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Step 2: Knowing ignorance is strength, ignoring knowledge is sickness.

Principle: Hope

The 71st verse of the Tao touches the heart of the paradox of addiction and recovery in the words "only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick." It is only when we become fully aware that we are sick in mind, body and spirit that we can cease to be sick, because only when we are equipped with this knowledge are we ready to consider changing the fundamental cause. Knowledge provides us strength, ignorance of the truth perpetuates our dis-ease. When we experience dis-ease in mind, body or spirit it is because some aspect of our life is out of balance. The next step is to identify where we are living in excess and what is being ignored as a consequence.

Text or Verse

Knowing ignorance is strength.
Ignoring knowledge is sickness.

Only when we are sick of our sickness
shall we cease to be sick.
The sage is not sick but is sick of sickness;
that is the secret of health.
71st Verse
Tao Te Ching


  1. Examine your daily routine and identify where there are excesses. Are you eating to excess, drinking alcohol to excess, watching TV or playing video games to excess?
  2. How do we define excess (exceeding sufficient limits)? Any activity is excessive if, as a result, we are neglecting other areas of life. Are their negative consequences to ourselves or others?
  3. What changes are you willing to make to bring all aspects of your life into balance?


Dyer, Dr. Wayne. Change your Thoughts, Change your Life. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2007.

Lao Tzu. trans. by Stephen Mitchell. Tao Te Ching: A New English Version.


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