Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wen Tzu - Verse 40, Part II

from Verse Forty
So sages emulate heaven, achieving without striving, attaining without grasping. They have the same senses as other people but are on a different path; therefore they can survive long.
~ Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries ~
For me, this small snippet from Verse 40 speaks volumes. Often, when we read of the characters posed by Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, it almost sounds like they're referencing beings that possess supernatural powers. Sort of like Superman -- faster than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

But sages aren't any different than anyone else. They breath the same air, eat the same food and, just like the rest of us, they wipe their butts after going to the bathroom! Such people must wrestle with the same ego manifestations as anyone else. What truly differentiates the wise from the foolish are the paths in life chosen.

I believe this is a crucial point. When the so-called perfect people are held to be different from the rest of us, it provides each of us with a ready-made excuse to allow our egos to operate from the driver's seat. As we fritter our lives away, we can simply throw up our hands and mutter something about being a mere human incapable of anything better.

But, when the emphasis is switched to the paths we choose, then our ready-made excuses vanish. We must then take responsibility for choosing inharmonious journeys. More importantly, the person who chooses the wrong path can always change course along the way.

This is what I remind myself of frequently. If I notice that I'm traveling down the wrong road, then the power is within me -- here and now -- to right the situation by choosing a different path.

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

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