Imagine a small country with few people.
They have weapons and do not employ them;
they enjoy the labor of their hands
and do not waste time inventing labor saving machines.
They do not travel far.
Since they dearly love their homes.
They are not interested in travel.
Although they have boats and carriages
no one uses them.
They relish their food,
beautify their clothing,
are content with their homes,
and delight in their way of life.
Though they live in the sight of their neighbors,
and crowing cocks and barking dogs can be heard across the way,
they leave each other in peace
while they grow old and die.
As I Understand It:
Lao Tzu dreamed of an idealized society-an ideal agricultural society–in which he lived. With no violence or war, no senseless hatred for other people’s ideologies, no rivalries between nations; a society in which people take pleasure in the basic necessities life: food, shelter and clothing. A society in which there is no need for inventing fancy equipments or ride fancy carriages.
The sage’s dream, with a few modifications, can still be realized but not if we believe that only our ideologies are perfect, not if we’re not self-critical. If we do not escape the vicious cycle of hatred, murder and war and solve disputes in civilized ways our lives would continue to be chaotic. Something is lacking within us. The reason we want to teach or conquer others. Why not go within and make a link with the Tao. The link with this spiritual power heightens awareness.
A heightened awareness helps us find happiness in our homes, the place that sometimes we take for granted-a loving family, cozy home, savory food, comfy clothes, good friends, nice boss. When we are aware of the small blessings, we carry a personal paradise wherever we go until it is time for us to move on.
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.