Being gentle means being kind to all life and not practising kindness based on egotistical desires. We give up the need to be right, and realize that kindness is the most important virtue there is. When we consider other people’s needs, and give away our desire to manipulate or control them, we live in harmony. Practice gentleness and you’ll begin to understand what’s really important in life.
“Gentleness generally implies that you no longer have a strong ego-inspired desire to dominate or control others, which allows you to move into a rhythm with the universe. You cooperate with it, much like a surfer who rides with the waves instead of trying to overpower them. Gentleness means accepting life and people as they are, rather than insisting that they be as you are. As you practice living this way, blame disappears and you enjoy a peaceful world.” – Wayne Dyer
This virtue says that we need to focus on supporting ourselves and supporting others. We all have a difficult journey in life and the best we can do is to help each other succeed in that journey.
This is where we embody the trait of giving without expecting something in return. According to Lao Tzu, giving comes natural to this, but we lose this as society tells us to focus on ourselves. However, when we return to our natural state of helping others, we find a life of true purpose and find joy from making other people’s lives easier.