The 17th verse of the Tao Te Ching is titled “Living as an Enlightened Leader” by Wayne Dyer.
The “17th Verse in Action” Challenge
Actually living the verses of the Tao is proving a bigger challenge than I expected it to be. Or maybe it’s not a bigger challenge than I thought it might be, I’m just now facing the reality of how big it was to take on, especially when I want to also write about my experiences as I go!
I have been using Wayne Dyer’s “Do the Tao Now” parts of each verse in Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, and/or using parts of what Dr Dyer writes in the essay on each verse.
Leadership in our daily lives
The challenge for the 17th verse is to look at how you lead in your everyday life.
Now, you may not consider yourself a leader, but I can guarantee you are.
If you are a parent, you are a leader for your children. Or you may be a leader in the workplace, in your family, in your friendships or just in life in general – as a customer at the supermarket!
If you are a partner, family member, friend, or community member (ie human being!) you are a leader in that relationship – whether you feel like one or not.
YOUR words and behaviour make a difference in every relationship you are in.
Look at your online relationships too.
What is your style of leadership in all areas of your life? Is it dominating? Is it passive? Is it manipulative? Is it gentle guidance? Is it a mix of lots of things? (mine is!)
The old adage “lead by example” is what we’re looking at here. What example are you giving to others, and is that the way you want others to also treat you, or are there some changes you see you could make in order to be a better ‘leader’/example?
Wayne Dyer suggests:
“Examine the ways you view your own tactics, and then make the changes that are necessary in order to be someone who makes an enlightening difference in the lives of others. First, you must stay in the background and become an astute observer of what’s taking place; then ask yourself how, without interfering, you can create an environment that will help everyone act responsibly.
“The Tao advises making yourself as invisible as possible if you truly wish to be an effective leader. Thus, perhaps your best strategy would be to actually leave the room and allow everyone else to act without feeling that they need to impress you. Maybe you should offer a slight suggestion and then an immediate departure. A knowing smile or gesture that conveys to the group that you trust in its ability to figure things out might work best. Possibly what’s needed is for you to tell a quick story of how others have resolved similar issues. Or you could simply meditate and send positive conflict-resolving energy to all the individuals present” (pp. 77-78)
I find this whole essay on the 17th verse extremely useful in a practical sense, so have a read of it and see what calls to you most to take on.