Whoever is planted in the Tao
will not be rooted up.
Whoever embraces the Tao
will not slip away.
Her name will be held in honor
from generation to generation.
Let the Tao be present in your life
and you will be genuine.
Let it be present in your family
and your family will flourish.
Let it be present in your country
and your country will be an example
to all countries in the world.
Let it be present in the Universe
and the Universe will sing.
How do I know this is true?
By looking inside myself.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 54, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Yesterday, we talked about being aware when things are out of balance. People prefer the side paths to the great Way of the Tao. The side paths result in nothing but robbery and chaos. But, some have a vested interest in keeping us on the side paths. This chapter won’t convince them. It is for those of us that recognize the illusion for what it is. But, still fear that nothing will ever change as long as so many prefer the side paths.
The purpose of this chapter is to assure you that your own individual choices do make a profound difference in the world in which you live. You don’t have to be one of the powerful to make a difference for good in the world. In fact, it probably helps that you are not one of the powerful.
Everyone, repeat after me, “I am a whoever!” That little exercise may not seem like much; but I think it is a powerful statement. You are a whoever. And whoever is planted in the Tao will not be rooted up. No matter how much the powers that be, in our illusory world, may pull and tug; they are not going to uproot you.
You are a whoever. And whoever embraces the Tao will not slip away. We fear that, I know we do. We worry that all our efforts won’t matter at all. We think that no matter how much we hold on for dear life, that the prevailing winds of our time (still, all an illusion) are going to blow us away. That is what they want you to believe. They want you to give up. They know their own hold on power is tenuous at best. They need people on the side paths, propping up their illusion of power.
But the eternal reality is the way things really are. The illusion is exposed as the fraud it is. Thanks to your efforts. And your name is going to endure for many generations to come. How do I know this is true? Because the victors always get to write the history books. And we are going to win.
That all sounds well and good. But I can hear some of you that are still questioning, still full of doubts. How are we really going to win? Just look around at the world around you, and you will see, Chuck, that the prevailing winds are strong; and they don’t bode anything good. Wars and rumors of war. Yes, I see it too. But I know this is all an illusion. And the winds can change. Lao Tzu tells us exactly how we are going to win, in the end.
It begins with each of us, one individual at a time, letting the Tao be present in your life. You who think you have no power, really have all the power. I keep telling you that you are free. It is time to start acting like it. Take back control of your life, your world. Don’t play their games anymore. When you don’t play their games, you don’t have to play by their rules. It starts with you, yes, you, letting the Tao be present in your life. This is the pathway to being genuine. There is no other. You want to be real, right? Genuine. Well, let the Tao make you real. Otherwise, you are just part of the illusion that is going to be swept away.
Let the Tao be present in your family. This isn’t just an individual thing. Oh, it starts with each individual, but it spreads out from there. By a conscious effort. Let it be present in your family. This will cause your family to flourish. I don’t know about you, but I like to have my family flourishing.
Lao Tzu could show all the incremental steps it takes to see the Tao go from individual, to family, to neighborhood, to community, to country, to world, to Universe. Because that is how it works. It is infectious. The good kind of infection. And it will grow and multiply as it spreads. Pretty soon, your country is an example to all countries in the world. The whole world is transformed into a paradise. And, if you listen, ever so carefully, you can hear the Universe sing.
Lao Tzu says that he knows this is true because he looks inside himself and sees. And I know for myself the transforming power that has taken place in my own life. I am planted in and embracing the Tao. I won’t be rooted up, and I won’t slip away. Neither will you