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.
First Verse of the Tao Te Ching:
The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal name.
The Tao is both named and nameless.
As nameless it is the origin of all things;
as named it is the Mother of 10,000 things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery;
ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations.
And the mystery itself is the doorway
to all understanding.
There’s a lot more going on than what our ego-minds can understand. Words simply cannot begin to describe the magnificence of who we truly are. We are Divine Beings having a human experience.
Faith is about trusting our connection to Spirit that is constant and unwavering. We cannot possibly fully comprehend the enormity of the Source energy from which we are created (and always remain a part of).
Our feelings of separation from others, our Authentic Selves, and/or God are only illusions. We are Source energy, always connected to each other, our Authentic Selves, and to God (which is All That Is). How can you be separate from all there is? Don’t worry, you can’t. We are always All One.
Words are limited. When we name something, we limit it. This is particularly true when we judge something or someone. If you refer to your spouse as a… [insert colorful explicative] you limit what is a truly limitless and Divine Being, and put them into a small box. Once you’ve done so, they are very limited in how they can show up for you in your life.
We all have unresolved issues that form patterns that are programmed into our subconscious. This programming controls the experiences that we perceive in life. Healing and growth come through resolving these issues and freeing up the programming that creates the patterns.
If we continue to judge your spouse negatively, this means you continue to have an unresolved issue, which means they have to continue to show up in your life according to the pattern you have set. It is only by working on yourself to heal the unresolved issue that you can free others to show up differently, not limited by your patterns.
The bad news is if you fail to take responsibility for how you are judging your spouse, just leaving that relationship will not fix your problems. You will likely attract another mate that aligns with the patterns you have and you will continue to face similar challenges, which will increase in intensity until you work toward healing.
You, your spouse, your kids, and everyone (and everything) ‘else’ is simply Source energy (the Tao) that has been transformed from pure formless potentialility into its current form, but by doing so, it never loses it’s connection with Source (because it is Source, just in form).
Our beliefs are the only things that separate us from experiencing our connection with Source, which isn’t really a connection exactly, since it’s actually what we are.
So, to say it more accurately, our beliefs are what keep us from experiencing ourselves as Source (because we are). Beliefs are simply thought forms that we repeatedly think enough times until they become beliefs. Beliefs can certainly be changed. All beliefs are limited. The belief with the least degree of limitation is, “I Am.” Anything beyond that begins to get quite limited.
The process of spiritual growth is essentially the infinite process of expanding beyond our limited beliefs. By choosing a new, more self-honoring thought on a regular basis, we can begin to reprogram ourselves and move beyond our old patterns.
For instance, instead of a thought like, “My husband is never going to agree to pay me the support I need in order to make ends meet.” You could choose a more self-honoring thought such as, “I am a Divine Being with all the resources I could ever need at my fingertips, and while I am hopeful that my husband will recognize the opportunity he has before him to assume responsibility for his family, I also acknowledge that he is not my only source of abundance in the Universe and I open myself to receive great prosperity while sharing my gifts with the world!”
Once you name something, you judge it, label it, and put it in a box, and by doing so, you have determined its limitations (which are really your own limitations, based on your own beliefs). Source energy (the Tao) comprises everything, both what we can observe in our physical universe and everything unobservable, which is eternal, formless, and infinite.
All things in the physical realm are composed of Source energy (the Tao) and will decompose back into pure Source energy. Thus, Source is the mother of all things, the limitless potential from which all things came, as well as the things themselves. Realizing this fact, we understand that all things shall pass (returning to Source).
Therefore, the pain of separation, the bitterness and anger of your perceived betrayal, the challenging economic consequences of divorce, are all temporary and will pass. When experiencing suffering, which you believe is a result of your situation, it is often helpful to tell yourself, “this too shall pass.”
Our desires for particular outcomes keep us stuck in a world of scarcity and limitation. Our egos make us believe that in order to be happy, we need to have certain material things or have certain people in our lives. The attachment to these desires is what causes suffering.
By practicing nonattachment, we can begin to explore the mystery of what lies beyond. Believing that you can only be happy if you and your spouse stay together, or if you receive a certain amount of support, or get to keep the house, et cetera, reinforces the illusion that you are not already completely connected to all that you could ever desire, which is actually inside of you.
By going within and experiencing the pure joy, unconditional love, peace, and almost unbearable compassion that is your very essence, you can free yourself from the attachments, limitations, and suffering that your limited beliefs have been causing you to experience, up until now.
Letting go of your attachments will free you to reside in your own loving essence and from that place, you experience the limitless, eternal abundance of Source (you).
Love & Light Ahead!
Michael C. Cotugno, Esq.
Conscious Divorce Master Practitioner
M.A. in Spiritual Psychology