A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
A good artist lets his intuition
lead him wherever it wants.
A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
and keeps his mind open to what is.
Thus the Master is available to all people
and doesn’t reject anyone.
He is ready to use all situations
and doesn’t waste anything.
This is called embodying the light.
What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher?
What is a bad man but a good man’s job?
If you don’t understand this, you will get lost,
however intelligent you are.
It is the great secret.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 27, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
The Great Secret
Yesterday, Lao Tzu talked about how the Master travels. No matter how splendid the views may be, master travelers stay serene in the core of their being. Are you a good traveler, like the Master? Having no fixed plans, and not intent upon arriving? How about a good artist? Master artists let their intuition lead them wherever it wants. And, are you a good scientist? Have you freed yourself of concepts; do you keep your mind open to what is?
To be good, virtuous, is to be available to all people, and never have to reject anyone. To be ready to use all situations, without ever wasting a thing. To be good, virtuous, is to embody the light. That is another thing Lao Tzu talked about in yesterday’s chapter. Letting the heavy be the root of the light. Letting the unmoved be the source of all your movement.
But, what if I am bad at this? That is a good question. We aren’t all good travelers. Good artists. Good scientists. What if you are bad? Then, you are an apprentice in need of a master. Seek out a master, someone who is good, who can be your teacher. You, are their job. It is why it is so important for the good to be available to all people, and never reject anyone. To be ready to use all situations, and never waste a thing. It isn’t a question of intelligence. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are. If you don’t understand this, you will get lost, you will stay lost. It is the great secret.