A Modern Mantra

Be here now.
Connect with the infinite source of wisdom through meditation. Photo: Jake Johnson

By Donna D’Cruz

In the pursuit of a meaningful and fulfilling life, it’s wise to seek guidance from various philosophical traditions that have withstood the test of time. Deeply resonant with me is the transcendent wisdom of the (sixth century B.C.) Tao Te Ching and the elder of the two, the Vedanta, which offers profound insights into the nature of existence and the art of living. When combined with the modern mantra “Life, Be in It,” these ancient wisdom teachings provide a comprehensive framework for navigating life’s challenges and embracing its joys. 

Let’s explore some simple paths to how best to integrate the principles of these philosophies into our daily lives, creating a balance between action and contemplation, presence and purpose. Are you ready? 

Embracing the Present Moment

The essence of “Life, Be in It” lies in the invitation to fully engage with the present moment, to savor the richness of life’s experiences without being consumed by worries of the past or anxieties about the future. This ethos resonates with the teachings of the Tao Te Ching, which emphasize the importance of living in harmony with the natural flow of existence. Written in the Axial Age by Lao Tzu, it still resonates today:

“Be content with what you have;

rejoice in the way things are.

When you realize there is nothing lacking,

the whole world belongs to you.”

These words remind us to focus on the here and now, trusting in the unfolding of life’s journey without clinging to expectations or attachments—a classic invitation to “Be here now.”

Similarly, the ancient Vedanta teaches us the concept of the awareness of existence, consciousness and bliss. Swami Vivekananda, the prominent Indian philosopher, encapsulated this idea beautifully:

“Existence is knowledge,

knowledge is bliss.”

By cultivating mindfulness and self-awareness, we can attune ourselves to Mother Nature and the joy of being alive, of finding fulfillment in each moment.

Cultivating Inner Harmony

Central to the teachings of the Tao Te Ching is the concept of “wu wei,” or effortless action, which involves acting without striving or forcing outcomes. Lao Tzu articulates this principle:

“Act without doing;

work without effort.”

This declaration reminds us to surrender to the flow of life and embrace whatever arises with grace and humility, cultivating inner harmony and resilience.

The Vedanta teaches the importance of self-inquiry and self-realization in attaining true inner peace. Swami Vivekananda elegantly emphasizes:

“Realize your true nature.

That is all there is to do.

Know yourself as you are—infinite, eternal, ever blissful.”

Through practices such as meditation, introspection and contemplation, we can transcend the limitations of the ego and connect with the infinite source of wisdom and love that resides within us all.

By embracing the present moment and surrendering to the flow of life, we can navigate its challenges with grace and equanimity.

Living With Virtue and Integrity

The Tao Te Ching offers a subtle approach to virtue, emphasizing the importance of embodying the harmonious qualities of water: softness, flexibility and adaptability. Lao Tzu writes:

“The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.

Through this I know the advantage of taking no action.”

We can learn to flow with the ever-changing currents of life, responding to challenges with resilience and grace.

Tune in for weekly Dip Into Bliss meditations every Thursday at 5PM with Cristina Cuomo and Donna D’Cruz on Instagram, @donnadcruz1 and @cristinacuomo; donnadcruz.com