Stay Open

Tao of Personal Effectiveness

Tao teaches us to be open minded, as life is unpredictable.

It has happened to us all. When you go all out doing something, you don’t get what you want. When you take it in your stride, things come to you.

This is because there is an order in all things we do. If you go along with the order, you get what you want. If you go against it, you will not get what you want, no matter how hard you try.

Unfortunately, the order may be obvious to you, may be not!

To see the less obvious, stay open! This is Tao.

stay open and tao

This is another story of the Chinese philosopher, Chuang Tzu.

Once upon a time, there was an emperor who lost his magic pearl during a journey. Immediately he dispatched the most able man he had to look for it.

It was Intelligent he sent. Unfortunately, Intelligent came back empty handed.

So he asked Keen-eyed to go. Keen-eyed, again, searched in vain.

So he dispatched Analytical-mind. Still the pearl was nowhere to be found.

The emperor asked Shapeless to do the search. You know what! Shapeless found it!

The emperor was astounded, "How odd! Shapeless has never taken anything seriously, but it was he who found the magic pearl!"

This is life!

In order to ensure effectiveness, you will have to stay open.

To stay open, you must first be ready to empty.

Empty your mind. Empty your ego. Empty your desire.

Tao teaches us that by emptying, you condition yourself to receive. When a teapot is emptied, it is ready to be refilled with a fresh supply of hot tea.

Stay open, so that you can see the order of things.

Stay open, so that you can be close to reality.

Stay open, so that you are ready for good ideas,

Be ready to receive! Learn through structured lessons, from doing, from observing, from mistakes of our own, from experience of others, from all kinds of happenings around us.

Make emptying part of your life. Take up activities like daily meditation and walking in the garden. Like what Lao Tzu says in Dao De Ching,

“To yield is to preserve the whole,
To bend is to become straight,
To empty is to become full,
To wear out is to be renewed,
To have less is to gain,
To have plenty is to be confused.” (22)

daily emptying

Exercise: Daily Emptying

Consider activities like daily meditation and walk in the garden to empty your mind.

1. Each session may last about 20 minutes. Take longer if you wish.

2. During the activity, stop active thinking. Set your mind free, and let your thoughts flow freely.

3. Let your subconscious mind take over. “Empty your mind; hold fast to quietude. All things are going through their activities, I watch them returning to the original state.” says Lao Tzu.

4. At the end of the session, reflect on the thoughts that emerged in you.

See how much more you can hear from deep inside you, and how much more you appreciate the application of Tao! Jot down the useful ideas that would improve your effectiveness.

Exercise 2: Switching to Receptive Mode

The next time when you listen, switch on the ‘reception’ mode’.

1. Whether you are in classroom listening to teacher, at home talking to your mother, or in a meeting discussing with your subordinates. Really empty your mind, and stay open.

2. Switch to the ‘reception’ mode’ -- and listen carefully to what is being said, rather than what you want to hear.

3. Do not allow your ‘broadcast’ mode to interfere with the reception frequencies.

4. Reflect on how much more information you have received at the end of the exercise.

5. Continue the exercise for five days or more, when it has become a habit.

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