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Step 4: One who understands himself has wisdom.

Principle: Courage

The 33rd verse of the Tao is asking us to discover who we really are; and how we affect others. What is the quality of our relationships with family, friends, community and Earth? How are our actions impacting others? Are our actions congruent with our values and beliefs or are we acting out of alignment with our inner core belief system? Do we spend more time apprising others than we do evaluating and scrutinizing ourselves? The 33rd verse is asking us to be responsible for our actions.

Text or Verse

One who understands others has knowledge;
one who understands himself has wisdom.
Mastering others requires force;
mastering the self needs strength.

If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.

One who gives himself to his position surely lives long.
One who gives himself to the Tao surely lives forever.
33rd Verse
Tao Te Ching

He who can totally sweep clean the chalice of himself can carry the inborn nature of others to its fulfillment; getting to the bottom of the nature of men one can then understand the nature of material things, and this understanding of the nature of things can aid the transforming and nutritive powers of Earth and heaven and raise man up to be a sort of third partner with heaven and Earth.


  1. The next time you are anxious, hurt, frustrated or resentful about something which happened "to" you, shift your focus from the other person to yourself.
  2. Allow yourself to fully feel these emotions. And at the same time, take ownership of these feelings, realizing they are yours.
  3. Remind yourself that you have a choice - you can stay in these feelings by recycling through the events which triggered them, or you can replace your present thinking with "new " thoughts.
  4. Use your breath to begin to clear your head and your heart. Take 10 cleansing breaths- breathe out the feeling(s) and breathe in calm, peace and serenity.
  5. Recognize that no one has power over you. You can choose your perceptions, your feelings, your attitudes, your thoughts and your actions.
  6. It's also important to check "your side of the street" to ascertain what are you accountable for in the event. Do you need to "own" anything, and if so, do you need to make anything right with another in order to fully let the event go?
  7. Allow your judgments of the other to be replaced with some positive quality or gratitude for the other.
  8. Allow the power of the Tao to flow through you, cleansing your Spirit and your intentions.


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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