Approximately 2,500 years ago, Lao-tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching’s 81 verses, which many regard as profound guidance on how to live one’s life in harmony with nature. Conscious Divorce Attorney and Coach, Michael Cotugno has interpreted the Tao Te Ching in the hopes of assisting readers in realizing a healing, peaceful, and ultimately enlightening experience of divorce or separation.

Second Verse of the Tao Te Ching:

Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty,
only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.
Being and nonbeing produce each other.
The difficulty is born in the easy.
Long is defined by short, the high by the low.
Before and after go along with each other.
So the sage lives openly with apparent duality
and paradoxical unity.
The sage can act without effort
and teach without words.
Nurturing things without possessing them,
he works, but not for rewards;
he competes, but not for results.
When the work is done, it is forgiven,
That is why it lasts forever.
Author’s Commentary:

In physical world reality there exists contrast. We know what we like by experiencing what we don’t like. We can only appreciate a ‘good’ relationship because we’ve experienced ‘bad’ relationships.

Everything that exists within the contrast is for our learning, our spiritual evolution. If everything in your life was exactly how you’d like it to be, the perfect job, the perfect spouse, the perfect kids, et cetera, there would be no incentive for growth.

Without contrast the spiritual evolution of the Universe would cease. By seeing the world from the perspective of being in a wondrous learning environment, it becomes much easier to accept the way things are. If you never get to experience what it is that you don’t want, how will you know what you do want?

The conflict you might see in your relationship with your spouse is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn, heal, and grow. Only by embracing the contrast can you begin to see the beauty (perfection) in everything.

In creating the form that is experienced as our physical world reality, Source (the Tao) limits Itself by assuming form and takes on polarities, which we observe as duality. We see things as good or bad, right or wrong, beautiful or ugly, but from the perspective of the Tao (Spirit), there is no duality, only learning opportunities for us here in human form.

The wise person sees life from this perspective and understands that getting upset ‘because’ of what their spouse does (or doesn’t do) addresses the issue on the level of the conflict and simply adds to the sum total of the upset on the planet.

Instead, the wise person observes the action (or inaction) of their spouse and accepts the reality of what is, surrendering the need to resist, takes complete responsibility for their own emotional state, and looks for creative solutions to resolve the situation positively, having learned something from it.

The wise person does not take up a position of againstness or righteousness, but chooses to accept the situation. This does not require that they condone the activities or behavior of their spouse. There is no spiritual law that requires you to like any particular situation, but in order to outgrow the challenge one must first let go of their resistance to what is and move into acceptance.

From a place of acceptance, you can move with the flow of the Tao and from here the action steps that can bring about positive change are accessible and no longer masked by your upset. With the clarity that comes with acceptance, the way out of the unpleasant circumstance will reveal itself.

When you are immersed in the conflict of duality, i.e., making your spouse wrong, yourself wrong, your kids wrong, et cetera, peaceful solutions seem unattainable and remain hidden from your view. It’s only when you can rise above the murky tumult that you are able to see the path of least resistance.

The wise person who sees from this higher perspective knows the right course of action, but does not become attached to any results associated with pursuing the best course of action, for they know that it is the journey that is its own reward.

Rising above the turmoil, you are experiencing in your marriage and moving toward peace may not produce the results you expected or intended, but by leaving room for Spirit (the Tao) to surprise you, you may end up with something much greater than you could have previously imagined.

The wise person does not keep score along the way. Taking the high road does not earn you points if you’re keeping track and using them against an opponent.

We are all doing the best we can with what we know. We are all doing the work that is necessary for each one of us to grow spiritually and expand our awareness of who we are and where we fit in. It’s not a competition. We will all graduate from this earth school at some point and we should never assume we know how close or how far anyone else is to doing so

By keeping score, you negate others and yourself. By letting go of the judgments about your spouse, your kids, or yourself you free yourself to rise up above the turbulent and muddied waters to enjoy the incredible view that life has to offer as you float effortlessly downstream.

Love & Light Ahead!


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