Fifty-Sixth Chapter | Madhu Bazaz Wangu
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Fifty-Sixth Chapter

Fifty-Sixth Chapter

Fifty-Sixth Chapter
Tao-te Ching

He who knows does not talk.
He who talks does not know.

Shut the doors of your body.
Close your mouth.
Blunt your sharpness.
Untie your tangles.
Soften your glare.
Settle your dust.
This is called the secret embrace.

He who knows this secret
is unmoved by attachment or aversion,
not swayed by profit or loss,
or touched by honor or disgrace.
He is far beyond the cares of men.

For this reason he is honored by the world.

As I Understand It:
The first two lines of this chapter have now become a cliché but its message is still meaningful. Yet, this common knowledge is rarely practiced. The highest state of knowing is not command of one’s language or confidence in one’s point of view. It is in silent knowing; the deep silent knowing within that can be felt but not communicated.

Some of us are compelled by our nature to pontificate and persuade our point of view. We believe ours is the best and the right perspective. We are so attached to it that more we talk about it more swayed we get towards it. We force others to listen to how right we are. Lao Tzu says, “Shut your mouth.” Look within and see how much you desire to convince others of your “correct” views. When you go within you start to question your long cherished beliefs.

When we start questioning our views they get replaced by the realization that it does not really matter what others think or say about us in admiration or condemnation. We lose interest in seeking approval. We center in the soft silence and realize that we don’t have to prove anything to anyone.

The irony is that when we cease to care about getting approval, we receive it the most. In silence we listen with compassion to others and ourselves.

In silent knowing we unknot attachments and make ties of love and caring.

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.

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