In the pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.
True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.
It can’t be gained by interfering.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 48, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
More, or Less?
We have talked about this before. It takes practice.
While in the pursuit of knowledge, every day something has to be added, in the practice of the Tao, every day something has to be dropped. Instead of always wanting more, more, more, can we be content with less and less?
Less forcing. Less intervening. Less interfering. Less trying to dominate. Less trying to control. Every day let go of just a little something more of that need to do something. It doesn’t need to be fixed. It needs to be left alone. It needs to be freed from our clutches.
Starve the beast! Don’t let the will to power enslave you, no matter how much it whines at you to do something. Let things go their own way. Don’t interfere with them.
Yes, we are still defying conventional wisdom (see yesterday’s post). But, true mastery of ourselves, not others, is the greatest of rewards.
Just take it one day at a time. Less and less of the need to force things. Make it a daily practice. Until we finally arrive at non-action. Nothing is done, and nothing is left undone.