Self-Love & Tao in Daily Life
For so many quick fixes and pills that “promise” health, long work hours that guarantee “success”, and countless media sources that “connect” us to each other, it seems that we’re seeking greater meaning in places far and wide, but we’re still feeling empty, imbalanced, alienated, and over-stressed.
Nowadays especially, we need real, effective practices and perspectives to remedy cultural maladies. Topical applications and band-aids aren’t working. The root, not surface, of issues, need attention. And the inseparable root-lying, baseline control to all that you relate with is you.
To be healthy, you must choose what feels healthy. To have success, you must ask yourself what success means to you specifically. To connect to others lovingly, you must connect to yourself lovingly. To respect the balancing forces of nature, have a devotion of spiritual life, and greater inspiring awe, you must ultimately look within yourself first and return to love.
“The wisest approach must always be rooted in love.”— Matt Kahn
Modern thinking tends to insist that when adversities of life present themselves, to confront or deal with them directly and externally is most sufficient. In contrast, Taoism lends a way of thinking in which a person secures their own inner character first when confronting difficulties and mysteries of the universe.
For example, instead of building a bridge if faced with a river too broad, a person following Tao might first ask why a bridge was needed. Was there a reason that they were not content with what they had or would an imbalance of nature, society, economics, or even aesthetics be created along with the bridge? (1)
If a far-away land becomes a point of interest, now you can consider the idea of flying to visit it right away. However, a person following Tao would think to know and love themselves well first, knowing that the outside world is only known in relation to an inner point of view. (1) Thus, establishing self-knowledge and connection is a precursor to knowing and connecting with others.
Let’s say a person attacks you. Many people today might assume the attacker is at fault. However, to a person following Tao, they might ask if they did anything to provoke the attack. If so, could they have prevented it? In what way might they be carrying energy that says, “I deserve it”?
“Tao fundamentally assumes that inner cultivation of character can lead to outer resonance.” — Deng Ming-Dao
Really, it comes back to considering the truth, being considerate of yourself. Since there is no separation of self from other absolutely, considering yourself is considering another. Consideration is not of self or other but just consideration in general, actually. Without a capacity to honor yourself, speak authentically, and act from a place of integrity — essentially matching your internal truth with your external truth — you cannot really honor life and encourage others to be veritable either.
Seeing the ways in which you can express open-heartedly and honestly or practice taking care of yourself is actually practice in taking care of the world, of recognizing interdependence rather than operating codependently—a belief that you can’t be satisfied until others are satisfied, undermining yourself in the process, or when the quality of your experience is dependent upon the actions and behaviors of others.
It all comes back to the way you relate to your self first in order to relate well to others and your environment, to see what lessons, offerings, and gifts are available to you already before acting outwardly to gain more.
The idea of interdependence relates to the concept of Yin and Yang — opposing forces are bound together and interdependent on each other in nature. Yin and Yang are created and bound together as parts of a mutual whole. Therefore, without careful self-cultivation and self-love, it’s not possible to sustain real harmony and deep, meaningful affection for others.
To see and connect to a greater story of life, to really radiate, to really live with deep, full, and reverberating resonance, you must look within first. How you feel you can remedy problems in health, fulfilling your purpose, and relating starts with a loving connection to your self first. In fact, self-cultivation is the basis for knowing Tao. It’s really a way of knowing how to love.
The Tao points to your relationship with immediate experience. It’s about exploring on your own and being radically honest about it. It’s about having a true experience. It’s about seeing the truth in experiences. It’s about being truthful about experiences.
Knowing Tao is knowing your aliveness and deepest truth. Being able to stand completely exposed, allowing the world to do what it may and say what it will, allows you to know who you are beyond the realm of ideas. It allows you to hold a much deeper anchor of identity, security, and certainty.
When you inhale, you receive, and when you exhale, you give. Life is a constant exchange and is synchronously balanced in every moment. How aware you become of this inherent natural law is how aware you become of your interconnectedness with all that is and how well you make the journey of life less of a battle upstream. Because it's not really a fight; It’s a dance. It’s not really about struggle; It’s about permission. It’s not really about right/wrong; It’s about love.
When love influences your decisions, you can participate with greater trust, allowance, and non-forcing, or wu wei. Your “lifeboat” can point downstream and can be carried with ease. Faith — an openness and trust for life — can develop and deepen because your authentic relationship to each experience guides your direction or choices.
To understand and align based on what’s most relaxed, loving, and exciting is love in action. Let these qualities direct your focus and guide your decisions. May these 7 principles foster a greater capacity to love yourself consistently and intimately so your heart may open. After all…
“We must sharpen sensibilities to see the greatness in life.” — Deng Ming-Dao
I summarized 7 principles to follow from Deng Ming-Dao’s Tao 365 that might sharpen your sensibilities and facilitate a much-needed journey downstream. Every day can become an invitation to enter the Tao. When external resources begin to fade, then the wonder of Tao is everything.
- Commit to a daily connection to your inner self. Cultivating a sense of knowing and loving yourself connects your heart to purpose. Once, the auspicious may have been superstition. Soon it can become confirmation. Connecting deeply to yourself cultivates a greater capacity for optimism, faith, resolution, and innocence.
- Purify your body. By cleansing physical problems and delusions, you naturally look within and can sense the divine.
- Be determined. Full devotion — total faith and commitment — to a spiritual path requires fortitude. Determination naturally builds momentum. Bring your devotion to a single point — so strong that there is nothing that is not a part of it.
- Allow your mind to settle. No amount of effort can still you, just as the moon makes no effort to achieve a reflection. The mind will become clear naturally and immediately if allowed to be undisturbed.
- Absorb yourself into sound to experience sacredness. To hear the subtle in your life, listen not with the ear but with the spirit. The deepest sound is silence, unified with all of its opposites, both sound and soundless.
- Trust the unseen and subtle cycles to embrace the chaos of creation. All growth comes with a shock, and all creation comes with destruction. But you, just as a seedling, inherently embody the complete pattern of growth, character, and destiny already — all which were even present at the moment of your emerging.
- Seek, gladden, and adore silence. Silence is a tremendous source of solace and peace, a great comfort. In silence, neither defense nor offense is needed, a truly open place of bliss, wonder, and awe of the pure and sacred [beautiful Tao].
Ming-Dao, D. 365 Tao.
Above all, Kinan’s passion is activating human potential through areas of technology, health, and psychology. He strives to push human innovation to the limit and actively participate in the evolution of consciousness.
Kinan believes we can achieve this primarily in the ways we communicate intelligently, software being a backbone to global interconnectivity and the transformation of self-destructive behavior being the bridge to greater human connection and empowerment.