Tao Te Ching: Third Verse Thoughts

Putting a value on status will create contentiousness. If you

overvalue possessions, people begin to steal.  By not displaying what

is desirable, you will cause the people’s hearts to remain


The sage governs by emptying minds and hearts, by weakening

ambitions and strengthening bones.

Practice not doing…. When action is pure and selfless, everything

settles into its own perfect place.


When I was around 12 or 13, I just had to have this item at the store.  It was a gadget of some sort or food but the point is that I “needed” it.   Problem was that I didn’t have any money so I stole it.   When I was older, I had to have a different kind of gadget, meal or consumer item that was “the latest” and was probably super shiny.  It was going to make me happy and I would have so much fun with whatever item caught my eye at the store or online.   But!!!  I didn’t have the money.  I didn’t steal the item but I charged it, over and over again until I was laden with debt; a crushing debt that, at the time, felt I couldn’t out under from.   Not long after I tried shoplifting at age 12,  I got caught (thankfully) and I never did it again.  The irony of all of this is that I did these things to feel good, or so I thought, but it ended up creating more misery than pleasure in my life.   Lao Tzu was right, I overvalued these possessions and it led to poor decisions and not feeling very good about myself.

Wayne suggests the when you notice that you are wanting, planning or outright buying something, “choose the Tao and listen for guidance.”    So dig deep and the conclusion one might come to is to buy the item and feel gratitude or you might decide to opt out of buying, maybe donating the money to charity or just saving for another time.

As Abraham Hicks has said, “notice how you are feeling.”

Are you hoping that this purchase will make you happy or are you already happy?    Because if your happiness is dependent on the item, then happiness will be short lived.   So it might not be advantages to purchase this particular item at the moment if you have the expectation that it will solve your problems, make you feel “complete”, etc…

Value of status:

The opening line of the 2nd verse has stuck with me throughout the pondering of verse 2.  Maybe it’s because I feel this is the hardest one to get a grasp on; to practice.  Isn’t putting a value of “status” really just another way of putting a value on other peoples opinions?   

“Will they like my hair?”

“Will they like my outfit?”

“will they like my new car?”

“Will they like me?”


As humans, we put too much stock in the opinions of others.  We adjust ourselves to conform to what we think others want to see and in the long run, no one is happy.  But, as Wayne has said many times, “Your opinion of me is none of my business.”  Let’s keep that in mind when we try something creative, agree with someone (on an issue we may not fully agree on) or conform to the norms of a group.

Practice the Tao

The next time you are involved in a creative endeavor, focus on how you feel about your creation.  Don’t worry about what others might think or what might want to see, touch, hear, etc..  Just remember that their experience is solely theirs and we have not control over it.  Just make sure the process and the end product makes YOU happy.

Tao Te Ching: 4th Verse

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