When a country is in harmony with the Tao,
the factories make trucks and tractors.
When a country goes counter to the Tao,
warheads are stockpiled outside the cities.
There is no greater illusion than fear,
no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself,
no greater misfortune than having an enemy.
Whoever can see through all fear
will always be safe.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 46, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
To All My Friends Who Are Fearful
Today’s chapter seems made for today. There is still a lot of fear rampant. And, I know something of fear. I was fearful (in spite of Lao Tzu’s teaching that fear is only a phantom arising from thinking of the self) going up to the election. I was fearful warheads would be stockpiled outside the cities, as we prepared for the escalation of wars all over the world. At least Trump says he wants to get our factories making trucks and tractors, again. I am not holding out a whole lot of hope (that one is another phantom) that Trump will actually make good on his promises. And, I certainly have no illusions that he will lead by being in harmony with the Tao. But, it is fear, itself, with which today’s chapter is concerned. And, as far as illusions go, there is none greater than fear.
There is also no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself. And, no greater misfortune than having an enemy. Especially the ones we manufacture out of thin air. Illusions, each and every one.
But, to all my friends who are fearful right now, my wish for you is that you will be able to see through all fear. It is nothing, but an illusion. You are being manipulated. If you can only see through it, to what is real, you will always be safe.