Tao Thought: Flow - daodejing #62


If the boulders are moved,
Even a river will change its flow.
Except for occasional flooding, the mightiest river keeps to its bed. It flows where it finds openings between cliffs and rocks. If the river is dammed, if the cliff walls are moved, if the boulders are shifted, it will flow a different course. It could even be made to flow backwards if the earth moved far enough.

So it is with the flow of our lives. Once the fixed objects of our lives shift, our circumstances change. If we move to another city, life will change. If we marry one person over another, life will be different. If we situate our business in a good neighborhood, life will be prosperous. If we choose a house in a good setting, life will be healthy. If we arrange our furniture properly, life will be comfortable. If we eat correctly, life will be prolonged. In short, followers of Tao realize that the flow of life can be affected and to some degree consciously manipulated simply by altering its parameters.

Life is the flow of energy. It is the air that we breathe, the force that moves the weather, the force of all minds combined. It keeps the rivers flowing, our hearts beating, and the sky blue. This flow of energy moves constantly according to the fixed points that exist at any given moment. Therefore, by manipulating the cardinal points of our lives, we can change the flow. The freedom to choose and to change belongs to us.

365 Tao
Daily Meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9

dao de jing translated by various current scholars

The Tao is creation's sanctuary
treasured by the good
it keeps the bad alive

Beautiful words might be the price
noble deeds might be the gift
how can we abandon people who are bad

Thus when emperors are enthroned
or ministers installed
though there be great discs of jade
followed by teams of horses
they don't rival one who sits and offers up this Way

Why the ancients exalted it
did they not proclaim who searches
thereby finds who errs
thereby escapes
thus the world exalts it



Tao is the hidden secret source of all life.
Good men recognize that Tao provides for them
and therefore they esteem it.
Bad men don't recognize this,
but the Tao doesn't stop providing for them.

Beautiful words win some men honours;
good deeds buy others acclaim.
But the Tao values everyone,
not just those who excel.
What's the sense in discarding anyone?

Thus, on the day a new king is crowned
or powerful ministers installed,
while others rush forward with gifts and praises,
just be still and offer Tao.

Why have sages prized Tao for so long?
Because with Tao, he who seeks finds,
and he who has flaws is forgiven.
This is why it is the treasure of the world.



The Tao is the center of the universe,
the good man's treasure,
the bad man's refuge.

Honors can be bought with fine words,
respect can be won with good deeds;
but the Tao is beyond all value,
and no one can achieve it.

Thus, when a new leader is chosen,
don't offer to help him
with your wealth or your expertise.
Offer instead
to teach him about the Tao.

Why did the ancient Masters esteem the Tao?
Because, being one with the Tao,
when you seek, you find;
and when you make a mistake, you are forgiven.
That is why everybody loves it.

photo by lisbeth west
spring bells

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