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.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 81, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Well, we have done it! We have completed another cycle through the Tao Te Ching. Tomorrow, our journey will begin again. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Today is what we will talk about. Lao Tzu has a few parting words of wisdom for us. He reminds us that while his words haven’t always been eloquent, they have, nevertheless, been true. He wasn’t setting out to prove some point. He merely wanted to point at the Tao. And let it speak for itself. So, what have we gleaned from this journey through the Tao Te Ching? I don’t know about you; but I think I gained a better appreciation for how to be content in my own life.
It isn’t about my outward circumstances, how many possessions I have, how much money is in my bank account. Oh, those things are certainly nice. I think I could be content if I had a lot of those things. But my contentment doesn’t depend on them.
The Master has learned the secret to true contentment. And he has no possessions. He has found that the more he does for others, the happier he is. I don’t think this means some self-sacrificing altruism. So all you Ayn Rand fans, don’t be distressed.
Having no possessions, just like not-doing, not-knowing, and not-competing doesn’t mean what it seems to mean. Lao Tzu is talking about the condition of the Master’s heart. His happiness isn’t based on accumulating to excess. It is based on giving all he has; which is limitless. The more he gives, the wealthier he is. And, because all his actions are effortless, the more he does, the more he can do.
Refer back to when Lao Tzu told us that true words seem paradoxical. How does the Tao nourish all things? By not forcing. That is the way of the Tao. It leads; it doesn’t drag you kicking and screaming. The Master leads, by not dominating.
There is so much more I would like to say. But I am not eloquent. Words fail me. I just know that my life has been transformed by the Tao. Why? Because I let it.