Fifteenth Chapter: Tao Te Ching
Of old those who were the best rulers were subtly mysterious and profoundly penetrating; too deep to comprehend.
And because they cannot be comprehended,
I can only describe them arbitrarily:
Cautious, like crossing a frozen stream in the winter,
Being at a loss, like one fearing danger on all sides,
Reserved, like one visiting,
Supple and pliant, like ice about to melt.
Genuine like a piece of uncarved wood,
Open and broad, like a valley,
Merged and undifferentiated, like muddy water.
Who can make muddy water gradually clear through tranquility?
Who can make the still gradually come to life through activity?
He who embraces this Tao does not want to fill himself to overflowing.
It is precisely because there is no overflowing that he is beyond wearing out and renewal.
As I understand it:
Stop! Don’t rush!
Don’t be the assertive manager of your life!
You’ve been told to go after your desires.
You can’t help living a hurried life.
The sage has no hurry.
He is relaxed, yet alert.
He flows with his surroundings and is so relaxed that things around him gradually settle.
The stillness results in clarity around him and within him.
When things go according to our plan for a long time, it works as a deception.
We must remain alert to painful awakenings,
For things happen that we have not imagined.
Let go of demands; trust in the perfect unfolding of the Tao.
The state of stillness is like an uncarved block.
It has unlimited potential.
But creation takes its own time.
The sprout, hidden beneath the surface of the ground, waits to emerge and unfold its destiny.
Dream all that you’d like to experience in life and then let go.
Allow the dreams to come to you in order and in time.
Don’t rush or force anything. Give up struggling.
All you imagine will be provided in an unhurried fashion.
Little luck and focused hard-work indeed do come together
To create a tangible sense of stability and peace.
But ultimately we’re not in charge.
What is ours will come to us in time when we’re not struggling to get it.
Make stillness the daily part of your practice.
Let go of hurried thoughts.
Trust the eternal wisdom that flows through you.
Give thanks for all that you have and all that is flowing into your life.
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.