You’ve often heard me say that the Tao is filled with paradox. In the 59th verse of the Tao Te Ching, for example, we find what looks like the paradoxical idea that a no-limits life begins with self-control, moderation, and thrift. Living in thrift and moderation means being in harmony with the world through your generous nature. Be one who accumulates a warehouse full of virtue by living in accordance with the Tao. When virtue is what you have to give away, you’ll naturally be more moderate, humble, and less demanding. Feel joyful knowing that the example you’re setting is helping others make the right choices, too. Practice living without limits by gathering virtue.
For years I practiced gathering virtue without realizing it. I sent hundreds of thousands of books to individuals and organizations at my own expense, getting into the habit of beginning each day with this act of love. I spent a great deal of time giving away much of what I earned, almost all of it anonymously. I didn’t realize it at the time, but what I was doing was accumulating virtue, or what I facetiously call “God points.”
I then found that not all of my life was to be peaks and mountaintops. Yet when I succeeded in getting out from under what felt like a mountain, I was virtually unscathed. This is because I was so deeply rooted and firmly planted in the Tao that my original vision was to be a lasting one, impervious to external circumstances.
Change the way you look at your life by moderating your ego. See yourself as a being who gives rather than collects, and live on what you need rather than practicing conspicuous consumption. You’ll begin to see that your purpose has more to do with Tao consciousness than ego directives. When you moderate your demands and use only what you and your family require, you’ll gather virtue points by serving rather than accumulating. Lao-tzu reminds us that this is “the secret of long life and lasting vision.”
Make a commitment to gather five virtue points today. Imagine how the Divine Source must be operating in order to maintain the creation cycles of life, and do five things that match up to it. Pick up a piece of someone else’s trash, which is an example of excess; anonymously give a gift to someone in need; or perform any other actions that help you accumulate virtue and remain deeply rooted in the Tao.