Governing a big country is like cooking a small fish,
You spoil it with too much poking.
Approach the world with the power of Tao
And evil will have no power.
Although evil is powerful, with Tao in our hearts, it cannot harm us.
It cannot harm and sage too is protected.
If the ruler and his people refrain from harming each other,
The virtue and its benefits will be accumulated in the country.
As I Understand It:
Don’t interfere without, cultivate a sacred space within.
We view the world with fear. If we cultivate an inner awareness, we gain courage. The Tao awareness shields us with an invisible areole. The evil cannot penetrate it. When we stop having fearful and negative thoughts the wicked powers become impotent.
Fear begets more fear and all is destroyed in the end. Let’s not let negative thoughts enter our mind. If we color our inner landscape with thoughts of love and kindness they will saturate our family, community and eventually the whole country with sap of goodness.
This happens when our priorities shift. If we live by the principles of kind thoughts, kind acts and kind words our world changes. From time to time, let’s retreat to that place within that we have cultivated with meditation, spend time in this secret sanctuary. By repeatedly finding solace in the sanctuary we will strengthen our protective shield. Evil may rage around us but it won’t be able to penetrate.
When in the midst of injurious thinking shift your attention to the inner shrine. When you and the Tao are one you can walk freely in the midst of danger.
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.