Here's just a few excerpts about living calmly and living virtuously, from Dr. Wayne Dyer's book that interprets the ancient text of the Tao Te Ching, by Lao-tzu:
26th Verse of the Tao:
The heavy is the root of the light.
The still is the master of unrest.
the successfukl person is
poised and centered
in the midst of all activities;
although surrounded by opulence,
he is not swayed.
Why should the lord of the country
flit about like a fool?
If you let yourself be blown to and fro,
you lose touch with your root.
To be restless is to lose one's self-mastery.
You're being advised to maintain a sense of serenity regardless of what you may see taking place around you. The ability to stay calm is always located within. From this perspective, there's no need to assign responsibility to others for how you feel.
Circumstances don't determine your state of mind, for that power rests with you. When you maintain a peaceful inner posture, even in the midst of chaos, you change your life.
Do you want to be in a state of confusion or to have a tranquil inner landscape? It's up to you!
Assigning blame for your lack of calmness will never bring you to the state of being that you're striving to attain. Self-mastery only blossoms when you practice being aware of, and responsible for, what you're feeling.
What could be better than the freedom of going through life without feeling that people and circumstances control you without your permission?
If you believe that a changing economic picture or tapestry of events taking place around you is responsible - and you then use these external factors to explain your inner state of mind - you've lost touch with your root. Why? Because you're allowing yourself to be "blown to and fro" by the shifting winds of circumstance.
The solution for a life of unrest is choosing stillness.
Vow to seek a calm inner response to the circumstances of your life.
In the midst of any unrest - be it an argument, a traffic jam, a monetary crisis, or anything at all - make the immediate decision that you will find the calm center of yourself.
Affirm the following often: I have the ability to stay poised and centered, regardless of what goes before me. Then vow to put this new way of being into practice the next time a situation of unrest crops up.
The advice Lao-tsu gives on this topic in the 28th verse are contained in four distinct images:
1. "Be a valley under heaven" is number one. Let the river of life flow through you. As a valley beneath heaven, you're a fertile place of grace where everything is received and allowed. Be ready to embrace and tend the seeds that blow your way.
Get down to the eye level of a small child. Looking up, see if "original qualities" are more visible.
Instead of striving to see yourself as superior to others, perhaps choose the self image of a valley. From this grounded, fertile, and receptive position, be willing to hear and receive. Listen intently when you're inclined to offer advice.
2. "Be the pattern of the world" is the second image that invites you to live virtuously. See nature unspoiled by culture, as in the perfection of the uncarved block of wood. So rather than insisting on changing or resisting, you're encouraged to row your boat, and your life, gently down the stream.
Dismiss ego, which you've created, and allow yourself to be in the world by changing how you look at the world.
3. "Act in accordance with eternal power" is the third image for living virtuously. Just contemplate for a moment the idea of a fountain...it is always there, and endless geyser gushing forth the abundant life of virtue.
Picture yourself pouring forth, not from your ideas of self-importance and your need for external power over others, but from a ceaseless Source of good and virtue that's in harmony with your infinite nature. Change the image of yourself to a being who's in accord with eternal power, and the virtuous life you want to see will be visible.
4. "Preserve your original qualities" is the fourth image of living virtuously. Your original qualities are those that were you before there was a you!
The original qualities Lao-tzu speaks of are the love, kindness, and beauty that defined your essence before you were formed into a particle and then a human being. In other words, living virtuously has nothing to do with obeying laws, being a good citizen, or fulfilling some externally inspired idea of who you're meant to become.
For more quotes by Lao-tsu, see:
Ancient Chinese Wisdom: Quotes by Lao-tsu
See also I Can See Clearly Now