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)
Yesterday, Lao Tzu identified humans as one of the four great powers. Thus, we are great. At the same time, he made us subordinate to the Earth in greatness. I think this provides us with a healthy balance with which to understand how we should act in our world. We are truly great. But, we should temper our greatness with a healthy respect of the Earth. We should always be following it. Its natural rhythms. The Earth isn’t ours to exploit. It is far greater than us. We depend on its richness and goodness for our very survival. Too often, I think we forget that. Or, lose sight of it. And that is our great folly.
Today, Lao Tzu continues to refer to our greatness. He says we are all lords of the country. And how should we behave in a way that is fitting for lords? It begins with balance. Thus, he uses the familiar imagery of yin and yang to show us the way. The heavy is the root of the light. The unmoved is the source of all movement. Heavy and light. The unmoved and movement. How these interact is how we are to interact in the Earth that is our home.
We have a root, an anchor. Not to weigh us down, but to allow us to thrive, even amid the greatest storms. Lao Tzu doesn’t want us flitting about like fools. Being blown to and fro. He doesn’t want us to lose touch with our root. With our home. It is thus that the Master is able to travel all day, enjoying all the splendid views. She never loses touch with her root, with home. Thus, she is able always, even in the midst of great chaos, to stay serenely in herself.
What moves you? What do you allow to move you? Is it restlessness? That is the danger. Being blown about by every wind that comes along. How foolish. If you let restlessness move you, I know what the danger is. It is that we lose touch with who we are.
Point to any problem we are facing in our world today and I can point at people who lost touch with who they are. We know it. We know it when we say things like, “It wasn’t always this way. When did things go so horribly wrong?”
I can’t do anything for the myriad that have lost their way. That have lost touch with who they are. But I can do this. I can return, myself, to who I have always been. I can be serene, even in the midst of all the chaos. I won’t let go of my root, my anchor. And, don’t you, either.