In Tao Te Ching SUCCESS is a state of being
We often associate success with materialistic possessions. Big money, huge houses, flashy cars; the list goes on.
This seems to be in stark contrast with what Lao Tzu teaches. He stresses moderation, conservation and contentment in Tao Te Ching.
Does it mean that Lao Tzu is against you and I having worldly aspirations for success?
It is quite right that Lao Tzu does warn against excessive wealth accumulation. “When gold and jade fill your hall, you will not be able to keep them safe,“ he said.
This, nevertheless, does not necessarily mean he is against materialistic possessions.
The whole Tao Te Ching can be interpreted as a manual for effective leadership. It talks about building a country, fighting a war, managing the people.
You see advice in the book like: “Governing a large country is like frying small fish”; “Difficult problems are best solved while they are easy. Great projects are best started while they are small”.
Materialistic possessions form a pillar of an economy. It is difficult to imaging Lao Tzu would advocate against materialistic possession when he is touching on these subjects of governance.
Seeing it from a personal level, Lao Tzu does not seem to have discounted the importance of materialistic possessions as well.
While Lao Tzu is not against materialistic possessions, it does not mean that he associates success with materialistic possessions.
The way Lao Tzu talks about success is quite different from the way that we are used to. He does not talk about grand competition plan and ambitious monetary targets.
Rather, he warns us against doing things that will lead to failures. For example, “If you rush into action, you will fail. If you hold on too tight, you will loose your grip.”
He also leads us to see success as a state of being.
It is a state of being that he describes as ONE. It is the oneness where everything is aligned to the core.
When everything is aligned and in oneness, there is balance, tranquility and cheerfulness.
The sky is bright and pure when it is in one. The earth is peaceful when it is in one. A spirit is god-like when it is in one. A valley is full when it is in one. All things come to life when it is in one. A leader is in control when the people he leads is in one.
Materialistic possessions are good when they can contribute to the ONE. When they are putting the ONE off its balance, they are not.
Thanks to Simply CVR for the picture.