What is “Good”?

When the Tao is forgotten goodness and piety appear.

Verse #18 from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.

In this verse we are asked to take a different look at what is meant by goodness. When someone is centered within the Tao, they don’t have to act good and pious; they just are. They don’t have to think about acting in a “good” way. The actions and thoughts of a person centered in the Way just arise easily and effortlessly from their higher self and those actions are ones that encourage and benefit the world around them.

In this verse of the Tao, we are shown that when people are not centered in the Tao, they act good and victorious. They may do this because they believe that it is the right thing to do or because there is a consequence if they do not. The actions of someone centered in the Tao may look exactly the same as those who are not centered within it, but they are different on a spiritual level. It is the difference between an act and being. It is the difference between thoughts and impulse. If your first impulse is to support and benefit those around you, those impulses arise from your Tao centered self. If your first thought is not of support and yet you do it anyway because you know it is the right thing to do, your actions look as if they are centered within the Tao, but you are not. When someone is completely centered in the Tao they are not “acting;” their actions arise without thought from the depths of their higher self.

Actions are a great way to bridge the gap between being centered in the Tao and not being centered in the Tao. They develop the habit of goodness, the habit of the thoughts of goodness, which will then lead to the being of goodness. If, as you do these “good” actions, you repeat to yourself, or out loud, “I am centered within the Tao in this moment,” you will affirm to yourself that these action connect you to the Tao. Repeated actions and affirmations create a connection in your brain which will then open the door to that deeper connection to the Tao. It will then lead to your first impulses being those of a Tao centered person, ones of goodness and piety without the need for rules and consequences to do what is true to the Tao. Then your actions arise easily and effortlessly from the Tao because you are centered within it.


In love and light,



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