Who Doesn’t Like a Good Origin Story?

The Tao is an empty bowl
inexhaustible to those who use it.

Indeed in its depths lies the origin of all things.

It dulls the sharp edges
resolves perplexities
softens the glare.
Yet it remains a part of the physical world.

This hidden tranquility –
I do not know its origin –
it has existed forever
it will endure forever.

-Lao Tzu-
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 4, translation by Robert Brookes)

Who Doesn’t Like a Good Origin Story?

You might have noticed, but just in case you didn’t, I substituted Robert Brookes’ translation of chapter four, for the translation by Stephen Mitchell I normally use. It is one of those rare instances when I haven’t been all that satisfied with Stephen Mitchell’s translation. In Mr. Mitchell’s translation, he compares the Tao to a well, and then the eternal void. In Robert Brookes’ it is compared to an empty bowl. And, for me, that empty bowl metaphor makes things much more clear. The other significant difference between Mitchell’s and Brookes’ translations comes at the end, where Mr. Mitchell, in what I would characterize as “with tongue in cheek” says the Tao is older than God. But, there is actually no reference to God in the original, throughout the Tao Te Ching. So, Robert Brookes does better, saying simply, I do not know its origin – it has existed forever, it will endure forever. In both translations, we have the infinite and eternal nature of the Tao. And, today’s chapter is where Lao Tzu begins to use metaphors, for the first time, to tell of the Tao.

If I were to set an empty bowl in front of you, I would hope you would immediately realize its utility. What might you fill it with? How many uses might you get out of it? That empty bowl is inexhaustible to those who use it. You might be wondering if that all depends on the size of the bowl. But, let me help you with that. Take a closer look at the bowl. Look down at its depths. You won’t be able to see its bottom, but in its depths lies the origin of all things.

Lao Tzu first talked of this in chapter one, where he talked about naming being the origin of all particular things. The Unnameable, the eternally real, is the Source, the darkness in the depths of that empty bowl. Whatever we fill that bowl with, whatever we can name, has its beginnings right there.

What more can I tell you of the Tao, today? Understanding the nature of our universe, the way things are, (which we have learned about in the last two chapters) we can know the Tao dulls the sharp edges, it resolves perplexities, it softens the glare, yet it always remains a part of our physical world.

Marvel not at how it can be a part of our physical world, marvel at the hidden tranquility in its depths. That empty bowl. The bowl, itself, is being. But, the emptiness inside the bowl, that is non-being. The two create each other.

Who doesn’t like a good origin story? But, the Tao has no beginning. It has always existed. It will always exist.

Taking a Step Back, Before We Can Move Forward

If you over-esteem great men,
people become powerless.
If you overvalue possessions,
people begin to steal.

The Master leads
by emptying people’s minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion in those
who think that they know.

Practice not-doing,
and everything will fall into place.

-Lao Tzu-
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 3, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

Taking a Step Back, Before We Can Move Forward

We have been talking about how our desire is what gets us into trouble. What we want drives us to do to excess. And, the way things are in our Universe being the way things are, excess always results in deficiency. It is really quite simple: Where there is no excess, there is no deficiency. So, we really need to be free from desire.

In today’s chapter, Lao Tzu illustrates it by talking about what happens when we over-esteem great men. People become powerless. And, what happens when we overvalue possessions? People begin to steal.

This sounds like a problem where we might want to install a government over us, making laws and enforcing them. Just don’t be surprised when these “great people” we esteem over us only make us more powerless. And, their attempts to keep us from stealing don’t reduce the spread of stealing.

What we need are the kind of leaders Lao Tzu was talking about, yesterday. Those who act without doing anything, and teach without saying anything. People actually think that describes our leaders today. They complain about gridlock in Washington, and a do-nothing Congress. But, let me assure you, this isn’t the doing nothing Lao Tzu is talking about. It may be that little is getting done in Washington, but it isn’t for lack of effort on the part of those who rule us. They are always doing something. And, we are much the worse for the wear.

No, Lao Tzu’s ideal for the perfect leader is one who leads by emptying people’s minds and filling their cores, weakening their ambition and toughening their resolve. What this kind of leader is about is helping people lose everything they know, everything they desire, and creating confusion in those who think they know.

Instead of relying on what we know in our minds, we need to be relying on what we know in our hearts. That intuitive and spontaneous realization that has the power to set us free. Ambition, in the sense Lao Tzu is discussing it, is to be kept at bay. Its focus is always on what is outside of ourselves. What we need is to have our inner resolve strengthened. That, and that alone, will enable us to be content with a simple and ordinary life.

The key to being in harmony with the way things are is to practice not-doing. And, remember, not-doing doesn’t mean that nothing gets done. The Chinese call it Wei Wu Wei, doing without doing. It takes realizing; something which doesn’t happen until our minds are quite emptied and our cores are quite filled. Our ambition has to be weakened and our resolve strengthened. Then, and only then, will we get it. We don’t need to force things. We don’t need to intervene, interfere, try to dominate, or try to control. When we work with nature rather than against it, our actions become effortless. They just flow out of the core of our being.

So, take a step back. Observe the natural flow of the Universe. See how everything falls into place? As things come and go, let them. Let events take their own course. Of course, you can shape them as they come, as you become better acquainted with how things work in our universe. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

A Preview of Things to Come

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

-Lao Tzu – (Tao Te Ching, chapter 2, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

A Preview of Things to Come

Why is there such ugliness in our world? Why is there so much that is bad? In yesterday’s chapter, Lao Tzu identified our problem right out of the chute. It is because we are caught in desire. When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad. Our desire runs smack up against the way things are. If people didn’t see some things as beautiful…as good, nothing would become ugly…bad. You will have to be free from desire to realize this mystery. Caught in desire, you will only see the manifestations.

People can deny the eternal reality, and they often do; but, that doesn’t change it. Being and non-being (what is and is not) create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. Long and short define each other. High and low depend on each other. Before and after follow each other. This is the way things are. Just as with the law of gravity, you deny the eternal reality at your own peril.

So, what should we, then, do?

Have you considered doing nothing?

The Master, our wise and virtuous example for how to live in perfect harmony with the way things are, acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything.

We will be coming back to this acting without doing anything, and teaching without saying anything, in future chapters. For now, here is a preview of how to put it into practice: When things arise, let them come. When things disappear, let them go. Have without possessing. Act without expecting. And, when your work is done, forget about it. It will, then, last forever.

A New Beginning

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnameable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire,
you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire,
you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

-Lao Tzu-
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 1, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

A New Beginning

Every time I begin another cycle through the Tao Te Ching, because I am starting at the beginning, I always presume my readers are beginners. I introduce my blog. I introduce philosophical Taoism. But, having cycled through the Tao Te Ching something like sixteen times, now, I have decided to do things a little bit differently with this new beginning. I am not going to reintroduce my blog. If you have any questions about me, or my blog, message me. I would love to hear from you. But, I won’t bore my readers with stuff most of you already know. I also am not going to treat you as beginners when it comes to philosophical Taoism. Most of you have been following along with me for quite some time. So, once again, I invite questions you may have, but I won’t automatically assume you know nothing of philosophical Taoism. We are on a journey together. And, for many of us, this isn’t a new path, it is a well-worn path. But, perhaps there will be something new to see. Something we haven’t noticed before. I have certainly found that to be the case each time I walk this path again.

We are going to discover more about the eternal Tao than we have ever known before, yet what I can tell of the tao, isn’t the eternal Tao. Even the name it has been given, isn’t the eternal Name. What is eternally real is unnameable. Naming is the origin of all particular things. But, the Tao isn’t a particular thing. I give names to things. And, that is their beginning. The Tao has no beginning; and, having no beginning, it has no end. It remains forever unnameable.

In yesterday’s concluding chapter of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu said the Master has no possessions. He wasn’t talking about the things we have or don’t have. He was talking about the things we want. We need to be free from desire to realize the mystery of the Tao. Caught in desire, we can only see its manifestations.

The point of our journey (yes, there is a point) is to become free from desire. Every cycle through I get a bit more free. It was probably a good thing to get that out of the way, right up front. I have walked this path before. Many times. And, I am well familiar with the path. So, I am confident I can lead others along the way. But, I still don’t wish to call myself a master. Not yet. Most the time, all I can see are the manifestations. I will be pointing those out as we encounter them. But, every so often, more and more with each journey, but not nearly as often as I would like, I catch a glimpse of the mystery. I can’t see it for you. And, to tell of it, well, Lao Tzu already said that anything we can tell of it, isn’t it. My hope is that you will catch your own glimpses along the way.

So, though caught in desire, we still have those manifestations; and those manifestations, just like the mystery, arise from the same source. And, we can trace those manifestations right back to their source.

Lao Tzu calls this source darkness. Then, darkness within darkness. It is shrouded in mystery. But, along the way we will find, and be able to use, our own light to navigate our way through the darkness, the gateway to all understanding.

Am I Governing Myself Wisely?

True words aren’t eloquent;
eloquent words aren’t true.
Wise men don’t need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren’t wise.

The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
the happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
the wealthier he is.

The Tao nourishes by not forcing.
By not dominating, the Master leads.

-Lao Tzu-
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 81, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

Am I Governing Myself Wisely?

Yesterday, I spent my time talking about how and why we are not content. I blamed it on how we are governed. After all, Lao Tzu told us, “If a country is governed wisely, its inhabitants will be content.” But, while that is true when talking about a whole country, we, as individuals, can’t be blaming our lack of contentment on something outside of ourselves, something quite beyond our own control. After all, didn’t Lao Tzu just get finished saying in the preceding chapter, “If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame”? So, when considering whether or not we are being governed wisely, the question of self-government needs to be addressed. Am I governing myself wisely? That is our question for today.

Here, for the last time, Lao Tzu brings in the Master, as our example for how to be content with our simple and ordinary lives. A wise and virtuous person, Lao Tzu insists, has no possessions.

Now, Lao Tzu does not mean we need to give everything away, and live like hermits. He is concerned with what possesses us. Those are our possessions. It is the things we desire, things we can’t do without, that have a strong hold on us, making us their slave. You won’t be content, can’t be content. How could you be? Always wanting more, more. Never satisfied. Never having enough.

Wise and virtuous people find true contentment in the only place it could ever be found. Inside themselves. The more they do for others, the happier they are. The more they give to others, the wealthier they will be.

This isn’t a sacrifice of self. It is the realization of your true self. Wise and virtuous people nourish themselves as they nourish others, by not forcing. They lead others, by not dominating.

And, there we have it. All finished with another cycle through the Tao Te Ching. It sure wasn’t eloquent. And, I haven’t set out to prove any point. I have just come to know, and I hope you have come to know, intuitively — this is truth, this is wisdom.

Thanks for coming along on the journey with me. Tomorrow, we will start it all over again, with chapter one.

I Blame Our Government

If a country is governed wisely,
its inhabitants will be content.
They enjoy the labor of their hands
and don’t waste time inventing
labor-saving machines.
Since they dearly love their homes,
they aren’t interested in travel.
There may be a few wagons and boats,
but these don’t go anywhere.
There may be an arsenal of weapons,
but nobody ever uses them.
People enjoy their food,
take pleasure in being with their families,
spend weekends working in their gardens,
delight in the doings of the neighborhood.
And even though the next country is so close
that people can hear its roosters crowing
and its dogs barking,
they are content to die of old age
without ever having gone to see it.

-Lao Tzu-
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 80, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

I Blame Our Government

Is this what true contentment looks like? Lao Tzu paints an idyllic picture which reminds me a lot of Tolkien’s Shire. I know I would be content to be a hobbit, to live like a hobbit. But, I hardly think it is everyone’s picture of contentment.

After all, as much as I would like to live like a hobbit, I don’t much care for the idea of turning in all my labor-saving devices. And, I hardly think it a waste of time inventing new ones.

And, what exactly is wrong with being interested in traveling? Daring to go on an unexpected journey, an adventure, can change you. And, likely for the good.

So, I get it, if you have misgivings. But, I hardly think that was Lao Tzu’s point.

Realize, Lao Tzu lived in a time when living like this was the norm. It was all they knew. Yet, he sensed, correctly, the people weren’t content. And, his analysis of the situation was spot on. If a country is governed wisely, its inhabitants will be content.

Lao Tzu isn’t singing the praises of a primitive life. He is speaking to people very much accustomed to living a primitive life, but they weren’t content. And, Lao Tzu has made it pretty clear, it s because they weren’t being governed wisely. What if Lao Tzu had lived in such a time as ours, with all our modern conveniences? Would he have told us we needed to go back to living primitively? I don’t think so.

What he is doing is describing the times as they were in his lifetime. And, saying, the people COULD be content with the life they had. They could be content with the way things were at the time of his writing. But, they weren’t.

And, that is where our two very different ages are very much the same. For we aren’t content, either. Do we enjoy our labor? No! We gripe and complain to anyone who will listen. And, if no one will listen, we just grumble and moan to ourselves. Do we dearly love our homes, or do we seek out every opportunity to get away, not content with a, yes, simple and ordinary life? We don’t enjoy our food. We take no pleasure in being with our families. And, who has time for spending weekends in their gardens? We don’t delight in the doings of our neighborhood. Mostly, we just complain about the neighbors. And, as far as the next country over from us is concerned, well, we have grown to fear them.

That is a picture of discontent. Lao Tzu would interject here, we aren’t being governed very wisely. And, I hate that this commentary has become so gloomy; but, I don’t see any changes on the horizon, when it comes to the wisdom with which we can expect to be governed, any time soon.

But, there is good news. Our contentment doesn’t have to depend on how we are governed. Tomorrow, in our last chapter of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu will tell us, one last time, how to be content regardless of our outward circumstances.

What If I Fail?

Failure is an opportunity.
If you blame someone else,
there is no end to the blame.

Therefore the Master
fulfills her own obligations
and corrects her own mistakes.
She does what she needs to do
and demands nothing of others.

-Lao Tzu-
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 79, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

What If I Fail?

With just three chapters left, in our latest cycle through the Tao Te Ching, it is a good thing that Lao Tzu addresses failure. He is wanting to encourage us. Yes, we are bound to fail, from time to time, in following Lao Tzu’s teachings. But, failure doesn’t have to be a troublesome thing. It can be an opportunity.

Just a few chapters ago, I recounted my own failure. And, Lao Tzu has said, again and again, when we fail, when we make a mistake, or are bad, the Tao is a refuge for us.

The opportunity in failure is one where we can stop and take a step back. It is time to reevaluate things. For me, just a few days ago, it was a time to realize I have become a bit hard and inflexible. Not the soft and supple person I want to be. Finding myself upset and bothered by a minor inconvenience, someone stopping me and asking the time, was a wake-up call. And, there is no one, beyond myself, for whom I could pin the blame.

How silly, really, to try and deflect. To point out others’ faults. How easily we do it, though. Maybe out of embarrassment, but more because we don’t want the burden of blame. Yet, Lao Tzu is right, of course. Once you start down that road, there is no end to the blame.

What we should do instead, when we realize we have made a mistake, is to admit it, and correct it.

Lao Tzu illustrates this, in today’s chapter, by talking about contractual duties. From ancient times, there have always been contracts made between parties. A list of obligations to perform, conditions to be met. Usually, these contracts have two sides, and both parties have obligations or duties to perform.

That is what Lao Tzu is describing in the second stanza of today’s verse. A wise and virtuous person will fulfill their own obligations, and correct their own mistakes; doing what they need to do, without making any demands on the other party.

That might not sound fair. But, do we really want to be the type of person who exacts “fairness”, or the person who lets the Tao adjust the ledgers in the end? Excess and deficiency being adjusted, until there is perfect balance.

Remember, failure is an opportunity. It is an opportunity for you to do the right thing. To make things right, on your end. Which, by the way, is the only end you have any control of, anyway.

We are so close to the end of our journey through the Tao Te Ching. Now is not the time to be trying to control what others do. Using force and dominating are never in harmony with the Tao.

On Being Like Water

Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people’s greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.

-Lao Tzu-
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 78, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

On Being Like Water

For the last couple of chapters, the need to be soft and yielding, instead of hard and inflexible, has been our theme. Lao Tzu has used such metaphors as newborn children, tender new plants, and a bow, to illustrate how we should be in our world. And, he warned us that the hard and inflexible will be broken. Today, Lao Tzu returns to using his favorite metaphor, water, to teach us the art of living in our world.

I talked a couple chapters ago of reevaluating how I am doing at the art of living. I have begun to see myself becoming hard and inflexible, lately. I, also, spoke at length of how the ruling elite, being parasites or leeches, are being hard and inflexible in their attempts to go against the current of the Tao.

Today’s chapter is a good one for us, because it teaches us exactly how to deal with our own hardness and inflexibility, and the hardness and inflexibility we may encounter in others (particularly the ruling elite).

If you want to overcome the hard and rigid, whether in yourself, or in others, you must be soft and gentle. Water is the perfect metaphor to illustrate this.

One reason for this is nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water; yet, for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it. A second reason water is such an excellent metaphor is everyone already knows this is true. So, there isn’t anything new to learn, here.

But, while we all know of these attributes of water, few seem to put “being like water” into practice.

Can you remain serene, even in the midst of sorrow, not letting evil enter your heart?

Can you be the people’s greatest help, because you have given up trying to be of help?

I know it seems paradoxical, but true words often are. We need to be like a thermostat, rather than a thermometer. Steady in the midst of turmoil. Not prone to changes in temperament, based on our outward circumstances. We need to be willing to outwardly appear indifferent, disinterested and unmoved by those clamoring for us to DO something. What did Lao Tzu say, in yesterday’s chapter, about the bending of that bow? We need to let that bending happen naturally, like the wind acts on trees. Don’t worry; the wind will blow, just as surely as water flows downhill. If you are soft and yielding, flexible, you will go with its flow, and be able to give out of your own abundance. The hard and inflexible, both in you, and those who oppose the Tao, will be broken and dissolve. The soft and supple will overcome and prevail.

Like the Bending of a Bow

As it acts in the world, the Tao
is like the bending of a bow.
The top is bent downward;
the bottom is bent up.
It adjusts excess and deficiency
so that there is perfect balance.
It takes from what is too much
and gives to what isn’t enough.

Those who try to control,
who use force to protect their power,
go against the direction of the Tao.
They take from those who don’t have enough
and give to those who have far too much.

The Master can keep giving
because there is no end to her wealth.
She acts without expectation,
succeeds without taking credit,
and doesn’t think that she is better
than anyone else.

-Lao Tzu-
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 77, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

Like the Bending of a Bow

Though I used yesterday’s chapter to reevaluate how I am doing on the practice of being in harmony with the Tao (Have I become a disciple of death?), both yesterday’s and today’s chapter are really a continuation of what Lao Tzu was talking about in chapter 75, about the need for leaders who will trust us, and leave us alone. After, yesterday, contrasting the soft and supple with the hard and stiff, the yielding with the inflexible, today, Lao Tzu gives us the ultimate metaphor for how the Tao acts in our world. To be in harmony with the Tao, the very picture of flexibility, we are going to have to be soft and supple. This is something our leaders, and would-be leaders, seemingly, cannot be.

As we read through today’s chapter, remember Lao Tzu’s warning from yesterday’s chapter, “The hard and stiff will be broken. Only the soft and supple will prevail.”

Picture a bow, a mighty bow. Maybe it stretches from one end of the universe to the other. As it acts in our world, the Tao is like the bending of that bow.

We are, hopefully, all familiar with the operation of a bow. It obeys the simplest, most elementary, laws of physics. The top is bent downward; and the bottom is bent up. This, Lao Tzu tells us, is how the Tao adjusts excess and deficiency in our universe, in our world. This is how it maintains perfect balance; taking from what is too much, and giving to what isn’t enough.

When you pictured that bow bending, did you also picture someone bending it? Perhaps, you did. After all, we don’t see bows bending freely, without someone actually bending them. Or do we? Perhaps there is a reason Lao Tzu mentioned plants being tender and pliant, in yesterday’s chapter. In nature, we see trees bending, with the wind, all of the time. Wind, an invisible force, which doesn’t require any of our assistance.

I say all of that to encourage you to get that image of a mighty hunter bending that bow, out of your mind. With the bending of the bow, Lao Tzu is referring to, the bow is also acted upon by an invisible force which doesn’t require any of our assistance.

All we need to be is flexible. We need to be soft and supple, yielding, as the top bends down and the bottom bends up.

But, what if the top doesn’t want to bend downward? What if the top were inflexible? What if those at the top tried to be in control, and used force to protect their power?

This is a picture of the way things are in our world, out of harmony with the Tao. The powers that be are going against the direction of the Tao. They take from those who don’t have enough, and give to those who have far too much. Before anyone starts thinking this is about class envy or class warfare, I refer you back to my commentary on chapter 75.

The ruling elite, the parasites, the leeches, want us pointing fingers at each other. But, it isn’t the vast majority of us, who are the producers of wealth, going against the direction of the Tao. The people trying to protect their power are the ones who are stiff and inflexible. They are the ones not going with the flow of the Tao. They are taking from our wealth, though we don’t have enough, and keeping it all for themselves.

If we are flexible, if we are soft and supple, yielding, there will be no end to our wealth. And, we can keep on giving and giving; not to the parasites, but to those who are disadvantaged, and less fortunate than ourselves. Excess and deficiency are adjusted. Perfect balance will be maintained. When we are flexible, we can act without expectation, succeed without taking credit, and never think we are better than anyone else.

Now, I ask you, isn’t that how you want to be?

The Power of Life and Death

Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.

-Lao Tzu-
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 76, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

The Power of Life and Death

Lao Tzu has talked before of the virtue of being like a newborn child. It is one of his favorite metaphors for being in harmony with the Tao. Today, we look at that again. We are all born soft and supple. Even plants begin life in this same way, tender and pliant.

Lao Tzu is illustrating for us the art of living in harmony with the Tao. Only the dead should be stiff and hard, brittle and dry. This contrast is of particular interest to me today, as I was telling a friend of mine earlier, I seriously am in need of some reevaluation of how I am doing at this art of living.

I have begun to notice that I have let certain characteristics take form and shape in my own life that I don’t much care for. I have found myself to be increasingly stiff and inflexible, of late. Perhaps it is just the closer we get to these November elections, my tolerance is waning more. I think I have simply allowed myself to pile more and more on my plate, and I am getting unnecessarily stressed out, and overwhelmed.

I actually got annoyed the other evening while I was out walking, because I got stopped by someone asking the time. After looking at my phone, and gruffly responding with the time, I rushed onward mumbling about how “stupid” it is to not have a watch or a phone on you. I have seriously let this go on far too long. It is time to stop, and take a step back.

I don’t want to be a disciple of death! And, it isn’t just because the hard and stiff will be broken. Though they will.

I want to be soft and supple, like a newborn child again. I want to be a disciple of life, soft and yielding. And, it isn’t just because the soft and supple will prevail. Though they will.

No, there is more to it than a desire to prevail. It is because being stiff and hard and inflexible, sucks all of the joy of living out of me. And, no doubt, it affects everyone else around me, in much the same way. It is life draining. No wonder Lao Tzu calls it being a disciple of death! It is a miserable existence. And, I don’t just want to exist. I want to live!