We get a lot of “advice” on how to live – our culture, social media, an army of “experts”, religion, television, films … Most of it says more is better, and that gratification needs to be instant. Such advice implies that accumulation of plaudits is the goal. It is what we gather from the outside that counts. Ego and its self-expression are everything.
Here Lao Tzu contradicts it all. Happiness is the result of acting and thinking in ways completely opposed to the usual exterior messaging. He says simply that true happiness comes from the “inside”. It comes from our genuine, or as I like to call it, our authentic self. This is the self that lies beneath the surface of things, the self that brings us harmony within when we touch it.
Like many things in life, it is a paradox. His message tells us less is more. Yet, it reveals an even greater truth. Happiness comes from living authentically, from touching the inside. We call it forth to blossom when we follow his advice – sage advice – that has survived to come through to us twenty-five centuries later.