The things that originated from the Tao:
The clear sky is whole.
The firm earth is whole.
The spirit is whole.
The myriad things are whole and so is the country.
When kings and rulers interfere with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy,
the earth becomes depleted,
the spirits loses balance,
creatures become extinct.
Therefore, nobility is rooted in humility,
Loftiness is based in lowliness.
This is why kings and barons feel unworthy and lonely.
Parts of chariots are useless,
unless they work in accordance with the whole.
An individual life brings nothing,
unless lived in accordance with the whole universe.
Too much honor means no honor.
It is not wise to shine like the jade
or sound like stone chimes.
As I Understand It:
This chapter eulogizes the great dance of the universe that is orchestrated by each and every non-living and living being.
Lao Tzu insists that the universe is in a state of oneness, complete in itself. But when we act as individuals without consideration for all we dirty the air, deplete the earth, destroy species and lose our sense of balance.
People of means, amongst us, feel lonely. Their ego insists that they are separate and superior but only by becoming aware of our place in the universe can we become whole and healthy again. Humility changes our perspective.
Feel connected to all life. Reject the concept of “them” verses “us.” This way you will begin to enjoy the happiness that may have eluded you until now. Too much shine and sound is no honor.
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.