Home » Blogs » Mindfulness and Psychotherapy » Why Endings are Really Beginnings: Tao Te Ching

Why Endings are Really Beginnings: Tao Te Ching

Here is Mondays Mindful Quote with the Tao Te Ching:

“Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings.”

Underlying this quote is an important message that often times the mind is too quick to fully grasp.

“Yeah, yeah,” it says, “one door closes another one opens, I get it.”

No, no…take 20 seconds right now after you read this next sentence to become present. Close your eyes, notice your body, notice how you’re feeling and become aware of your breathing. Go ahead and do this now before continuing.


“Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings.” ~ Tao Te Ching

We might look at this quote and see an important message to any of us who are struggling with a current situation where it seems like the end is at hand; whether this is a job, a relationship, or even the death of a loved one. We might see that it’s asking us to look beyond the ending and see that inevitably there is something new that is about to be in front of us.

But this isn’t relegated to large events like the examples above. As soon as you finish reading this post, there is a new beginning, a new opportunity to engage life in the way that aligns with your values.

Yes, that’s right, every moment we become present is a “choice point.” Because our minds have an automatic negativity bias, we’re likely to recognize most of these choice points during difficult times.

Choice points lie all around us, but because we’re inclined to live in a state of auto-pilot, we don’t recognize these choices, the spaces between the stimulus and response.

I would argue that in the moment we become present and wake up to the automatic reactivity that is happening in our minds, we sit in a space, and as soon as that happens, that may be an ending and what follows is a new beginning to that moment that with awareness, we can choose a different response and influence a new unfolding of life.

Here’s an example. When the mind is nagging, we automatically judge it as bad and then become frustrated which kicks the mind into “fix it” mode to try and get away from the nagging mind. What we find is that this automatic process only adds aggravation to a nagging mind and it turns into a splitting headache. Another scenario might be noticing this reaction occurring and recognizing in that space is a new beginning. An opportunity to notice how this frustration manifests in the body and just explore the sensation as if it was the first time you noticed it. What this does is interrupts the cycle and feeds kindness and gentleness into you instead of warring factions.

There are lots of examples like this.

However, easier said than done of course. That is why it’s important to practice becoming present and being aware of these spaces so that when difficulty arises, it’s more on the tip of your mind.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Why Endings are Really Beginnings: Tao Te Ching

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.

4 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2010). Why Endings are Really Beginnings: Tao Te Ching. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 10, 2018, from


Last updated: 2 Aug 2010
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Aug 2010
Published on All rights reserved.