Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wen Tzu - Verse 36, Part II

from Verse Thirty-Six
If there is nothing shrouding the spirit, and nothing burdening the mind, you are completely clear and thoroughly in tune, peaceful and unconcerned. Power and profit cannot tempt you, sound and form cannot seduce you; speechmakers cannot sway you, intellectuals cannot move you, warriors cannot frighten you. This is the freedom of real people.
~ Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries ~
One point made over and over again in the works of Lao Tzu is that each of us must ply our own path and this passage addresses this concept directly. When we are able to shed all distractions and manifestations of ego to find Tao within us -- our center -- nothing anyone else says, does or offers us will affect us.

No one else can know your nature better than you. No minister, priest, elected official, supervisor or teacher can know the best path for you to traverse. When we look to external sources to discover the journey each of us must make, we immediately leave the center to travel on the outer edge and, when we travel on the outer edges, we're far more likely to fall because we aren't in balance.

As social beings, we must interact with the world around us. The Taoist sages certainly aren't suggesting otherwise. But these interactions will prove more beneficial to all concerned -- ourselves and others -- if they start from the core. When we know who we are and where we must walk, then undue influences cannot tempt, seduce, sway, move or frighten us.

Hold to the center.

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

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