Doctor Rong

3 Taoist Principles to Find Inner Peace

Even if you’re on the verge of a panic attack, these ideas will give you instant insights on how to attain the so precious… inner peace.

A mind detox is essential in this day and age. I mean, a few minutes on social media can give you an anxiety disorder! If you allow all kinds of things to enter your mind, you just inviting chaos into your life.

But with inner peace, you can do anything! So here are three timeless principles from Taoism that can help us detox our minds from negative thoughts.

1. Being Unattached

Let’s say you have a friend named Sarah. She’s been dating her dream guy! He’s tall, he’s handsome, he’s rich, he’s funny, and he treats her like a queen. Sarah’s fallen deeply in love with him. In fact, she’s already looking for wedding dresses and searching for the best honeymoon destination. 

But out of the blue, this guy breaks up with her. Sarah is devastated! She stays up crying all night. She binge eats. She can’t concentrate at work. So she calls you, her trustworthy friend. You go to comfort her and see that she’s completely flooded with negative emotions. 

In Taoist terms, she’s attached. She’s attached to this seemingly perfect relationship that she’s had. But you are not because you are merely a bystander rather than a participant in this event. 

You might even think to yourself, “Hey, it’s not the end of the world. They weren’t even that compatible anyway. Their lifestyles and goals don’t align, and actually, it’s pretty good that it turned out this way.”

It’s easy for you to think this way because you are not sucked into Sarah’s attachment. You are unattached. It doesn’t mean you’re indifferent. It’s just that you take the situation more lightly. 

Practising being unattached is about doing this for yourself. Next time you feel stressed, heartbroken, or you’re about to scream at someone, stop and realize that everything will be okay. Try to take a step back and zoom out to look at your situation from a distance. 

You will realize that whatever you’re attached to currently doesn’t even matter in the grand scheme of things. Then you’ll be able to let go much easier.

2. Going with the Flow

Imagine a man, Bob, trying to grow some beautiful herbaceous peonies in his garden. He starts by preparing some fertile and moist soil. Next, he digs some holes and put the peony buds in. Finally, he covers the buds with soil. 

The next morning, Bob walks into his garden and sees that after yesterday’s hard work, everything looks exactly the same as he had left it. He screams hysterically at the soil, “Why aren’t the peonies blooming yet? I want my flowers now!”

Most of us wouldn’t behave like Bob because we know it’s unreasonable to expect peonies to blossom overnight. By ignoring the natural pace of the universe, we’re simply inviting frustration into our lives. That’s why Taoists believed in going with the flow or following the course of nature. 

With anything we try to accomplish in life, we’re putting in our best effort like Bob. But unlike Bob, we also need to be patient and let nature do its thing. It takes time to build something successful, whether it is a business, a relationship or a healthy body. 

The wise thing to do, according to Taoism, is to accept what nature has to offer, not be afraid of what’s coming and just naturally move forward. That’s how you go with the flow.

3. Being Virtuous

The word virtue might sound preachy, but in reality, it’s a very practical thing. What does it mean to be virtuous? I understand this as being a good person, but not in a narrow sense. 

When people say someone is good, they usually refer to surface-level behaviour, like being polite, helping an old lady cross the street, doing things that please others, that sort of thing. But being virtuous is far more expansive than outward acts of kindness. It starts on the inside.

Laozi said, “The highest form of goodness is like water. Water excels in benefiting the myriad of creatures without contending with them. It settles where none would like to be. Therefore, it comes close to the Tao.” 

When we are more considerate of others, we naturally take pressure off of ourself. We are not so worried about realizing our own desires and instead, we freely give of ourself for others. 

When we are unconcerned with personal gain, there’s nothing to fight over with others. Then inner peace comes naturally.

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