I italicize phrases I borrow from the chapter, and link to phrases I borrow from other chapters to help tie chapters together. While making it more tedious to read, :? the Tao Te Ching is best pondered in the context of the whole.
Savor that which has no flavor
parallels my motto for happiness: 'Don't do what you like, rather, like what you do'. I've felt this to be true ever since I can remember (which ain't saying much any more). Savor that which has no flavor
implies a reverence for [chref=14]the shape that has no shape[/chref], and an invitation to savor
it - to 'see, touch, taste, hear' it. How? Slow down, stop, and [chref=16]return[/chref]. It works!
Personally, this also brings to mind listening to the sound of silence, 'seeing' behind (without turning around), and so on. Sure, I suppose this may sound like a pointless little mind game, but it can help open [chref=6]the gateway[/chref].
Unlike the sage
mentioned here, I tend to treat everything as difficult
. However, this isn't as gruesome as it sounds. In fact it seems to make life easier almost to the point where in the end no difficulties can get the better of
me. Well, I don't know about 'no difficulties
', but few do. I find things are made 'difficult
' when I rush them. Slowing down enough to remain at the beginning
and nibbling away there is always 'easy
'. As this chapter's companion puts it: [chref=64]A journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath one's feet. [/chref]
Difficult things in the world have their beginnings in the easy
. We just are usually in too big of a hurry to pace ourselves properly. Our head's mind moves faster than our feet, and opps! Regarding everything as difficult
puts a sober edge on life overall which slows me down a bit.
Finally, Some of Christ's core message echos 'do good to him who has done you an injury'
. For example:"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you".
I suppose this is one reason I could never be a Christian. Even this 'do good to him who has done you an injury
' goes against my biological grain. A teaching that is impossible to reach is just too impractical for my natural sensibilities. Just [chref=43]understanding[/chref] is sufficient. Knowing that we, like all animals, have no free will
really helps me accept and 'forgive' everyone. That's as close to "love thy neighbor" as I'm going to get. As for lofty ideals, I love this one: [chref=5]Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs; the sage is ruthless, and treats the people as straw dogs[/chref]. Heck, I'm halfway there already!