Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life Book Summary - Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life Book explained in key points
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Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life summary

Wayne W. Dyer

Living the Wisdom of the Tao

4.5 (302 ratings)
17 mins
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    Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life
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    The Tao is the source of all creation, and a key to understanding it is to allow more and desire less.

    The Tao Te Ching is an ancient text composed of 81 verses, which is often quite poetic in the way it imparts wisdom and describes the way of the Tao. But what is the Tao?

    According to its first verse, “The Tao is both named and nameless… it is the origin of all things.” So right away we’re presented with a paradoxical idea: that this energy behind all creation has no name, even though we call it the Tao.

    A recurring theme in the text is that the name for something is not the same as the thing itself. For example, the ocean itself is not the same as the word or labels we use to describe it. So, one of the teachings of the Tao Te Ching is to put less emphasis on names, labels and boxing things into categories.

    We may give a name to the Tao, but really there’s no name for it, since it is that which gave birth to all things. The text refers to the Tao as the “Mother of 10,000 things,” these being the very first 10,000 things to have existed. We can’t see the Tao, but the results of it are all around us: The Tao and those first things are what led to us and everything we can see.

    The first verse also establishes the Tao as being mysterious, and that only those who are “desireless” can see the mystery, while those who are “ever desiring” will only see the manifestations and things the Tao creates.

    Many verses in the Tao Te Ching touch on the idea of being effortless and suggest that we can look at desire as an effort that’s worth reducing. As the author sees it, this means desiring less and allowing more.

    In many aspects of life, we can see how our desires can be less helpful than our ability to step back and simply allow things to happen. When you’re trying to go to sleep, for instance, strong desires can only stand in the way. It’s not until you clear your mind and gently allow yourself to drift off that sleep will finally arrive.

    The same can also be said for gardening. Active desire won’t make your garden grow any faster or more healthily. Nature has its own deliberate pace, and it’s this same pace we should adopt in our lives. For the mysteries of the Tao are only available to those who are at one with the natural way and are “ever desireless.”

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    What is Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life about?

    Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life (2007) takes you through each verse of the Tao Te Ching, the classic text related to the philosophical and spiritual traditions of Taoism. Drawing from different modern interpretations, the author draws out the fundamental teachings and suggests ways in which Taoism continues to be relevant and beneficial today.

    Who should read Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life?

    • Individuals seeking guidance on how to live a virtuous life
    • Spiritual people interested in learning about Taoism
    • Students of Eastern religions

    About the Author

    Dr. Wayne W. Dyer has a doctorate in educational counseling and was an associate professor at St. John’s University. He’s since gone on to author dozens of books and become a popular speaker on the subject of self-development. His other books include the New York Times best sellers The Power of Intention (2004) and 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace (2001).

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