The True Self And The Path of Virtue

The True Self and the Path of Virtue

Chapter 10

“In holding the soul and embracing the oness

Can one be steadfast and not straying?”

It is time to ask your “self” what part of this being that I identify as “me” can become at one with the spiritual realm? It is certainly not the ego self. It is not that part of “me” that dwells only in the material or physical domain. So in this question at once we begin to contemplate our spiritual beingness. In meditation, that infinite domain whose doorway stands in the gap between the thoughts, there is part of us that observes and has a deep sense of knowing. In this timeless place of stillness we remember or awaken unto the realization that we spirit and are at one with spirit. This aspect of your-self is the true self. This part of us is that which is unified with The Tao. Through virtue we follow the path of the the Tao. This is The Way.

In holding to our realization as the true self we can embrace the oneness, we can become one with the Tao. Can we hold to this oneness or will will give over to the ego, to desire and materialism and ego self serving. As spiritual entities, the true self is our nature. We have this temporary experience as a physical being in a realm of material form. When we are lost to our true self and our spiritual source we live in ignorance of the underlying reality. This is the world of ego.

Chapter 33

Those who understand others are intelligent

Those who understand themselves are enlightened

Those who overcome others have strength

Those who overcome themselves are powerful

Those who know contentment are wealthy

Those who proceed vigorously have willpower

Those who do not lose their base endure

Those who die but do not perish have longevity

Those who understand their identity as the true self are enlightened. This is clarity of being. The ego seeks intelligence and power, the true self seeks wisdom through virtue and  unity with source. We are called to let go of the singular view that we are only a physical being and realize there is more than sensation seeking and fulfilling physical desires. We must apply the wisdom at the spiritual level which requires that we let go of serving the ego (self serving). By orienting your perspective internal, we can be released from the external.

Moment by moment, experience by experience the Tao cultivator brings harmony and balance to life. On the path of enlightenment, we make our mistakes and return to self realization over and over, gaining wisdom and willpower and true contentment.  In meditation we cultivate our base as the true self, the spiritual being we are. Mindful of ego, we learn to free ourselves from the chains of desire and material form. In each moment, we can seek unity through virtue or surrender to ego and the path of suffering.

  • The true self seeks balance and harmony, the ego seeks to feed desire.
  • The true self practices meditation to strengthen unity with the Tao, the ego seeks distraction.
  • The true self is grounded in the Three Treasures, the ego is grounded in sensation seeking.
  • The true self realizes the power of choice, the ego is imprisoned to emotional reaction.
  • The true self chooses wisdom in awareness, the ego is lost in ignorance only to repeat the same coping and creating suffering.
  • The true self embraces the Tao, the ego embraces distraction and is lost to source.

The Tao cultivator is the true self awakening and strengthening its awareness, learning how to avoid the pitfalls of ignorance. Self discipline is the true self in charge and guiding the spirit to balance, harmony and enlightenment. Self control is the true self staying above the egoic temptations enjoying life in moderation and wisdom.

The true self uses the unity with the unlimited ultimate source as their base, enduring the living experience with well being longevity.

The Nature of the Tao (script from Audio Recording)

Audio download avaialble for 99¢ here: 

Hey there ! The Dixie Taost here with a study of the

Tao Te Ching. This talk is about –

“The Nature of the Tao”


Reading from Chapters 1, 4, 6, 11, 34


Chapter 1


The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao

The name that can be named is not the eternal name

The nameless is the nature of heaven and earth

The named is the mother of myriad of things

Thus constantly without desire one can observe its essence

Constantly with desire one observes its manifestations

The two merge together but differ in name

The unity is said to be the mystery

Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders

This very first chapter in the Tao Te Ching seems to offer a paradox. The first time I read it, I reread it several times trying to get to the context of what was being said. One may wonder,  that if the Tao cannot be named why do we call it the Tao?

The author of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu is explaining to us that that we cannot name something so infinitely complex. The message is that by naming a thing, we tend to limit it.  When we limit the infinite source of all things in the universe, we have limited our ability to connect to the infinite source.


It is the nature of the ego mind to to quantify and define everything. The ego mind, the ignorant self is always acquiring and accumulating. The initial part of this process is to define a thing or concept by putting a name or label to “it”. So this very first lesson for the Tao cultivator is realize and accept that the source, the path …

the Tao is mysterious and beyond our full understanding. Thus … it is futile to limit the unlimited by giving it a label. However, it is necessary, for the sake of language and discussion that we call “it” something,   so we will call it the Tao understanding that it is just a name and in no way comes near explaining the full mystery.

In verse 5, it says

Thus constantly without desire one can observe its essence

When we have transcended the physical domain and realized the true self,… the spiritual self…  we can observe  the essence of the Tao.

Verse Six:  Constantly with desire one observes its manifestations


Constantly with desire is the ego mind firmly grounded in materialism and desire. So all that ego can perceive is


This is the dichotomy of our life path. Two sides of the coin where one aspect is the spiritual self and the other, the physical self is how we have the spiritual experience.


As a spiritual being capable of physical experience, we can experience life through our senses.


The two merge together but differ in name.

The path of the Tao cultivator is one where the human being realizes both and brings them into balance.  When the balance is dominated by the physical aspect of self, the ego, our path follows one of materialism and only observes its manifestation.

Verse 8 The unity is said to be the mystery

Verse 9 Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders

Thus the great mystery that in later chapters is refered to as “mystic virtue”. Being the mystery of mysteries, it is the door to all wonders and cannot be named.


Following the path of the Tao is the balancing of these perspectives to realize a merged unity.  This unity is said to be the great mystery or “mystic virtue”. Mystic virtue is the door to all wonders. Mystic virtue is an important topic unto itself, and discussed in another discussion.

The important point being made here today is to realize how the ego would dismiss the infinite power of the ultimate infinite source, “The Great Tao”.


You may recognize the mindset that takes the stance that if it can not be touched, smelled, heard, tasted or seen, it does not exist nor does it deserve merit. If it cannot be named it worthless and does not exist. This very limited view is pure ego, and disconnect consciousness from creative source. Call it non-inspiration. It is a disconnect from the true nature of the Tao.


The next chapter is

Chapter 4


The Tao is empty

When utilized it is not filled up

So deep it seems to be the source of all things


Its blunts the sharpness

Unravels the knots

Dims the glare

Mixes the dust


So indistinct ! It seems to exist

I do not know whose offspring it is

Its image is the predecessor of the Emperor


So the obvious question here is

“how can emptiness or nothingness be a source of all “things”?

Lets consider the big bang.

Quantum Scientist theorize that before the big bang, there was emptiness, or at least a moment of nothingness. Then suddenly, BANG and everything we now can perceive came through in one massive explosion that  is not only continuing but is also accelerating in its expansion. One moment nothing, … the next …the universe is filling up with stuff. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu refers to all the stuff and 10,000 myriad of things”. So anytime you hear or see the phrase it is referring to everything that has formed since the big bang.


In the 13.8 billion years since the big bang, a lot has come and gone. Stars have formed and then self destructed.

Even in the 4.5 billion years that the earth has been around, so much has come and gone and is in a constant evolution of change.


Through constant change everything we can perceive comes and goes.

Whether it is a mountain or a human life, everything comes into form and then deconstructs back into the original components of the big bang.


These components then become part of a new form, some new creation that nature brings forth in a continuing and eternal cycle.


So in this now what we believe we understand is a lot different from what we …  as humans…. understood 500 years ago.

One can wonder what the understanding will be 500 years from now. So even knowledge and understanding is subject to the law of change.


Chapter 6


The valley spirit, undying

Is called the mystic female


The gateway of the mystic female

is called the root of heaven and earth


It flows continuously, barely perceptible

When utilized, it is never exhausted.


The Tao Te Ching continues with sharing with us how the Tao is the inexhaustible source of everything. It is the creative source and the creative that gives birth to everything, thus Lao Tzu refers to the Tao as the “mystic female”.

Higher consciousness is our spiritual connection to this source.

We cannot fully understand the mystery but we can begin to realize that recycling of form as an inexhaustible source.

Chapter 11


Thirty spokes join in one hub

In its emptiness there is the function of a vehicle

Mix clay to create a container

Cut open doors and windows to create a room

In its emptiness, there is the function of a room


Therefore, that which exists is used to create benefit

That which is empty is used to create functionality


In the beginning, the Tao cultivator may not be able to comprehend how nothing or “emptiness” can have value. Yet, with contemplation, we can  begin to see that emptiness as a source holds the potential for everything.


When emptiness gives function to the solid, we begin to appreciate the potential inherent in the void or emptiness.


If we only allow ourselves to focus on the tangible ( the material domain, only the physical senses) we will not be able to be creative and be inspired by source.


When we empty our mind, we unify our conscious (awareness) with the emptiness of source.  When our mind is cluttered with sensation seeking and emotional drama, we are spiritually deaf to what is potentially read to connect to us.

When we do finally quiet the mind for even just a small duration, in that empty space, we become one with and  unite with the infinite potential.


When our minds are resolute in only accepting that which is black and white, or when we mistakenly think that everything is absolute, we remove the ability to be creative. Creativity is born in possibility and potential.


When we consider things in only the absolute, we remove possibility. What if our ancestors refused that something solid like steel could never be used as something that would float on water, ships would still be limited to just wood.

Or what if our predecessors refused to believe that a solid object could fly, there would be very little advancement in airplanes, jets and rockets. In this way we can appreciate how emptiness gives rise to possibility. We see how emptiness provides functionality to concept.


Chapter 34

The great Tao is like a flood,

it can flow left or right


The myriad of things depend on it for life but it never stops

It achieves it work but does not take credit

It clothes and feeds myriad things but does not rule over them

It can be named great


Even in the end, it does not regard itself as great

That is how it can achieve its greatness


Source is creating, changing, flowing incessantly in an omnipresent function that life thrives on.


The flow is life. In Qigong we call this creating and sustaining life force “ Qi “.


When we align our consciousness with the flow, we can begin to perceive the source. When we realize that the universe itself is self aware and when we align our own consciousness it,

we are one with the infinite source of all.


The self aware universe does not have ego, it just is. It is unorganized, undifferentiated choas. It is pure potential that only need consciousness to bring forth possibility into reality. This spiritual connection is an extension of the  true self, or the spiritual self.


The self of the physical domain, the ego gravitates toward materialism and the tangible. As a realized spiritual being we can emulate the Tao and be unified with the flow. LIke the Tao we need not take credit.


This need to be seen and to take credit is pure ego. Selflessness is the being free to serve one’s ego which can be labeled by names like “me” “myself”.


By being free of neediness of being seen as great and seeking greatness will open the space or emptiness for greatness will flow through us without effort, like water in flood around obstacles.


There are other chapters in Tao Te Ching explaining the nature of the Tao. There are lots of verses that advise how to be like the Tao, or source.

You are called to explore these and seek the wisdom.

By waking up from distraction and the ego self, you can align with your spirit, .. .your true and authentic self, which is already in alignment with the Tao. One just has to realize this. True self realization.


By learning mediation, to free the mind and align with emptiness, you provide the means of aligning with source. Letting go of the thinking mind and learning to just be, is to awaken as the true self.


You, as a spiritual being, once again having this physical experience, can realize clarity and realize the true nature of the Tao, the ultimate and eternal source.

Action or Reaction

Action or Reaction

Chapter 33

Those who understand others are intelligent

Those who understand themselves are enlightened


Those who overcome others have strength

Those who overcome themselves are powerful


Those who know contentment are wealthy

Those who proceed vigorously have willpower


Those who do not love their base endure

Those who die but do not perish have longevity

In any given moment we may perceive a snapshot of life. The underlying reality of the physical domain is always in a state of change. Sometimes, many times one these snapshots will be perceived and then defined as problematic. The ego, or ignorant aspect of self has its own desire seeking perspective along with its own agenda of how life should be. When that perspective is not in alignment with what is, suffering arises.

When suffering arises, the ego mind is inclined to react. Reaction is that spontaneous response of non acceptance of the underlying reality. The ego whose macro-viewpoint is only about “me” and the fulfillment of desire, sensation seeking or distraction will judge the now it finds itself experiencing.  Not accepting the now it is experience gives over to reaction.  Ego’s solution and reaction will many times result in feelings of lust, greed, envy, anger, hatred, desperation, revenge and many other non virtuous emotions. These emotions will automatically become responses by means of reacting. When this happens, cause and effect makes a course change along the path of life. The resulting destiny can and often is one leading to more problems and suffering. These reactions initiate a downward spiral of suffering and self destruction. Prisons and jails are filled those who made bad choices. Hospitals and graveyards are filled with the victims of those who made bad choices. In the collective, wars have been initiated and thousands have died because of ego reaction.

When something happens to us, when something is said to us and we respond with inappropriate emotions or we take a comment personally, this is ego at work. This is the ego reacting. So what is the alternative?

The alternative is self awareness and mindfulness of action. When the mind perceives one of those inevitable changes, one can be aware of the ego rising to respond and implement “self” control. In that moment, we can, if we are self aware and mindful realize it is a moment of choice. In that moment we can choose from a multitude of choices. One choice may be to do no-thing, to take no action. Or one may wait it out, get more information, seek alternative perspectives. Then, after using wisdom of experience, we can take some action. Even making the choice of no action is an action. Yet it is the choice of wisdom, the true self rather than the automatic reaction of the ignorant mind. Wisdom is learning from previous experience and ignorance is ignoring experience and being controlled by ego emotions (anger, lust, jealousy etc.)

So in any given moment we have a choice; action (from wisdom) or reaction (from ignorance). In that moment when reaction is beginning to rise we pause and take the position of the true self, and employ wisdom. When we can understand what we are doing and why we are doing it we are on the path to enlightenment. When we overcome the ignorant ego mind, we become powerful, no longer controlled by ego. In this moment free of ego, will power is available for the choosing and implementing. When the ego identity is controlled, we do not die, we experience longevity. Through our actions we choose the authentic life of the true self. Through reactions, we begin the down spiral of coping with the illusions of ego desire and self fulfillment..

To control the ego, one must transcend the egoic thinking through meditation. By practicing  meditation over and over, we create a “strong base”. This foundation of self awareness is the strengthening of our realization as the true self. This realization is the highest state of consciousness. The opposite is distraction and the domain of ego. As we walk our life path we exercise the power of wise choice by paying special attention, moment by moment we let go of reaction. This is mindfulness. In that moment of choice, we can seek the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching and learn to unite with the Tao, the true source. In this way we “do not perish and have longevity”.

In this now, in this moment, as you read these words, you are having moment of truth. A moment of seeing the underlying reality. Before your mind slides back into distraction and under the control of ego, set the intention to learn meditation and how to practice mindfulness. The control of your destiny awaits you.

Complexity and Cleverness – “The Devil Is In The Details”

The ego seeks complexity


Chapter 65


Those of ancient times who were adept at the Tao

Used it not to make people brighter

But to keep them simple

The difficulty in governing people

Is due to their excessive cleverness.


Therefore using cleverness to govern the state

Is being a thief of the state

Not using cleverness to govern the state

Is being a blessing of the state.


Know that these two are both standards

Always knowing these standards is Mystic Virtue

Mystic Virtue is so profound and so far reaching

It goes opposite to material things

Then it reaches great congruence.
The ego loves complexity and confusion because it creates opportunity for manipulation. Interestingly, this was as important 2500 years ago as it is today. Yet one can realize that this concept of ego and complexity goes back even further. The first lines written by Lao Tzu 2500 years ago refers to the “ancients”. Lao Tzu was referring to wisdom that was a few thousand years old in his time ! So we can quickly see that ego trickery has been around for a long time. Today, we see the modern version of this when we go to purchase something, only to be overwhelmed with complexity and detail.


The greedy needy aspect of self serving ego loves to confuse and misdirect for the intention of serving itself. Trying to keep up with the complexity only wears the individual down and in the end they are overwhelmed and give in because it is just too much. Perhaps you may remember an experience buying a car, computer, or some complicated service where you found the more you tried to understand how things worked, the more complex it became. On those occasions where ego is at work, there is cleverness with the intention for manipulation. In many cases, they just want your money. The ego and collective ego of the organization to which you are interacting with is just in it for themselves and just want your money, your vote, your whatever it is that is being sought. Complexity and confusion creates opportunity for the non-virtuous and self serving.


In the passages of chapter 65, it can be effective in applying this understanding that the “state” is your life path, and the “people” those who you interact with on a daily basis.  Using cleverness to manipulate people to enhance your life is a function of the ego mind. Since the path of virtue, leads to mystic virtue, following the path of ego leads to disharmony. Disharmony leads to failure at life and suffering.


When the opportunity to help relieve the suffering of someone along our path presents itself, we have the choice to respond in either a virtuous manner of compassion and empathy or with egoic self serving. When we are suffering and when others are suffering, they are vulnerable. As a virtuous and spiritual being we can choose to walk the higher path and help others in a simple straight forward manner. Or… as in the case of evil ego, we can, in a moment of self serving, create an opportunity to manipulate a vulnerable being through cleverness and trickery to get what we want.


If you are thinking that it seems that those people seem successful because gain wealth and prestige, then you are only seeing things on the surface level. The underlying reality is that “great executioner” which is karma (cause and effect) will return all that the ego put into action. Besides that, those who understand ego, understand that the ego is never satisfied. Ego can at best only feel a fleeting moment of satisfaction or fulfillment because of the nature of its inherent desire. Those who reside as the true self, the spiritual self, know that true fulfillment does not come from the material plane. True joy and lasting fulfillment only come through mystic virtue. We can be mindful of our intentions and discern what we are doing and why. We can be self aware and step away from ego when we find that we are about take advantage of someone and using cleverness for self gain. We can also use self awareness and realize when someone, some ego, is attempting to manipulate us with complexity and cleverness. You can at once see your own ego being needy and vulnerable and the opposing ego taking advantage. And that is a formula for suffering. Two egos circling each other, one manipulating and the other being manipulated. It creates a downward circularity that ends in suffering for all involved. Yet it does not and should not be this way.


As Tao cultivators, we can embrace the three treasures and use them as a compass for guiding us along life’s path. We can first be compassionate and empathize with another’s situation. We can be conservative and keep things simple and straightforward and remember to be humble by embracing selflessness. Only through mystic virtue can we experience the extraordinary successful life.