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Step 10: Be poised and centered in the midst of all activities.

Principle: Perseverance

The 26th verse of the Tao advises us how to maintain serenity in the midst of any circumstance. The source of this serenity comes from within and is therefore always available. The essence of the truth in this verse is that circumstances don't determine our emotions and actions unless we allow them, the power of choice resides within us. The challenge is always to maintain a state of stillness and calm even in the midst of chaos. This paradoxical balance is symbolized by the opposing energies of the yin and yang. This practice will develop the skills of self-mastery within us. The Tao states that when we allow ourselves to be "blown to and fro" by the changing circumstances in our lives, we are no longer centered by our root and we become restless and vulnerable.

Text or Verse

The heavy is the root of the light.
The still is the master of unrest.

Realizing this, the successful person is poised and centered
in the midst of all activities; although surrounded by opulence,
he is not swayed.

Why should the lord of the country flit about like a fool?
If you let yourself be blown to and fro,
you lose touch with your root.
To be restless is to lose one's self-mastery.
26th Verse
Tao Te Ching

The honest man looks into himself and in his daily acts maintains constant respect to his given word that his deeds fall not below it. If he has failed in something, he dare not slacken in the attempt toward it; if he has erred, he dare not carry the error to the extreme; his words accord with his acts and his conduct with his words as one who turns to compare them with scruple. The essence of honesty is that it springs from the heart.


  1. The next time you find yourself feeling anxious and unsettled make a decision to find the stillness within in order to change your feeling(s).
  2. Take between 5 and 10 deep, cleansing breaths to clear your mind and allow your body muscles to relax into the out breaths.
  3. Turn your attention to other pleasurable thoughts or repeat a prayer or mantra that is comforting and centering. Some people find classical or instrumental music helpful to change the intensity of their energy.
  4. At some later time during the day (during the 10th Step examination of the day) review how this process worked and what changes might be necessary in the future to adopt it as a practice of self-mastery.


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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