The Master keeps her mind
always at one with the Tao.
That is what gives her her radiance.
The Tao is ungraspable.
How can her mind be at one with it?
Because she doesn’t cling to ideas.
The Tao is dark and unfathomable.
How can it make her radiant?
Because she lets it.
Since before time and space were,
the Tao is.
It is beyond is and is not.
How do I know this is true?
I look inside myself and see.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 21, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Look Inside Yourself And See
We have been talking about staying in the center of the circle, and letting all things take their course; but, perhaps that needs further explanation. What exactly does Lao Tzu mean by that? And, how do we do it? Today, Lao Tzu is ready with an answer.
What does Lao Tzu mean by staying in the center of the circle and letting all things take their course; and, how do we accomplish this? Whenever he needs to show us an example of the practice of the Tao, he points to the wise and virtuous person he refers to as the Master. The Master keeps their mind always at one with the Tao. That is what Lao Tzu means by staying in the center of the circle. Keep your mind always at one with the Tao, and you will become radiant.
But, how can this be? The Tao is ungraspable, how can our mind be at one with it? If we won’t cling to our own ideas of the way things are, if we don’t try grasping at the Tao, we will find ourselves safe and secure, and at one, with it.
But, isn’t the Tao dark and unfathomable? How can something dark and unfathomable make us radiant? The only thing that can prevent it from happening is our resistance to it. We only need to let it make us radiant.
Okay, okay. Don’t cling to ideas. Check. Let the Tao make us radiant. Check. But, isn’t there something else you can tell us?
Since before time and space were, the Tao is. It is beyond is and is not. This mystery isn’t intended to confound us. I said a few chapters back, no more riddles. So, the point of the mystery isn’t to confound us. It is meant to assure us. The great Tao has things well under control. It is only because we aren’t willing to give up our need to be in control, and let the great Tao do its mysterious work in us, that we doubt. If you want to know this is true, look inside yourself and see. The answers are inside you, my friends. That is where they have always been. That is where they will always be.