Nov 222011
Sensing the Tao by Halofan943

Before I can write about how to manage the Tao of a situation, I feel it is good to share how one can be aware of the Tao. This question came up in my previous article on the Tao of Fish and Chips. It is a habit and a curiosity of mine to try to see to the core of situations that interest me. As such, my radar is on when it is important. If it is not, sometimes I notice the Tao and at other times, I do not.

As I said before, the Tao need not be an abstract or esoteric concept. It is practical to be aware of it if you wish to make the best choices in a given situation. Here then is the approach I take to be more aware of the Tao.

How to be Aware of the Tao of a Situation

1. Focus and Goals

The Tao is vast and boundless. It can encompass everything and yet mean nothing more than an abstract idea. Without focus, the Tao has little relevance in our lives. It is there, but you may not even be aware of it most of the time.

Thus, the key step to being aware of the Tao is focus. You must define the boundaries for the Tao of a situation. And to give the Tao of any situation further clarity, you must have goals. You must be clear about what you wish to achieve. Clear goals help you to see what is useful and what is not. Only by doing so will the Tao of any situation have relevance for you.

2. Information Gathering

The more you know, the clearer the Tao of any situation becomes. You will be able to see how the Tao affects the attainment of your goals. Thus, it is vital to find out as much as you can about a situation before you enter the fray. If possible, you could read up on it. Or, you could find out from someone who has had actual experience. I have always enjoyed listening to the insights of experts that I may otherwise miss on my own.

By keeping your goals in mind, you can learn what may advance or hinder you from attaining them. Then you will know beforehand what to look out for and do. With sufficient knowledge, the Tao becomes clear once you are in the midst of the situation.

3. Experience and Practice

Trial and error is usually the way many of us learn in life. This applies to being aware of the Tao of any situation as well. If you have the luxury of time and the stakes are not high, you can become aware of the Tao through trial and error. By learning from your mistakes and adapting as needed, you will know how to manage a given situation well.

While you may not be able to link all the dots at first, the connections become clearer with experience. More importantly, you will be aware of the Tao in a way that is most useful to your strengths and weaknesses. As you become more familiar with a situation, your view of it will also change. You will have to reassess your first impressions in the light of new insights. Additionally, you will also notice things you missed earlier. The best part of experience is that you can apply it to other similar situations. Truly, practice makes perfect.

4. Observation

Have you ever noticed how water flows? It always follows the path of least resistance. This is also the case when people act in accord with the Tao of a situation. They also flow along with little effort.

Another important way of being aware of the Tao is to observe all that is going on in a given situation. This approach applies when you are already in the midst of the action. If you have experience with a similar situation, the Tao should become clear soon enough. This is because you know what to look for. If not, you also have to observe to apply the information you gathered in its proper context.

But a key observation to make is the impact of the Tao on others. This is especially so if you are going in with little or no knowledge. There is always a reason why people behave the way they do. For some, it is out of ignorance and fear. These people are not in accord with the Tao and usually waste energy with little results. For others, they calmly flow with the situation and seem to be unruffled by all that is going on around them. They expend little effort and seem to get twice the results. These are the people to watch and follow.

Taking Notes by Kreep

Simple Tao Versus Complex Tao

If the Tao of a situation is simple, the steps above are sufficient to reveal it. But if the Tao is complex, then it may be beyond simple logic and intuition. There may be too many elements involved making it hard to discern how they interact exactly. As such, we may miss the complete picture and form flawed conclusions.

On the one hand, you need knowledge about a situation to apply logic in its proper context. With enough information, you can connect the dots and know what to do. But what may be common knowledge to insiders may not be common knowledge to outsiders. Without adequate knowledge, the use of logic is limited at best and faulty at worst. It is hard to be aware of the full Tao of a situation.

On the other hand, intuition does allow you to sense the Tao of the situation. But what you sense based on intuition alone may not be enough for you to use effectively. You might sense that something is wrong or feels odd. But apart from fight or flight, you may not know why, what, or where the danger is coming from. You might not fully grasp the situation. Thus, you end up reacting to events instead of pre-empting them. Also, when you sense something is wrong is vital. If you sense it too late, the best you can do is react. But if you sense it early enough, you can do more to prepare and pre-empt the situation.

And to complicate matters, the more involved you are in events, the greater the risk of having clouded judgement. This is especially so when the stakes are high. You may wish for a desired outcome and filter out all else in the process. This will have an impact on your logic and intuition making it hard to see the Tao clearly.

Riding the Waves by Michael Dawes

Yijing Divination

To be honest, I am not aware of the full Tao of every situation all the time. Without enhancements, my logic and intuition is no better than others are. Sometimes I see the Tao, but at other times especially when the situation is complex, I do not. It is largely a hit and miss affair for me as well. This is perfectly fine if the stakes involved are low. But if the stakes are high, then it is vital that I see the bigger picture and the Tao of the situation as it is.

Such knowledge is usually beyond the ability of most people. The exceptions are those who are in tune with the cosmos or have the means to do so. I fall into the second category. Only through divination with the Yijing can I tune into the Tao of each event itself to know what to do and what not to do.

Take job interviews for example. Without going into too much detail, both sides have their goals and challenges. Simply put, the interviewers have to think of the interests of the company. Meanwhile, the interviewees have to think about their own interests. Because both parties are working with incomplete information, their view of the Tao is limited. Thus, it is hard for them to make the best choices. But if both parties can see the Tao of the situation clearly, they will know the best approach to take to attain their goals.

This is one way I have successfully applied the Yijing to my life. Other areas include relationships, making informed choices about a major decision, business and so on. If you have any questions or challenges you are dealing with, do drop me an email. I will be happy to help you make the best choices with my consultation service. I can also help you to assess strategies to attain your goals.

Taking Action

In my next article, I will share on how to manage the Tao of a situation. For now, what other ways of being aware of the Tao of a situation can you think of that I have missed out? Do share your thoughts and comments below! :)

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  12 Responses to “How to be Aware of the Tao of a Situation”

  1. It’s great that you have broken down the concept of Tao for practical applications. Your explanations make it seem that it is pretty much common sense, yet again, not everyone applies it for every situation. It is probably why we land up in trouble or facing tremendous difficulties with our experiences.

    Your explanation of simple vs complex Tao gives us a balanced perspective. Too much or too little complicates matters, as you’ve pointed out.

    I look forward to more explanations on how to manage Tao. It will be nice if you can break it down to different areas of life so that we can see the connection more clearly :-)
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..How to Seize the MomentMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      The Tao need not be something abstract. If we know how to apply it to daily life, there are many practical uses for it. The most important use would be to make better choices in the face of challenges.

      In truth, this is my view of the Tao and here I am only focusing on the practical applications to daily life. I don’t really have much interest in theoretical speculation for its own sake. My interest has always been practical. If I can make things simple and it helps to better the lives of others, I would have achieved my aim.

      Thank you very much for your suggestions! I will keep it in mind and try to break down the management of Tao into different areas of life so that everyone can see the connections more clearly.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  2. Thanks for sharing the information on the Tao. It has peaked my interest to learn more.
    Cathy | Treatment Talk recently posted..Grace Lost and Found: An Interview with Mary CookMy Profile

  3. Like other commenters, I am intrigued by your in depth study of the Tao and how we apply it in our lives. (Still laughing about the fish and chips story.) I am not experienced with the Yijing like you, but I have read the Tao Te Ching for years and I am familiar wtih its basic principles. I find your real life examples and applications of the Tao very helpful. They will certainly lead to a more balanced and happy life.

    PS–Saw your comment on my latest post, but also wanted you to know I gave you a shout out on an earlier post because you inspired the title–The 11th Step. Thanks for that!!
    Galen Pearl recently posted..SabaayMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      The fish and chips story was really going with the flow haha!

      I have read a little of the Tao Te Ching on and off over the years. But as my interest has always been practical, I found it hard to apply the Tao Te Ching to daily life.

      The Yijing on the other hand is different. I don’t just read it as a book of wisdom, I also apply it everyday or to specific situations as needed to achieve my aims. Over time, I developed a connection with the Yijing and its use has become almost second nature to me. The interesting thing is that I have barely scratched the surface with my usage. Because my concerns is practical this is why I prefer to take note of real life situations and how I can apply the Yijing to solve problems.

      I am not sure how I missed your 11th Step post, but thank you so much for the shout out. I really appreciate it! :) More importantly, I am happy that my suggestion help you in some way. As I said before, the role I am most comfortable with is that of a Vizier.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  4. Irving my friend It seems that you have identified some great strategies to manage our Tao. As it is the Tao of any situation can be elusive. Isn’t it true that only if our RAS is in tuned that we are better able to sense and hence harness the Tao?

    Goals, focus,etc will only put our radar on alert for the Tao to be made evident. I love the fact that these can be within our control.
    Jimmy recently posted..What Can Quitting Teach? 6 Lessons from a Major FailureMy Profile

    • Hi Jimmy,

      The Tao of a situation can be elusive because there is so much involved that we cannot possibly see or know. While goals, focus and so on can help us to see the Tao of simple situations, it is insufficient for complex ones. In truth, there are really many things beyond our control. What is in our control is how we react to the situation, this much is true. But I intend to go one step further to show how to manage the Tao of complex situations by being aware of what is the best way to act.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  5. Hi Irving,

    I believe I may have been working with the Tao the last few years more than ever, but am stll finding it too complex to grasp it all. I endeavor to see myself within it, and flow with the events, but when it is a situation of large significance, I do not act until the way seems clear. Just the fact that I see myself within it is probably progress on some level. The ebb and flow itself can be fascinating to watch as it unfolds.

    The most interesting part that I have encountered so far is that sometimes the outcome appears to be negative or not what we desired, and yet it is sometimes the best answer.
    Julie | A Clear Sign recently posted..Intuitive Development Training | Does It Matter How Psychic Messages Come Through?My Profile

    • Hi Julie,

      It is true that when the situation is complex it is not always possible to know the best way to act. The Tao is not clear because we are only seeing things from our point of view. Our knowledge of the situation is limited at best. There may be many important elements that do not register no matter how much we try to apply our logic and intuition to the situation.

      It is also true that sometimes the outcome, even if it is negative or not what we wished for, can be the best answer. But care must be taken to avoid negative outcomes as far as possible. To do otherwise will only drain our resources for the moments when we need it the most.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  6. Hi Irving,

    This is fascinating. I never imagined starting with focus and goals. Observation though clearly comes to mind as a way to understand the Tao of a situation. I think sometimes the problem is that we don’t want to see what we see! I will need to study and remember these! Thanks you for the road map.
    Sandra / Always Well Within recently posted..Curious About the Future of Books?My Profile

    • Hi Sandra,

      I never realized the need to start with focus and goals until I looked carefully at the Tao of Fish and Chips and in the course of writing this article. I guess I knew it intuitively, but I needed to reflect before I realized the importance of focus and goals.

      Yes you raise a very important point. Sometimes the problem is we don’t want to see or know. Even though I can know most things that are directly related to me, the question is whether I want to know it or not. The more there is at stake and the more emotionally involved I am, the more I choose to go into a situation blind instead of with my eyes open. It’s denial or sorts and hoping for my own desired outcome instead of being aware of the Tao. This is an issue I intend to address in a future article.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

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