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Tao of Daily Life

The Tao of Daily Life {No. 4}: Overcoming Adversities

“How would you behave toward other people
if you realized their powerlessness to hurt you?
Behave like that.”
“How would you react to so-called misfortune
if you saw its inability to bother you?
React like that.”
Vernon Howard

This week from The Tao of Daily Life by Derek Lin, we read the story “The Donkey”. (If you don’t have a copy of this book yet, I suggest you get one here – it will absolutely change your life!) The lesson this week is about overcoming adversities. We all have them – moments when we feel trapped, days when we feel that misfortune just keeps pouring down on us. And because we’re only human, naturally we complain. Oh do we love complaining! We anguish about why this always happens to us or what we’ve done to deserve this. The Tao reminds us that “expressing outrage and feeling sorry for ourselves do not change anything”. Many of us know this but yet we find ourselves “in a repeating pattern of frustration followed by complaints followed by more frustration and more complaints”. We don’t realize that when we fall in this pattern, “the cycle of negativity prevents our mental state from being resourceful” and we fail to be at our best.

Autumn Leaves

Endless complaining is a waste of time and energy. In order to handle any situation with calmness and composure, we must keep in mind that there’s a lesson to be learned in everything that happens in our lives – both the good and the bad experiences – well, especially the bad experiences. And there is always a way to turn the negative to positive.

So what do we do when we find ourselves seemingly trapped in misfortune or drowning in negativity? First we shrug it off – which simply means don’t take it personally. The universe is not out to get us. (This is a very simple concept but will make our lives so much easier when we learn how to practice it.) Next, we spring back up on our feet and evaluate the lessons we can learn from this misfortune. When we start to think that every experience is a learning experience, we begin to realize that there is no “bad” experience. We can use everything that happens to us to improve ourselves. Then we are able to transcend beyond adversities which we will find no longer have any power over us.

Like Troy always says, “Fall forward fast.” He’s a master of this concept. I never see him dwell on bad things. He recovers fast and is always excited to implement what he learned from “misfortunes” in his next moves. I, on the other hand, am slowly learning. I still need to complain – just to vent out. Usually I vent out on my husband or my dearest friend Rhea. They don’t even have to say anything, I just need to let out the bad energy. Afterward, I’m good and I move on. I’m glad to say though that lately, I find myself not even caring about complaining anymore – which is good, really good. It means I’m transcending – I like that! I’m starting to naturally see the lessons in every experience.

Again, I leave a quote as my parting words. May all these lessons from the Tao bring you closer to a more fulfilled life!

“Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the Guru.” – Joko Beck

Con mucho amor,

If you missed the previous Tao lessons, here are quick links to them:
If you missed the previous Tao lessons, here are quick links to them:

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