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)
Just Going Along for the Ride
In yesterday’s chapter Lao Tzu described how the Tao flows through all things, inside and outside, and returns to the origin of all things – itself. This is a great mystery, but it makes the Tao the greatest of the four great powers. The universe follows it, making it the second of the four great powers. And, the earth follows it, making it the third of the four great powers. And then, Lao Tzu says that humans, following the earth, are the last of the four great powers. Today, he refers to us as lords, wondering why the lord of the country would flit about like a fool.
Why do we let ourselves be blown to and fro? Why do we let restlessness move us? We lose touch with our root. We lose touch with who we are.
The heavy, Lao Tzu tells us, is the root of the light. And, the unmoved is the source of all movement. Stand with both your feet on the ground. Go ahead, do it. Are you moving? It doesn’t seem like it. Gravity is holding you to the ground. You are unmoved; and yet, and yet, the earth is spinning on its axis at such a rate, that depending where you are standing you may be moving as fast as 1040 miles per hour. And, then there is the fact that the earth is hurtling through space (carrying us with it) at a speed of 66,600 miles per hour as it travels around the Sun. Or, consider that our Sun, with its solar system (that means us included), is traveling around the Milky Way galaxy at the mind-numbing speed of 558,000 miles per hour. But we aren’t finished yet. The Milky Way Galaxy, of which we are a very small part, is moving at an even faster clip through the Universe, 660,000 miles per hour. Talk about flowing! And, that isn’t to mention, because I have no idea how fast the whole universe is moving as it follows the Tao.
That which makes us heavy is the root of what makes us light. Be unmoved, and you will find it is the source of all movement. This is why the Master (a wise person in harmony with the Tao) is able to travel all day without ever leaving home. No matter how splendid the views may be (and it is Autumn, here, in the northern hemisphere; so the views are splendid), if we are wise, we will stay serene in the core of our being.
Be still. Don’t flit. Be unmoved. Let the earth take you along for the ride. We are just following the Tao. Just going with the flow.