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Excerpted from The Tao of Inner Peace by Diane Dreher. Copyright © 2000 by Diane Dreher. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Unable to find a synthesis or consider other alternatives, non-Tao people become trapped in the false dilemma of either/or."

  Diane Dreher, The Tao of Inner Peace, Part 4

Breathe in Peace

We've all been one with Tao, experiencing a deep sense of peace in meditation, communion with nature, or someone we love. When was the last time you had such an experience?

When confronting conflict, we can find peace within by recalling this feeling and concentrating on our breathing.

  • Relax, take a deep breath, and say to yourself as you breathe in, "Breathe in Peace." Breathe in that sense of peace and oneness. Let it flow through your body.
  • Breathe out any negative emotion: fear, confusion, insecurity, whatever is troubling you.
  • When you feel relaxed, affirm "I live in Peace."
  • Then examine the conflict. What would create greater harmony? What would a Tao person do?
  • See yourself as that person, doing whatever it is you need to do. Get a clear vision of the process and feel at peace with the outcome. Affirm to yourself again, "I live in Peace."
  • Now apply your vision and take action, drawing upon the infinite source of peace within.

Avoiding the False Dilemma

For centuries Taoists have seen life as the creative synthesis of two opposing forces, yin and yang. In the Tao Te Ching, all existence is created by this dynamic opposition:

"All life embodies yin
And embraces yang,
Through their union
Achieving harmony."
(Tao Te Ching 42)

Recognizing this principle keeps us from falling into the false dilemma that narrows our choices to either/or: right or wrong, us or them, win or lose, all or nothing.

But all too often our vision is narrowed by the dualism so pervasive in western culture. Our options limited by linear reductionism, we perceive reality as two opposite points on a line. Unable to find a synthesis or consider other alternatives, non-Tao people become trapped in the false dilemma of either/or.

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