Whoever is planted in the Tao
will not be rooted up.
Whoever embraces the Tao
will not slip away.
Her name will be held in honor
from generation to generation.
Let the Tao be present in your life
and you will become genuine.
Let it be present in your family
and your family will flourish.
Let it be present in your country
and your country will be an example
to all countries in the world.
Let it be present in the Universe
and the Universe will sing.
How do I know this is true?
By looking inside myself.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 54, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Let It Be
In yesterday’s chapter, we talked about just how out of balance things are in our world. The symptoms are impossible to miss. The powerful haven’t been centered in the Tao. Far from it. Instead, they are responsible for the robbery and chaos which plague our world. In thinking of US foreign policy, in particular, I pondered whether this was a time for fear, for hope, for both, or for neither. And, I argued for not being swayed by the phantoms of hope and fear. Being aware that things are out of balance, there is something better we can do: Center ourselves, and stay centered, in the Tao.
Today, Lao Tzu has some very good news for those of us who will be so bold as to do just that. Those who are planted in the Tao, can never be rooted up. If we embrace the Tao, we will not slip away. As is always the case, this takes both yin and yang, a passive and an active side to being centered in the Tao. The yin, or passive side, is letting ourselves be planted. The yang, or active side, is embracing, maybe holding on for dear life, to the Tao. You aren’t going anywhere. You will be held in place, a place of honor, from generation to generation.
Always lead with yin. Let yourself be planted. There will be plenty of time for embracing, actively; but, right now, focus on yin, on passively accepting. Don’t resist. Let the Tao be present in your life.
I am going to let you in on a little secret. I discovered this as I looked inside myself, as I experienced it for myself. As I let myself be planted in the Tao, and I started growing roots, and taking nourishment from the soil, changes started to happen within me. What transpired was actually transformative. I look quite the same on the outside. But, on the inside, which is where I am looking, the real me, my genuine self, has emerged.
That is when I really started embracing, actively accepting, being centered in the Tao. It just seemed natural, and it happened quite naturally. I didn’t have to force it.
Yang followed yin, and yin follows yang. I began to let the Tao be present in my family. It is very important for you to understand that this, too, is yin. I didn’t force any individual members of my family to embrace the Tao. I simply stay centered in the Tao, and allow my genuine self to grow. That just can’t help but spread outward. You may regard that as your sphere of influence. We aren’t forcing things. We aren’t dominating, or trying to control. We just let it be. And, then, my family started to flourish, and they, in turn started to embrace it.
That sphere of influence expands. Immediate family spreads to extended family, and friends, coworkers, neighborhoods, communities… Can this keep spreading until it is present in the whole country? Why not? I still have no intention of trying to force it. But, I genuinely believe it can and will happen. I will let it be, until my country is an example to all countries.
But, why must it stop there? The whole universe could be singing. Let it be!