A few reflections from the Tao Te Ching….
*Simplicity, Patience, and Compassion:*
I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and in thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.
Acceptance: Do you want to rule the world and control it? I don’t think it can be done. The world is a sacred vessel and cannot be controlled. You will only make it worse if you try. Some are meant to lead, and others are meant to follow; some must always strain, and others have an easy time; some are naturally big and strong, and others will always be small; some will be protected and nurtured, and otherw will meet with destruction. The Master accepts things as they are, and out of compassion avoids extravagance, excess, and extremes.
Acquiescence: If you want to become whole, first let yourself become broken. If you want to become straight, first let yourself become twisted. If you want to become full, first let yourself become empty. If you want to become new, first let yourself become old. Those whose desires are few get them, those whose desires are great go astray.
Alertness: They were careful as someone crossing a frozen stream in winter; alert as a warrior in enemy territory….
Courteousness: Courteous as a guest….
Adaptability: Fluid as melting ice. Shapable as a block of wood. Receptive as a valley.
Compassion: Thus the Master is willing to help everyone and doesn’t know the meaning of rejection. She is there to help all of creation, and doesn’t abandon even the smallest creature. This is called embodying the light.
Contentment: Those who try to outshine others dim in their own light. Those who call themselves righteous can’t know how wrong they are. Those who boast of their accomplishments diminish the things they have done.
Cooperation: The supreme good is like water, which benefits all creation without trying to compete with it. It is content with the low places that people disdain. Thus it is like the Tao.
Detachment: The Tao is infinite, eternal. Why is it eternal? It was never born; thus it can never die. Why is it infinite? It has no desires for itself; thus it is a present for all beings. The Master puts herself last; and finds herself in the place of authority. She is detached from all things; therefore she is united with all things. She gives no thought to self. She is perfectly fulfilled.
Direction: Can you love people and lead them without imposing your will on them? When Heaven gives and takes away, can you be content with the outcome? When you understand all things, can you step back from your own understanding?
Dwelling in Emptiness: Thirty spokes are joined together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that allows the wheel to function. We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds what is useful. We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable. We work with the substantial, but the emptiness is what we use.
Ease: She perceives the universal harmony, even amid great pain, because she has found peace in her heart.
Faith: Hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self. When we don’t see the self as self, what do we have to fear? Have faith in the way things are.