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Fill the Empty Spaces

The 77th verse of the Tao Te Ching suggests thinking about the surpluses we can put back into circulation to decrease deficiencies that exist elsewhere in our world. Lao-tzu asks you and me to put the wisdom of this verse to work in our personal lives by seeing what we have but don’t need as an opportunity to be “Tao people.” Lao-tzu isn’t asking our government, political leaders, or captains of industry, but us personally: “What man has more than enough and gives it to the world?” The answer is, only the man or woman of the Tao. When there are enough of us, there will be a pool from which we Tao-centered people emerge to govern. Then we’ll put into place the way of living offered in this verse.

It’s fairly simple to understand a surplus of money or possessions, but the word actually symbolizes much more. For example, there’s the surplus of joy you feel that you can offer to yourself and your family. Then there’s the excess of intellectual prowess, talent, compassion, health, strength, and kindness you can share with the world. Whenever you see deficiencies in joy, abundance, educational opportunities, perfect health, or sobriety, make your own surpluses available. Lao-tzu urges you to look at what’s deficient and be an instrument of increasing, rather than a collector of more, which marginalizes and divides the oneness that is all of life.

Reduce what’s in excess in your life and then offer it where it can be utilized. Begin with your stuff: clothing, furniture, tools, equipment, radios, cameras, or anything that you have too much of. Don’t sell it; rather, give it away (if you can afford to). Don’t ask for recognition for charitable acts—simply behave in harmony with the Tao by reducing your surplus. Then think about your intangible abundance of health, joy, kindness, love, or inner peace, and seek ways to offer those glorious feelings to those who could benefit from your bounty.

Just as nature fills voids by maintaining the cyclical balance necessary to our world, be an instrument of increasing where you observe deficiencies. Practice giving by dedicating a portion of your earnings to be used to ease deficits, for as Lao-tzu points out, “The master can keep giving because there is no end to his wealth.” If you can’t offer money to those who are less fortunate, say a silent blessing for them. Offer a prayer when you hear an ambulance or police car siren. Look for opportunities to fill the empty spaces in other people’s lives with money; things; or loving energy in the form of kindness, compassion, joy, and forgiveness. Be a man or woman of the Tao!




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Nancy says:

Dear friend Wayne, I have been following your peace since “Real Magic” and once again you pop in when I feel a need for peace. To find this websie is my blessing for this day
Namaste: Nancy


Before the last 5 minutes to going to sleep (I review positive affirmations of the days events), I ask myself. What have I learned? How have I helped? What have I given? Serving God and giving less importance to my ego has made me happier. I have more inner peace.


Wayne consider lecturing to medical students and doctors. We have tremendous ego. We definitely need your help. The Shift should be a required movie to see for medical licensing. Funny, some doctors need to shift from ego to serving God by helping people get healthier.


You”re and excellent roll model . I am a doctor. My patients receive more healing from 4 minutes of listening,offering hope and shaking their hand then any prescription I may offer them. The positive human interaction I give my patients does more to get my patients better then any drug.

Rethnea says:

As you travel on the true path of your soul you come to appreciate that being generous is not defined exclusively by the act of giving money.

Being generous is about sharing the infinite abundance of love, compassion and understanding which your spirit is endowed with.

hernan says:

Thank you, Wayne. I have read your books and watched you on PBS and in person at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, I have gained so much wisdom for your generous mind and heart.

Luke says:

Denise, regarding a “turnkey system for giving to food banks,” the Garden Writers Association has a 10-year-old program called Plant a Row for the Hungry, which fosters donations of fresh produce from gardeners to food banks. To learn more, visit http://www.gardenwriters.org, then click on Plant a Row.

Fern says:

What a wise and inspirational teacher you have been for many. I get it ! I cannot think of any better way to live out 2010 than to become a “Tao person” each and every day. An idea whose time is NOW. Thank you

Heidi says:


j-NJ says:

despite the “weakened” economy, once the decision to pay a dear friends taxes( who for the now has been unable) the universe provided the financial means to do so effortlessly
i was/am literally like a neonate “testing 1,2,3…testing 1,2,3…wow this really works! 😉

yes abundance share it freely it is truely unlimited
Blessed be

elizabeth says:

to go on: To have appeared in my life in each and every time of need, unwittingly holding my hand through times of such pain to remind me of who I am, is a gift of yourself beyond measure. Thank you and God bless.

elizabeth says:

Over the last ten years, you have appeared miraculously at times of need, speaking of the truths I’ve known but forgotten or misplaced somewhere along the way. To divest oneself of unnecessary things and to give unthinkingly is a life of true grace.

Kyle Beckwermert- L says:

Were all here to remind eachother of where we came from, whether it be through a simple smile or a friendly hello. Let us always remind one another of our true nature “no tree has branches so foolish, as to fight among themselves”

melissa says:

He shows u love, guidance, forgiveness, and gives u everything u need. So u should give to other and do for others like God does for u “Do unto other as u would have them do unto u” Help peolpe the way u pray to God to help u Even if it just saying a pray, giving a hug or smiling at someone

melissa says:

There are alway people out there worse off then u r. If u can help them with clothes, food , or just maybe words of wisdom. You can introduce them to our heavenly father God, or teach them evertday knowledge. some ppl arent blessed like u. . Share your love, give a hug or tell u love them

Denise says:

Our nation’s food banks are challenged. In a Nov NY Times article, the writer reported that the # of people who go hungry is @ a 16-year high & food banks can’t meet the need due to lack of donations. I’d like to organize sharing around US. Any ideas from group on what a turnkey system for giving to food banks might look like?

Donna says:

I have learned that true happiness is not what you have but what is in your heart. Thank you for your wonderful wisedom

Dennis says:

Janet, what is the name of that non-profit you mentioned that accepts those books?

Odilia Carmen says:


Tonysha says:

This is so inspirational! Dr. Dyer, you have positively changed my life. I actually feel that I am in control of my life and I am showing others that they can be as well. Thank You so much!!!

Patricia says:

“Tao people” is a very profound concept. More profound that we can imagine.

Janet Pfeiffer says:

My favorite surplus to pass along is kindness. As a counselor at a battered women’s shelter, I deal with angry, violent, cynical women. I truly love them and shower them with kindness and understanding. It’s a slow process but in time most of them soften and respond with gratitude and respect. This verse of the Tao is powerful!

Janet Pfeiffer says:

Years ago, you mentioned you gave away your entire book collection. I swore I would never part with mine. That week, I read of a non profit that donates self-help books to prisoners. I knew I was meant to pass mine along to others who could benefit as I did. The experience was both painful and rewarding. But I don’t regret it for a moment.

Valerie says:

Living simply is more challenging than is sounds. I’ve found that using a daily quote is an effective way to quiet a noisy mind. And doing something tangible, and being hospitable, sharing home and hearth, not only warms our own hearts but lights the fire in the hearts of those we touch.

Karin says:

There is a proverb “the empty vessel sounds much”. A person who is content within is a true yogi and will resonate joy, love and compassion to others.

Chantal Beaupre -- Quebec (Canada) says:

With this very post, I fully realize how prosperous and abundant my life actually is – and it’s not only about money! Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom. My turn now to pay it forward!

Dennis says:

Perceiving lack in others is but a denial of lack in oneself. Shuffling goods to remedy endless deficiencies is a noble demonstration of “oneness” from the ego’s perspective, and insures the continuance of a world that depends on lack, separation, and loss, for its existence. On the other hand, this house-clutter is driving me nuts!

Ann says:

A great way to give things you have too much of is http://www.freecycle.org Once joined, it is easy to list what you want to give away and arrange for the pick up. I use the service to give outgrown but still usable clothes, electronics, and other items. It clears my home and give a bit of happiness to someone else.