When rulers eat too much tax grain
When the government is too intrusive
people lose their spirit.
If the government acts for people’s benefit, leaves them alone and trusts them people’s lives become valuable.
As I Understand It:
Lao Tzu voiced the deprived and the oppressed. During his lifetime the Chinese rulers imposed burdensome taxation on the ordinary people. They kept the tax money and flaunted their good fortune. Ultimately the masses lost their spirit and rebelled.
The sage wanted rulers and officials to leave people alone. Even now, this teaching works at home as well as workplace. Those in power must not take advantage of their subordinates. Trust those under your charge. Too much interference makes people lose respect for and distrust authority.
Allow the people to follow their own path. For they have their own happiness to pursue. Also, be less demanding of yourself. Take a break from all that occupies your mind–from repeated chores and routine responsibilities. Allow yourself some time off.
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.