The Master has no mind of her own.
She works with the mind of the people.
She is good to people who are good.
She is also good to people who aren’t good.
This is true goodness.
She trusts people who are trustworthy.
She also trusts people who aren’t trustworthy.
This is true trust.
The Master’s mind is like space.
People don’t understand her.
They look to her and wait.
She treats them like her own children.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 49, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Do you understand her? Most people don’t. They think she is out of her mind. Her mind is like space. Like, way out there. I mean, look at her. She doesn’t act as so many people do, with some agenda, a mind of her own. No, she works with the mind of the people. What does Lao Tzu mean by that? What Lao Tzu is doing in today’s chapter is talking about the Te in the Tao Te Ching. The Te is virtue. What is virtue?
Is virtue being good merely to those who are good? Is virtue trusting only those who are trustworthy? Anyone can do that! What do you mean you weren’t good to those who were good to you? How horrible! You mean to tell me you don’t trust people who have demonstrated their worthiness to be trusted? What is wrong with you? No, being good to people you know are good, and trusting people you know are trustworthy is the very least that can be expected of people who call themselves human.
But the Master shows us what true virtue is. And most people just don’t understand her. Do you? She isn’t just good to people who are good. She is also good to people who aren’t good. She doesn’t just trust people that she knows she can trust. She also trusts people she knows aren’t worthy of her trust. No wonder most people don’t understand her. No wonder most people think she is out of her mind.
I guess she is. Out of her mind, that is. Because she is working with the minds of the people. Whatever mind they have. She wants to demonstrate for us all, what virtue really is. Those that are good probably think they know what it means to be good. And those that are trustworthy, likewise, think they have a pretty good idea what it means to trust. But do they, necessarily? If we are only good to those who are good, what have we really done? If we only trust those who are worthy of our trust, what out of the ordinary have we accomplished?
By demonstrating true goodness and true trust, a valuable lesson can be learned by all. Virtue is extraordinary. Not everyone does it. Not everyone gets it. Yet, everyone is blessed by it. People don’t understand her. But people do know she is extraordinary. She isn’t like everybody else. She is different. What will this crazy woman do next? Let’s wait and see. She treats them, not like children, because what adult wants to be treated like a child? No, she treats them like a mother cares for her own children. Taking care to work with them, right where they are, Whether they are good and trustworthy, or not so good and not so trustworthy. What ever mind they have, she works with it. And shows all of us, the way of virtue.