Imagine a sculpture
You work on every day.
If you stop, the beauty
Will slowly go away.
What if you were at work on a beautiful sculpture but your material reverted or decayed if you ever ceased to progress? This is the unfortunate nature of spiritual efforts.
You can never stop trying to purify yourself, improve yourself, strengthen yourself, and cultivate the sacred that is inside you. If you do well one day, that is good. But if you cease your efforts, you will slide backwards. That is why you must strive on every level, from the physical to the mental to the spiritual. Your vigilance must never flag. Your determination must never waver.
Paradoxically, there is nothing to achieve. It is only our minds that convince ourselves that we must do something. We are already pure, already sacred. But we live in a polluted world, we have egotistical thoughts that constantly divide us from the true Tao, and we cannot remain forever in a pure state and still function in the world. If you attained the higher levels of Tao, you would appear to an outsider as if in a trance, and it would be impossible to interact with others. So if you are trying to be spiritual in today's world, you must never cease striving to keep yourself pure. Once you are not with Tao, you must constantly struggle with the impurity of the world.
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
Tao te Ching Translated by various current scholars
Ruling a great state is like cooking a small fish
When you govern the world with the Tao
spirits display no powers
Not that they don't have power,
But their power will not harm people.
Inasmuch as none of them harms anybody,
Therefore virtue belongs to them both.
— RED PINE
Governing a large country is like cooking a small fish.
If it's done in accordance with Tao,
nothing bad will happen.
Guide the world with Tao,
and evil won't be a problem.
Not that it won't be around,
but it won't find an opening,
it can't harm anyone.
The sage doesn't harm anyone, either.
When there's no harm on this side,
no harm on that,
goodness flows back and forth like water.
— BRIAN BROWNE-WALKER
Governing a large country
is like frying a small fish.
You spoil it with too much poking.
Center your country in the Tao
and evil will have no power.
Not that it isn't there,
but you'll be able to step out of its way.
Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.