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DAILY SELECTIONS FROM LAO-TZU’S TAO TE CHING — JANUARY 10, 2019

The ancient masters cultivated the mysterious essence. They were profound, subtle — beyond our ability to comprehend. For this reason we cannot know them, but we can try to describe their existence.

Cautious, as if crossing an icy river in winter. Vigilant, as if surrounded by unseen dangers. Reverent, as if receiving honored guests.

As malleable as ice when it begins to melt, as unspoiled as an uncarved block, as receptive as a vast and open valley.

Obscure as muddied water. But with stillness, muddy waters clear. Can you also act while remaining still?

–Lao-tzu–

(from Tao Te Ching, verse 15, translation by Robert Brookes)

DAILY SELECTIONS FROM LAO-TZU’S TAO TE CHING — JANUARY 9TH, 2019

That which is not seen is called the invisible.

That which is not heard is called the silent.

That which is not felt is called the formless.

Together, these things elude inquiry.

They are confused, and considered to be inseparable: What is seen is not bright, what is hidden is not dark. Stretched to infinity, it cannot be named.

It returns to nothingness: shape without shape, substance without substance. Illusory, unimaginable.

Encountering it you do not see its beginning. Following it you do not see its end.

Hold fast to the ancient path of the Tao in order to master the present.

–Lao-tzu–

(from Tao Te Ching, verse 14, translation by Robert Brookes)

DAILY SELECTIONS FROM LAO-TZU’S TAO TE CHING — JANUARY 8th, 2019

As yang bends toward yin honor turns into dishonor. Be wary of becoming bound up in yourself.

What does it mean that honor turns into dishonor? The need to maintain honor makes one dependent on praise, so the wise person avoids honor to begin with.

What does it mean to be wary of becoming bound up in yourself? You become focused on a limited sense of yourself. But if you are selfless, what misfortune can occur?

Therefore those whose actions accord with the Tao can be trusted with the greatest responsibility.

–Lao-tzu–

(from Tao Te Ching, verse 13, translation by Robert Brookes)

DAILY SELECTIONS FROM LAO-TZU’S TAO TE CHING — JANUARY 7TH, 2019

Too much brightness blinds the eyes.

Too much sound deafens the ears.

Too much flavor ruins the tongue.

Chasing desires to excess turns your mind towards madness, and valuing precious things impairs good judgment.

The wise are guided by inner needs, and are not concerned with the senses. Therefore the wise person rejects the without, while embracing the within.

–Lao-tzu–

(from Tao Te Ching, verse 12, translation by Robert Brookes)