“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” — Lao Tzu
The word simplicity: an absence of luxury, pretentiousness, ornament, etc.; plainness: “a life of simplicity.”
Patience: to remain quiet, with steady perseverance, having even-tempered care and remaining diligence: “to work with patience.”
As for compassion: a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
These three ideas seems as though they should be simple to enable in one’s life. But, with our high tech, fast paced, multiple choice world in which we live, having patience and trying to live a simple life often feels like only a dreamers possibility. Our senses are bombarded daily with so many different images of the human condition that it is easy to become numb to the needs of others.
One way to start using Lao Tzu’s teachings is to have conscious thoughts about each of the three subjects.
1) Simplicity: Find ways to simplify your life, free up some time for reflection, for thought.
Don’t over-engineer your projects and tasks. Leave some gaps in your daily schedule. Prepare simple, healthy meals that don’t involve a lot of ingredients . Remove the temptation of having media in your face or in the background all day long by shutting off televisions, computers, and media players from time to time.
Simplicity will reveal itself little by little until it becomes the “norm” in your life.
2) Patience: The world seems to spin faster and faster with each passing decade. Faster food, speedier internet, and clocks everywhere displaying how little time is left in each day make it difficult to be patient. When we have to slow down for just about anything, a lot of folks get stressed out quickly. And, the only person that can slow down your life is you.
Deliberately change the time display in your vehicle to some random time. Think about how fast you are walking and purposely slow down. Speaking of slowing down, don’t feel you need to drive right up at the speed limit.
Learning patience by dealing with your own impatience within yourself will help you to have more patience for others.
3) Compassion: Having compassionate thoughts can be very easy, even if one doesn’t feel like they are much of a caring person. Start consciously looking for simple ways to help other folks out with their daily activities.
Hold a door open a little longer for that fellow human that needs to walk a bit slower than most because of age or health related issues. Walk in their shoes when a friend is struggling with personal problems and wants someone to listen. Wave someone through at a 4-way stop sign, allowing them to go first.
These little things will help train your mind to look for ways to help others and open your heart to being more compassionate to others misfortunes and frustrations.
Give this a try today…
Try to simplify a few things, be a bit more patient with today’s events, and find a way to express some compassion towards another human being.
What do you do to build up “your greatest treasures”?