He who is in harmony with the Tao
is like a newborn child.
Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak,
but its grip is powerful.
It doesn’t know about the union
of male and female,
yet its penis can stand erect,
so intense is its vital power.
It can scream its head off all day,
yet it never becomes hoarse,
so complete is its harmony.
The Master’s power is like this.
He lets all things come and go
effortlessly, without desire.
He never expects results;
thus he is never disappointed.
He is never disappointed;
thus his spirit never grows old.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 55, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Yesterday, the imagery was one of a whole Universe full of individuals singing together in harmony with the Tao. Lao Tzu was talking about how the Tao works from within each individual; and then outward from there, to families, neighborhoods, communities, countries, and the world. It was a picture of the true power that we have as individual expressions of the Tao. All we have to do is let it happen.
Today, the imagery changes to that of a newborn child. This is another of Lao Tzu’s favorite metaphors. It is a return to our primal identity, when we were like a newborn child. Lao Tzu is beside himself, almost giddy, as he describes what anyone, who has ever cared for a newborn child, knows.
Their bones are soft and their muscles weak; but check out how powerful a grip that little one has. It doesn’t know about the union of male and female; yet, its vital power is so intense, its penis can stand erect. And, as if lending their own voice to the song of the Universe, they can scream their heads off all day, without becoming hoarse. Lao Tzu calls that a sign of its complete harmony with the Tao.
Lao Tzu is talking about the true power that each one of us has inside of us, if only we will look inside ourselves to discover it, and let it issue forth. That is why he says the Master’s power is like this.
It is the power to let all things come and go effortlessly and without desire. That is, without interfering; without reaching for things not yet here, or grasping at things that are leaving. It is about living in the present reality. That is the true power. The power to live in the present moment, not bogged down in the past, nor hoping or fearing the future. It is a life that is free of disappointment; for you never expect results. You just work with what is. And leave the results to the Tao. Because you are never disappointed, your spirit will never grow old. Behold, the power of a newborn child!