Eighth Chapter: Tao te Ching
Tao te Ching
The highest good is like water.
Water benefits all things just by being itself.
It flows in lowly places that all disdain.
This is why it is like Tao.
The highest good lives in accordance with nature.
He lives close to the earth.
He loves what is deep and profound.
He is gentle and kind.
He keeps to his words.
He governs with equity.
He handles affairs with competence.
He keeps to timeliness.
The one who lives in accordance with nature,
It is because he moves in harmony to its nature and associations
He flows and lets others flow with freedom.
As I understand it:
Water is a symbol of Tao because just by being itself it teaches us to do highest good. We are of water, depend on water and are surrounded by water. But we do not behave like water. We’re oblivious to its goodness.
Unlike flowers it is colorless.
Unlike perfumes it is odorless.
Unlike animals it is shapeless.
Yet it’s character is of the essence of Tao.
When we try to grasp it, it eludes us. But when we try to experience it – in parched mouths and on dirty skin – it sustains and cleans us.
It finds its way wherever it goes: from rain to rivers to oceans; it merges, evaporates and rains again. It reaches to the lowliest places.
It simply does what it does without being forceful.
It exemplifies humility.
The goodness lies in being unassuming, flowing freely and letting others do what they must.
Lao Tzu, The Way of Lao Tzu, tr. Wing-Tsit Chan, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. 1963.
Dyer, Wayne W., Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of Tao. Hay House, Inc. 2007.