True words aren’t eloquent;
eloquent words aren’t true.
Wise men don’t need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren’t wise.
The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
the happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
the wealthier he is.
The Tao nourishes by not forcing.
By not dominating, the Master leads.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 81, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
I have entitled this post “Looks like this is the end…” for two reasons. The obvious reason is that today’s chapter is the last chapter of the Tao Te Ching. But I have another reason for that title. In my overly-long blog post yesterday I covered, I think, a great deal of ground. We talked about the difference between true contentment and complacency. And we talked about discontentment as a necessary step on our way to find true contentment.
That is our goal, after all – to find true contentment. As long as we are complacent, we will never find true contentment. And that means understanding something that Lao Tzu alludes to throughout the Tao Te Ching – that there is something real out there, with which we can be content. But there are obstacles along the journey. These obstacles are “illusions” which we perceive with our senses. Being content with the way things are will mean being discontent with the illusion, first.
This raises the question, “How can I recognize the illusion?” The easiest way that I can explain that, is to say that whenever things are not what they appear to be, then what you are beholding with your senses, is an illusion.
It is like the title to my post this morning. It looks like this is the end. After all, this is the last chapter of the Tao Te Ching. But in reality, life is cyclical. Everything that goes on in the Universe is cyclical. And just like the seasons of the year, I am just going to start back up again, tomorrow, with chapter one, with fresh and hopefully more enlightened commentary.
I really want to cover the differences between reality and illusions in much more detail; and will try to take advantage of every opportunity as it presents itself in the days and weeks ahead.
Just look at me, I haven’t even begun to cover this particular chapter yet; but I did want to say this one thing about how important it is to reject the illusion; and not settle for anything less than the real thing. Perhaps the nearest and dearest reason for me, is that the State’s power is all an illusion. Its very existence depends upon the great masses of people believing the lie, that the State is necessary. The State wants us complacent. I want us discontent with the illusion. I want us to embrace the way things really are. That is where true contentment may be found.
Okay, now to today’s chapter. I promise, this will be brief.
Yes, today’s chapter was the last chapter. Lao Tzu has said all that needed to be said about the Tao. He has offered us the example of the Master, who always seeks to live out his life, as an expression of the Tao. The Master doesn’t need to be eloquent. And, in fact she recognizes that eloquence tends to masquerade the truth with what is only an illusion. The Master is indeed wise. He is wise enough to have no need to prove his point. The truth is self-evident. Only illusions require justification, or attempts at proof.
The Master doesn’t measure her happiness or her wealth by how much she possesses. The more she does for and gives to others, the happier and wealthier she is.
Finally, the Tao never has to resort to the use of force. It nourishes us all, by just being itself. The mark of a true leader is he never dominates others.
Okay this really is the end. Be back tomorrow.