The heavy is the root of the light.
The unmoved is the source of all movement.
Thus the Master travels all day
without leaving home.
However splendid the views,
she stays serenely in herself.
Why should the lord of the country
flit about like a fool?
If you let yourself be blown to and fro,
you lose touch with your root.
If you let restlessness move you,
you lose touch with who you are.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 26, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Today’s chapter is another one where yin and yang are at the forefront. First, Lao Tzu explains how heavy and light complement each other. Then, we need to understand what he has said, before, about being and non-being creating each other. The unmoved is non-being, here.
It was back in chapter fifteen, that Lao Tzu talked about the need to be still, to remain unmoving. He said, “Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”
Today, for me, has been a test. It is a very personal issue that I don’t wish to, and won’t, go into here. But, suffice it to say, the mud has been all stirred up. And the temptation to act, to move, to do something, has been great. Do I have the patience to wait? Can I remain unmoving?
I look to the Master as my example. Such a one can travel all day without leaving home. Lao Tzu isn’t talking about a physical home, here. He is talking about staying serenely in yourself. Always returning to the Source. That is home. That is your anchor. Your root. It is heavy. And, as long as you hold on to that anchor, you can be light. If I can remain unmoving, the right action, the right time to move, will arise all by itself.
I don’t want to be swayed by all that is going on around me. The views may be splendid! But I want to remain serenely in myself.
This is the challenge. My test, today.
Lao Tzu was certainly no misanthrope. He had a high opinion of us humans. Calling us one of the four great powers, in yesterday’s chapter; when we follow the earth, as it follows the universe, as it follows the Tao, back to the Source. Today, he calls us all lords. And, then, he wonders why lords flit about like fools.
Why do we allow ourselves to be blown to and fro? When we allow this, we lose touch with our root. When we let restlessness move us, we lose touch with who we are.
I can’t allow myself to lose touch with who I am. Not today. Not ever.