Monday, December 28, 2009

Wen Tzu - Verse 96

from Verse Ninety-Six
If one turns to goodness, there is no resentment even if one goes too far; if one does not turn to goodness, even if loyal one brings on hatred. Therefore resenting others is not as good as resenting oneself; seeking from others is not as good as seeking from oneself.
~ Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries ~
One recurrent theme in the works of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu is to concentrate on the internal, not the external. While there is no question that humankind is a social animal, becoming centered is a personal process. No other person's words, experiences, observations or support can move another sufficiently to find their own internal harmony.

Yet, despite the personal nature of each journey, people too often cast aspersions or give credit to others for their own difficulties or success.

When we meet with struggles or failures, most of us are too eager to point at things around us. We squarely place the blame for our misfortunes on a myriad of criminals: family, friends, coworkers, supervisors, community, government. How rarely we look in the mirror!

By this same token, a lot of people treat success in the same manner.

If you want to know why your life leans toward the positive or negative, the first place to look is inside yourself. While other people and circumstances certainly bring things to bear in any given situation, it is how we each react to those other people and circumstances that more determines how the river will flow.

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


  1. I am reminded of a local phenomenon I have often observed:

    Our former efforts to assist the local "poor" (whatever that means), often had unexpected results:
    Bear in mind that my wife and I live in a place where there is very little work to be had...

    If we hired them to work, thereby allowing them to earn money, we were resented for being in a position to pay them, and for not paying them more than we did.

    If we invited any of them to spend an afternoon in our wonderful grounds, offering refreshment and relaxation, we would be resented for being in a position to do so.

    Resentment is an odd phenomenon.
    It shows up even when it is entirely counterproductive to one's situation. It seems often to defy all logic.
    But it is a very common emotion.

  2. I think your experience is a viable one and I'm certain others of us have experience it too! For me, the important thing is how you or I react to that kind of situation. If we resent those who resent us, we all end up in the same leaky boat. ;)


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