Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wen Tzu - Verse 102, Part II

from Verse One Hundred Two
A lute does not make any sound, but its twenty-five strings each resound through it; an axle does not turn itself, but the thirty spokes of a wheel revolve by virtue of its power. The strings of a lute must have a balance of relaxation and tautness in order to play a tune. A car needs a balance of work and rest in order to travel far. What enables there to be sound is itself soundless; what makes turning possible does not itself turn.
~ Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries ~
As a young child I was fascinated by the internal workings of clocks. I liked to watch all the gizmos turn and click into place. Mind you, I do not possess a mechanical mind; I had no clue how it all worked, even when someone took the time to explain it to me. The movement itself fascinated me.

I don't think I'm alone. Most people I know are fascinated by movement. At least, I think this is a shared value since most people I know constantly are moving from one task to the next or one activity to another. So many of them never seem to slow down to catch their breath.

And yet, many of these same people wonder why they don't seem to get much accomplished! With their noses pressed firmly against the grindstone, they wonder out loud why they seem to be forever pushing the same stone up the same hill.

As this passage highlights, there needs to be an interplay between activity and non-activity. Music only occurs when sound is punctuated with silence. The lack of sound may seem imperceptible, but without it every song would be one long never-ending note.

In this same vein, the person who always is on the move is not really moving as the first step becomes the whole step. To accomplish things in life, we need to act AND not act. It is the interplay between the two that leads us to successful endeavors.

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

1 comment:

  1. My crow would flap around in a frenzy of noisy action.

    But he would always return to the stillness of the pond, to murmur quietly to his own reflection.


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