Trusting the Tao: Getting Out of Our Own Way

elders-hands-readingMy dad is an easy going and open-minded man. It is funny for me to contemplate that he has a daughter with my temperament. I can see his face looking down at me as a young girl, perplexed by his daughter’s inability to let anything go. As a child I could easily be described as intransigent, perfectionist and stubborn. Unfortunately, many of these qualities followed me into adulthood. Looking back, I can see how my own tenacity caused me many troubles. I just couldn’t seem to get out of my own way.

I now understand why I was so rigid with my desire to control my life. My hard driving ways were nearly always positively reinforced by everything and everyone around me. If I worked hard enough I saw that I could achieve nearly anything I wished for in my little world. Whether it was making the cheerleading squad, getting straight A’s or having the attention of the most desirable boys in school, I saw that striving would pay dividends. The problem was that relying on my own energies and overdriving everything in my life was exhausting. By my teenage years I had burned myself out. In addition, I couldn’t help but notice the things I pursued and attained weren’t offering me much satisfaction. I knew there had to be another way.

I have to admit that it hasn’t been until my forties that I have begun to deeply understand what it means to trust the organic patterns of my life. In his wonderful book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, Dr. Wayne Dyer writes, “By staying in harmony on the path of the Tao [The Way], all the contentment you could ever dream of will begin to flow into your life — the right people, the means to finance where you’re headed, and the necessary factors will come together.” The Tao teaches us that there is always a gentle way available to those of us who choose it.

When we step into the flow inherent to the Tao we begin to get out of our own way. We can begin to do this by relaxing and trusting. We might start this process by slowing down and breathing deeply. I often find that tapping into my intuition and noticing Divine guidance helps me to access the Tao in my own life.

As Marianne Williamson has said, we needn’t worry that God will lose our file. If we take time to reflect on our own lives we might see how we were loved and supported (sometimes despite our best efforts to muck things up!) by life itself many times in our past. This insight may give us the confidence to begin trusting and moving with the Divine patterning in our life.

© Copyright 2008 by Jeanine Austin. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • AMH

    AMH

    August 7th, 2008 at 5:15 AM

    What an uplifting article! I too have the tendency to go go go until I feel like dropping and it has taken me a long time to learn that this is not healthy for me or for my family so I have tried to slow down and just let the natural rhythms of my body and life be in charge rather than me always trying to be in control of everything. I think this style of living is serving me much better than my overachieving did in the past!

  • Kyle

    Kyle

    August 10th, 2008 at 4:27 AM

    We have all lived like this I think and you are right- it does feel healthier just to let it all go and let what feels natural take control instead of always trying to BE in control.

  • Shannon

    Shannon

    August 11th, 2008 at 10:02 AM

    There are many other opportunities for release and letting go such as meditation and yoga. Both of these practices can be very beneficial for just allowing the natural rhythms of your body take control and bring things into a more mangageable state. This works for me anyway. I think though that both of these practices can be hard for people who are accustomed to always being fully in control so they may take some work to get just the right feel from them. But both can be so relaxing and the perfect way to end what was before an extremely stressful day.

  • Nicholas Petrot

    Nicholas Petrot

    August 12th, 2008 at 10:48 AM

    Thanks for the tips. I have been trying to get on the yoga bandwagon for a while now and this may actually inspire me to do so.

  • bethany

    bethany

    August 15th, 2008 at 4:36 AM

    All of my life I have been a go getter and now I know the reason why- every time I would work so hard like this I received so much praise and admiration from home that I worked hard to get more of that. It is amazing what reading something in print can sometimes do for you, although it can kind of freak you out a little because as I sat and read this I thought Wow- this is me they are talking about. I still do continue to work hard because I think that is just a big part of who I am but I have tried to now do things for a different reason. I try to accomplish the things that mean the most to me and not those which will necessarily elicit the most praise from others. I think that overall this has started to make me a much stronger person.

  • Jeni

    Jeni

    August 18th, 2008 at 5:15 AM

    You can look at the flip side of this and learn something as well. What about those who are told growing up that they will never amount to anything and sure enough that is what happens? We all live up to the standards that are either fairly or unfairly laid out for us from a very early age and that in essence causes us to develop into the adults we become. I do believe that for those who are given very low standards and expectations can improve their lives but it is often hard to overcome things you have been told about yourself your whole life.

  • Michael

    Michael

    August 20th, 2008 at 3:01 AM

    I guess the best advice in this case is that as an adult we all have to give 100 percent to get to really know ourselves. That is the only way we will learn to overcome those negative expectations and rise above our past. Same thing goes for the overachievers. At a certain point they have to come to the realization that no one is super human and they do not have to try to be that anymore in order to continue pleasing others. It is all about making yourself happy from the inside out.

  • Ally

    Ally

    August 24th, 2008 at 7:37 AM

    Sometimes it is nice to know that we can give it all up to a higher power and that ultimately things will take care of themselves. That is comforting.

  • Lee

    Lee

    August 27th, 2008 at 3:08 AM

    You are right Ally. I bought the book by Dr. Dyer that is mentioned in the text and I have to say that reading it has brought me such calm and peace in my life. I recommend that for everyone out there who might be interested in the subject.

  • Donna

    Donna

    August 31st, 2008 at 1:01 PM

    I might make a trip to the bookstore and check that one out too.

  • Dr. Arthur Becker-Weidman

    Dr. Arthur Becker-Weidman

    September 1st, 2008 at 10:36 AM

    Jeanine,

    I’d be interested to know if you see any links between what you so eloquently describe and temperament…People have temperaments that seem to be very stable over time (See Thomas & Chess, for a detailed description of the nine dimensions of Temperament). I was just thinking that maybe accepting oneself and following the “Way” might in some respects include accepting ones nature or temperament….
    Thanks for a truly helpful article.

    Art

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