Sixteenth Verse of the Tao Te Ching:

Become totally empty.
Let your heart be at peace.
Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings,
observe how endings become beginnings.
Things flourish, each by each,
only to return to the Source…
to what is and what is to be.
To return to the root is to find peace.
To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny.
To fulfill one’s destiny is to be constant.
To know the constant is called insight.
Not knowing this cycle
leads to eternal disaster.
Knowing the constant gives perspective.
This perspective is impartial.
Impartiality is the highest nobility;
the highest nobility is Divine.
Being Divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
This way is everlasting,
not endangered by physical death.
Author’s Commentary:

It’s almost like Lao Tzu specifically had divorce in mind when he wrote this verse. There could hardly be more perfect advice for those experiencing the challenges of divorce than what is offered in this verse of the Tao Te Ching.

Lao Tzu is encouraging us to simply let it all go. All the positions, arguments, frustrations, and upsets… just surrender them and become totally empty, at peace.

Take a deep breath… now another, deeper breath… and finally a third breath as deep as you can manage.  Let it out and let go of everything you’ve been holding on to.  Feel the emptiness.

If the emptiness feels sad, know that it’s only temporary.  Everything in our Universe happens in cycles.  We think of time as linear, but that’s an illusion.

Patterns repeat, but not as a closed loop, but rather as an eternally uplifting spiral. The more we are able to consciously observe these cycles, the more impartial we’re able to become.

If we stay stuck viewing life as a series of injustices happening “to us”, this leads to eternal disaster.

Change is truly the only constant.  Attachment to how things are, or how you think they should be, locks you into constant cycles of upset.  It’s not until you can let go of those attachments that you’re able to actually see the patterns.  When you can see the bigger picture, you can let your heart be at peace and know whatever challenge is present will become a learning as it resolves… and it will, as soon as you let it.

While all this change is constantly swirling around you, at your center there is stillness.  Return to that stillness and you will find peace.  I believe this to be our primary objective as human beings.  The rush of worldly comings and goings is an illusion, a construct, created by us (the Tao) simply for the experience.

You might ask, “Why would I create his horrible experience of divorce, custody battles, financial struggle, etc?”  You might think, “I would never voluntarily do this to myself.”

I believe we think that because we don’t see what’s waiting on the other side when we finally step back and observe ourselves with some impartiality.

All problems come prepackaged with the solution.  No matter what type of problem we find ourselves in, the solution is always there and the point is to change your perspective so you can see that the solution was always there.  Many describe this very experience as an epiphany.  I see it as a transcendence to a higher level (perspective) of consciousness (awareness).

If all of your energy is devoted to the rush of worldly activity, it’s like you’re being battered by the high winds and rain of a hurricane.  But, if you can make the internal shift to the peaceful eye of the storm, you can gain peace and perspective.  This perspective is balanced and centered.  It is how you connect with your Higher, Authentic Self, which is Divine.

From the perspective of your Authentic Self, all things are possible because you can see your eternal, infinite nature.

From this perspective, you can see that the details and challenges of your divorce are there to support you in waking up to a new perspective.  Better yet, a whole new way of being.

Our “problems” are the catalyst, pushing us to a higher perspective, but we have to say yes.  We have to let go of the heavy things that weigh us down and keep us at our lower perspectives, caught up in the rush.

Close your eyes, breathe deeply, connect with your inner stillness and know that your upset over the endings of one phase of your life is just part of the cycle leading to the beginning of a new, wonderful phase of greater knowing, deeper peace, and greater joy.

Love & Light Ahead!

Michael C. Cotugno, Esq.
Conscious Divorce Attorney & Coach
M.A. in Spiritual Psychology