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Daoist Tips for the 21st Century - Living Abundantly

by Vicki McKenna(more info)

listed in chinese oriental medicine, originally published in issue 226 - November 2015

The Dao is like a well,
Used but never used up.
It is like the Eternal Void filled with infinite possibilities
It is hidden, but always present
I don’t know who gave birth to it.
It is older than God.

Lao Tzu

Feeling the Pinch

We live in times of austerity with job losses, short term contracts, government cuts to welfare benefits and many of us wonder how we can keep our heads above water and continue to pay the bills. And the stress experienced as people struggle to get by impacts on their health and wellbeing - “Austerity cuts are having a “profoundly disturbing” impact on people’s psychological wellbeing and the emotional state of the nation, hundreds of counsellors, psychotherapists and mental health experts have said in a letter to the Guardian”(The Guardian April 17th 2015).

So how can we attain prosperity and abundance in these lean, penny pinching times?  Daoist philosophy sees hard times as an opportunity to align with and draw on the Dao - that  “well…of infinite possibilities“ bringing us greater wellbeing, abundance and prosperity. There are three crucial ways to help us come into this alignment and prosper: firstly we must simplify our lives to make room for this “well of infinite possibilities”; secondly we need to cultivate the flow of our Chi so that as it becomes more abundant it attracts this infinite abundance to it and thirdly we must learn to use the power of Intention so that we can manifest this well of wealth and opportunity. In these ways we will access the abundance and prosperity that is there for us all.


Vicki McKenna 226 Living Abundantly

Simplifying Life

It is important to recognize that Daoists are not focused on wealth in the material sense -abundance and prosperity are not seen as the accumulation of money and material goods. True abundance and prosperity comes with feeling content with and appreciating our lot - however modest that may be. Having good health with enough food and shelter to meet our basic needs is wealth indeed. If you have a complicated life with much material stuff to care for and much juggling of time and effort involved in looking after it then this will block access to the well of infinite possibilities  and the feelings of pressure and stress will ultimately affect your health and wellbeing. And if you constantly think of what is lacking in your life - anxiously focusing on your debts for example, you will feel very poverty stricken indeed. By keeping life as simple and as uncomplicated as possible and by truly appreciating what you already have so you make room for the well of infinite abundance thus drawing prosperity to you.

Streamline your life, let go of desiring a larger house, the latest model of car, more clothes and instead simply appreciate whatever you already have. Let go of things you no longer use or need - take those clothes that you never wear and those books gathering dust to a car boot sale or charity shop and make room for the abundant well of the Dao.  Make room in your larder -instead of shopping impulsively and accumulating lots of ‘bargains’ that then go to waste, make a list of exactly what groceries you need and stick to it! Always keep in mind that you are not shopping this way because you are struggling to get by - instead you are now making space to keep things clear and simple in your cupboards and in your life.  Simplify and appreciate your life and you will feel more harmonious, in balance, happier. In this way you will begin to have a very present sense of abundance and prosperity and that will attract more of that into your life. 

Enhancing the Chi

By enhancing our Chi - the life force that sustains the web of the cosmos - it becomes more abundant and thus it attracts abundance to it.  We can build Chi or release blocks in stagnating Chi by using esoteric Daoist internal alchemy exercises, but simple Chi Gung exercises or the use of acupuncture can also help the Chi to flourish bringing us into alignment with this well of infinite possibilities. Most important of all is the need to cultivate  an open, yielding attitude - this attitude is a central Daoist principle for enhancing Chi. Like a reed in the wind, if we yield and bend to life’s stresses we can survive and prosper. But if we stay stiff and upright we will snap - and if we are extremely rigid it might only take the slightest breeze or stress to cause that break.

Once you accept and yield to whatever is happening in your life the Chi will flow more freely and abundantly. In this way like then attracts like - abundance will flow towards you from the cosmos. As you release any frustrations or anxieties that you are experiencing and cultivate an attitude of acceptance, so you will then align with a deep sense of release, Chi flows and you will draw abundance and prosperity to you. Here is an exercise to help you open to whatever is going on in your life - do  this daily and you will find your Chi flowing, your energy and happiness increasing  and thus you will have a  very present sense of abundance and prosperity and so invite  more of that into your life.

Acceptance Meditation

Sit comfortably and tune into your body. Feel where there is strain or tightness. Yield towards your tension, accept your discomfort and watch it melt away. If you feel anxious, sad or frustrated, just let the feelings arise and depart. Do not judge or analyze, do not wish things to be different than they are - simply accept your body and mind. Be aware of the sounds and smells of the world around you, but do not cling to anything coming through the senses. Become aware of the inflow and outflow of air through your nose. Continue observing your breath - breathe in and out and just allow yourself to be here now in this present moment. Give yourself 10 or fifteen minutes of this meditation every day and you will be aligning yourself with the well of infinite possibilities. 


The third aspect of drawing abundance and prosperity to us involves Intention. Quantum mechanics already understands that observation affects subatomic particles - if you think they should act or behave in a certain way, they will. If someone else thinks these particles should behave in a different way, they will. In other words it seems that the observer’s attitude, her intention, can affect the physical universe. As described earlier if you constantly think of what is lacking in your life, even though intending to have more, you will feel poverty stricken. If on the other hand you fully and confidently focus on appreciating all that you already have whilst  welcoming growth and change, you will be  intending to affect your environment positively and will thus attract abundance and prosperity into your life. Intention is helped by using focused affirmations such as; “I appreciate all I have and welcome this cycle of change to allow fresh energy, abundance and prosperity into my life”.

With repeated use of this affirmation opportunities will present themselves to create an even more prosperous life. 

I am not suggesting that if we simplify our lives,  cultivate an accepting yielding attitude and use daily intending affirmations, poverty will be magically eradicated but Daoism is a very practical and down to earth philosophy that gives us effortless tools for handling life. As we live simpler more uncluttered lives, focus on cultivating the flow of Chi and use the power of Intention we are then drawing on the well of infinite possibilities. Thus we will feel more empowered, better able to handle the challenging times we live in, more appreciative of all we already have and with this enhanced sense of wellbeing we will find ourselves ready to welcome even more abundance and prosperity into our lives.


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About Vicki McKenna

Vicki McKenna BA Lic Ac trained at The College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in Leamington Spa with Professor Worsley from 1981 gaining her Lic Ac. in 1984 and has been practising acupuncture in Scotland since then. Her book A Balanced Way Of Living; Practical and Holistic Strategies for Coping with Post Polio Syndrome is available from 


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