Centuries ago, Lao Tzu walked and taught his simple wisdom around China. There he spoke of the four cardinal virtues, teaching that when we embrace them as a way of life, the truth of the universe reveals itself. The ancient Chinese master said that living and practicing these teachings can open you to higher wisdom and greater happiness.
This is because they bring you closer to your innermost source — a place of balance and peace.
These Four Cardinal Virtues are found in the Tao Te Ching, a collection of sayings expounding the principal Taoist teachings. It has 81 short poetic verses packed full of universal wisdom for politics, society, and personal life, and aims to support personal harmony through the right view and understanding of existence.
This ancient wisdom might seem simple, but it has life-changing implications…
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu
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
“When pure sincerity forms within, it is outwardly realized in other people’s hearts.” -Lao Tzu
Without being authentic, we can’t live harmoniously. Being swayed by outside forces makes us lose sight of who we really are and who we want 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
“Living in the moment brings you a sense of reverence for all of life’s blessings.” -Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu believed that respecting all forms of life was essential for harmony.
All creation and creatures are equally important, and they require equal respect. Trying to dominate and control all life only leads you away from enlightenment; you can’t find peace in the midst of a struggle for control. Besides, a truly spiritual perspective tells us that love is freedom.
“Be supportive. Let go of the ego.” -Lao Tzu
Just like the other virtues, supportiveness applies to everything and everyone, including ourselves. When we help ourselves, it allows us to come from a healthier place and be there for others who might need help along their own path. This comes naturally for everyone, but society — the coldness of adults and our culture — teach us something different. Supporting ourselves and others bring about the highest happiness.