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Wisdom from Taoism

At Integrative Counsel, we draw from many schools of learning, and Taoism is one of them. Taoism is both a religion and a philosophy of life, focusing on ‘Wu Wei”, which refers to a state of being where you find peace in acceptance and stillness. This, in Taoism, is our true essence. In today’s culture, we are all about working ourselves to the bone to prove ourselves and stretching ourselves beyond our limits. Taoists teach us that there is a better way to live our lives, and we can allow ourselves to release the burden that we have been carrying and become more in touch with our authentic selves. Here are 5 pieces of Taoist wisdom that can help bring you closer to your true self:


Clear your internal pathways

man doing martial artsThe clearing of the internal pathways can help people treat their trauma
When we experience a traumatic event, we store the memory of the trauma in our bodies. Taoism gives us a framework for how to deal with this trauma and remove it from our bodies, using acupuncture, meditation, and martial arts.

Flow with life rather than against nature

We are one with nature, and nature gives us the wisdom and guidance that we need. Look at the trees outside. When you look at a tree, you see that it is unbothered by the storms it must weather. They just accept whatever life throws at them, even if it’s uncomfortable. This ties into Wu Wei, which Lao Tzu refers to as a state of being, our true essence, and where you find peace, acceptance, and stillness. It’s also where the concept of non-doing comes from. Non-doing is flowing with the essence of life. It is not just sitting there and doing nothing the entire time, but doing nothing once you have completed the conditions for growth. For example, once you have prepared the soil, planted the seed, fertilized it and watered it, you would practice non-doing and let it grow without interference.

Let go

The only sure thing in this life is life, death and change. Once you let go of your resistance to change and accept when things fall apart or die, you will be free of suffering. When we hold on to what isn’t good for us and what is slipping through our fingers, we cause a lot of unnecessary pain for ourselves. We need to let go of our need to control everything, and just let it all go, surrendering it to the universe. ““If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.” -Lao Tzu

Unpeel the layers

As humans, we have many layers. Whatever we want in life that we feel is missing we have inside of us. Our true essence is peace, acceptance, and stillness. In order to get to that layer, you must become free of your ego, which wants to live in the past or the future and not in the now. In order to be free of the ego, you need to invite more flexibility into your life. If you are too rigid, you will never be able to go with the flow.

Find Harmony

green lilypad and pink flower floating in waterIn Taoism, it is important to achieve harmony in our relationships with other people and with ourselves. Harmony can be brought into our lives when we balance the yin (passive, female energy) and the yang (active, male energy.) This duality of the male and female energy are important, because when they are balanced properly, they create harmony. If you have too much of one, you can throw yourself off balance. If you find yourself being too inflexible, soften up with some of that yin energy. If you find yourself being too soft and open and allowing yourself to be taken advantage of, create firmer boundaries by tapping into yang energy. This will create balance and harmony in your life. “Tao engenders One; One engenders Two; Two engenders Three; Three engenders all things. All things carry the yin (femininity) while embracing the yang (masculinity). Neutralizing energy brings them into harmony.” LAO TZU

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Counseling services at Integrative Counsel

Other mental health services Integrative Counsel provides are depression counseling, anxiety counseling, art therapy, improving codependency and boundaries, grief and life transition, accessing your body informed wisdom, and increasing mindfulness and awareness.

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Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.

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