Lao Tzu was an ancient philosopher and writer from China, and is typically dated around the 6th century BCE. He is credited as the founder of Taoism, and as the author of the Tao Te Ching. Followers believe that Lao Tzu was able to achieve the highest state of consciousness a human can experience, which has made him more of a deity than an actual man.
Lao Tzu established four spiritual rules of living, or four virtues through which to center your life. He believed that if you were able to live your life in accordance with these virtues, you would be able to achieve a level of wisdom and consciousness that most people never have the chance to experience. Below are the four spiritual rules he laid out for his followers, which you can find in the Tao Te Ching.
Gentleness is something the world needs more of, and it simply applies to all living things. Lao Tzu believed that all life deserved kindness, and that humans shouldn’t be motivated by egotistical desires.
Essentially, being gentle means giving up the need to be right; being kind is more important than being correct or asserting your own beliefs. When we’re gentle, we stop trying to dominate the situation and instead live in harmony with others.
2. Natural Sincerity
This virtue is all about staying true to who you are. Being authentic is incredibly important in regards to being happy or living harmoniously. If we’re constantly swayed by external forces, we’ll lose sight of who we really are, and who we really need to be.
By accepting the truth about ourselves and others, we not only find peace in this life, but we can help others along their paths as well.
3. Reverence for All Life
Lao Tzu believed that respecting all forms of life was essential for harmony.
All creation and creatures were equally important, and they require equal respect. Trying to dominate and control life only leads you away from enlightenment; you can’t find peace in the midst of a struggle for control. Loving and honoring oneself will lead to a mutual respect for all life in this world.
Similarly to the other three virtues, the virtue of supportiveness applies to all life on Earth, including ourselves. When we help ourselves, we become more equipped to help others along the path to happiness. Not only do we need to love and respect all life, but we need to support it as well. Giving is more important than receiving, and that’s what this virtue is all about. Lao Tzu believed that this comes natural for humans, but the world we live in today teaches us to be the opposite.