God Delighted by Susan Telford

Oct 25, 2022

In the Evolve Book Group, we are studying Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching (TTC), along with Byron Katie’s 1000 Names for Joy. In each chapter of 1000 Names, Katie comments on, and gives her understanding of the corresponding chapter of TTC. 

One of the chapters we contemplated this week is 23:

Express yourself completely, 

then keep quiet. 

Be like the forces of nature: 

when it blows, there is only wind; 

when it rains, there is only rain; 

when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.


If you open yourself to the Tao, 

you are at one with the Tao 

and you can embody it completely. 

If you open yourself to insight, 

you are at one with insight 

and you can use it completely. 

If you open yourself to loss, 

you are at one with loss 

and you can accept it completely.


Open yourself to the Tao, 

then trust your natural responses; 

and everything will fall into place.

What does this ancient wisdom have to tell us about how to live today? 

Start to notice if you have a tendency, when you have something to say, to strive to get your point across. 

What is it in you that wants to keep on saying it? Is there a self that wants to perpetuate itself by telling the same story over and over again?

What is the “story of me” you tell yourself and others? 

The TTC advises express yourself completely/then keep quiet”.

Who/what is the self that wants to keep telling the story, perhaps because it never expresses itself completely?

What is it, that having said everything it wants to say, is able to rest back into silence and be like the forces of nature”, completely present, surrendered to what is? 

When difficult feelings arise, do you tend to repress them and want them to go away? When they are felt and allowed to release, they do not stick, rather they blow through. Without any clinging to a story, there is a deep knowing that everything passes and that all is well. As Byron Katie says, “Without our stories, all of us are pure love.”

As you “open yourself to the Tao”, without resistance, you allow yourself to flow with what is unfolding around you, at one with the way of it. You start to experience yourself being breathed, being moved, being guided by Life.  

“If you open yourself to insight”, everything you need to know will be given to you when you need it and you will be able to use what is given in the moment freely, trusting that inner wisdom is dynamic and responsive and always available at the exact moment it is needed. 

“If you open yourself to loss”, you will see that apparent loss is part of the unfolding of the illusion and in the words of A Course in Miracles,

“Nothing real is threatened 

Nothing unreal exists 

Herein lies the peace of God.”

To “open yourself to the Tao” is simply to live as your true self, accepting all things exactly as they are, trusting that the infinite intelligence that turns acorns into oak trees, spins the planets and beats your heart, is able to guide you.

You come to see that this is not some elusive future state, that is only gained through years of practice and mastery. The Tao is who you are, your natural state, here, now.

As you surrender to your true nature, your innate qualities of joy, peace, love and intuition are revealed and you learn that you can trust your “natural responses and everything will fall into place.”

Then you will find yourself as Byron Katie describes,

“This one I happen to be doesn’t have to look like anything but what it is. It can afford to be a fool- it doesn’t know anything but love. It’s God delighted. It comes to take the mystery and importance out of everything. It takes the push and the time out of it”.



In her work for the Teachers of God Foundation, Susan’s roles include Project Manager for The Integrated Awakening Series, Evolve Community Manager and host of the Integrating Spiritual Awakening in Everyday Life segment of  The Awareness Podcast.

Susan is an ordained interfaith minister and a spiritual coach and mentor in private practice. Learn more about Susan at www.susantelford.com.

Susan has published a collection of original poetry, An Endless Namaste: Poems of Awakening.