The Tao is always at ease.
It overcomes without competing,
answers without speaking a word,
arrives without being summoned,
accomplishes without a plan.
Its net covers the whole universe.
And though its meshes are wide,
it doesn’t let a thing slip through.
-Lao Tzu –
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 73, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
With all the bad news in the world today, today’s chapter offers us good news. Today I get to tell you, “Courage, my friends, there is hope for you and me.”
It starts with an understanding that the Tao is always at ease. It overcomes without competing. It answers without speaking a word. It arrives without being summoned. And it accomplishes without a plan.
Sometimes, as we go about our daily lives, the whole Universe seems to just be completely out of balance. Life can seem mostly chaotic. Sometimes, the fault is very clearly our own. Our choices. Our mistakes. But other times, it just doesn’t seem to matter how hard we work, it all just seems for naught. And through no fault of our own, we find ourselves at odds with a system that is simply stacked against us.
You may be in a very dark place right now. Perhaps you have been there for a very long time. It is tempting to give in to the darkness. To just let it swallow you up. But that wouldn’t be an encouraging end to your story.
Please understand that the chaos and imbalance you are suffering through right now is not the end of the story for you. It is just one chapter. And you are getting ready to turn another page.
Lao Tzu told us that the Tao is always at ease. And we all can know that same ease. Yes, sometimes things are out of balance, but the Tao is always returning things to balance again, if only we work with the Tao, instead of against it. We, too, can overcome by not competing.
Out of the chaos in the Universe, spontaneous order will emerge. No matter how far gone you feel you are. No matter how small or insignificant you think you must be. The Tao has an answer, without having to speak a word.
We don’t have to earn some special favor from the Tao, in order to get its blessing. And it isn’t far, far away in need of being summoned with just the right incantation. It arrives without being summoned. It was always very near at hand. Look within yourself, and there it is.
The Tao is like a net that covers the whole Universe. Its meshes may be wide, but nothing slips through that net. Not even small, insignificant you.
I know your present perspective may be quite disheartening. It is hard to believe this present darkness is all an illusion that will soon be swept away as the next page turns.
But then reality will dawn on you and it will be clear. What is this reality? That we are each individual pieces of an imaginative Universe. No single piece of the puzzle is insignificant. And none are ever truly lost. The Tao will achieve order and balance, though we may never be able to point to some grand plan that caused it to be accomplished.