The source of the universe is the Mother.
He who knows the source discovers the ten thousand things.
He who discovers the ten thousand things and holds on to the Mother,
He is free from danger.
Close the mouth.
Guard the senses.
And life will be peaceful.
Open the mouth.
Meddle with people’s affairs.
And life will be hopeless.
See small, see clearly.
Be flexible, be strong.
See the radiance and save yourself misfortune.
This is called the practice of eternal light.
As I Understand It:
Lao Tzu has symbolized the Tao as water, deep valley or, mother, as in this chapter. He says that human life, from birth to death, is not a straight line. What lies before our physical existence and after, is a mystery having maternal qualities. Like a mother, it sustains us throughout our lives. But unlike a mother, we cannot feel it with our senses.
To feel its presence, we need to spend a few moments with it each day. We need to communicate with it in silence and acknowledge its presence. Once acquainted with it, we change the way we look at the world around and within.
To feel its presence, we must shut our mouths and seal our ears so that we do not indulge in petty words-spoken and heard. When our mouths are closed and our ears open, our Tao is established. We look beyond appearances and watch our spirit unfold. We start paying attention to small things and our vision clarifies. We abandon rigidity and our resolve strengthens.
In silence and solitariness we experience the freedom that was ours before we were born and will be ours after we die. When the Tao is established, the world feels blissful with the maternal mystery. Our life is one with never-ending radiance.
Dyer, W. Wayne. Change Your Thought–Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao. Hay House, Inc. 2007.
The Way of Lao Tzu (Tao-te Ching), Translated, with introductory essays, comments, and notes by Chan, Wing-Tsit. The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. 1963.