Ancient Wisdom

I have recently read the oldest book on Taoism, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (the father of taoism), and wanted to share some of its ancient Chinese wisdom here (from Chapter 8):


“The supreme good is like water,

Which nourishes all things without trying to.

It is content with the low places that people disdain.

Thus it is like the Tao.


In dwelling, live close to the ground.

In thinking, keep to the simple.

In conflict, be fair and generous.

In governing, don’t try to control.

In work, do what you enjoy.

In family life, be completely present.


When you are content to be simply yourself

And don’t compare or compete,

everybody will respect you.“


By ‘supreme good’ Lao Tzu is referring to the harmony that naturally exists between heaven and earth and can be found by anyone at any time by following his teachings. ‘Tao’ means ‘way’ and is what Lau Tzu saw operating behind everything in heaven and earth. At heart, Taoism is a way of appreciating, learning from and working with whatever happens in everyday life.


This is an interesting interpretation of the chapter quoted above. If you are interested in reading more of the Tao Te Ching, I can recommend Stephen Mitchell’s translation, from where this quote is taken. It is a short and beautiful book, so don’t be daunted. Or for a light-hearted read about taoism, The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff are delightful explanations of Taoism through the Pooh Bear stories and characters – real favourites of mine.